Self-storage units are becoming more popular among Americans because people do not have enough room and space to store their possessions safely and securely.
When it comes to protecting your personal property, storage units do a great job. Outdoor storage units are usually protected by an outside gate with high walls, and often have strong and heavily guarded doors. Indoor storage units are enclosed within secure buildings. Storage facilities are typically well built, with security cameras and barbed wire fences prohibiting theft and destruction.
However like all things in life, these units are not full-proof. For example, storage facilities can’t stop natural disasters from occurring, and your items inside the unit still need to be protected by a form of insurance coverage. If you are looking into a renting a storage unit, there are specific insurance needs to protect you from damaged goods.
What Your Self-Storage Unit Needs Protection From
There are various perils that could affect your stored belongings, including:
- Water damage
The good news is that most self storage insurance policies will cover the perils listed above. (It is worth noting that this list does not cover flood insurance. That is usually purchased separately.) These types of exceptions are worth keeping note of as floods are quite common and can do a great deal of damage. Self-storage insurance policies may include other exclusions, such as damage caused by vermin. As with any insurance policy it is important to read the fine print carefully!
Should I Purchase Self-Storage Insurance Coverage?
Self-storage companies often require proof of insurance coverage for all or most items stored.
It can be covered in a few different ways. The first option is to check and see if your renter’s or homeowners insurance policy extends to your stored property outside of your home or apartment. If covered under your existing policy, you can provide proof of your existing insurance to the storage company to save from purchasing an additional policy from a third party. To make sure your policy extends to self storage, contact your insurance company directly.
If it doesn’t cover your storage items, it may be cheaper to extend your current homeowners insurance or renters insurance, as opposed to buying a new storage insurance policy. For a higher cost rate of course, the storage facility essentially becomes the second location of your possessions.
You need to be wary though that your insurance policy from your homeowner’s insurance may have limitations for covering items offsite. Items in a storage unit may only cover up to 10% of the policy limit under home insurance. If your current policy is for $100,000, then your insurer would pay for $10,000 worth of damages. You might need more insurance coverage if you plan on storing valuables like appliances or a car. If so, look below for further self storage insurance options.
Specific Self-Storage Insurance Policies
If you know that your current possessions are worth more than 10% of your homeowner’s policy or you don’t have a renter’s or home insurance, you are going to want to purchase self-storage tenant insurance to cover your items.
Most storage facilities offer insurance directly, like tenant insurance programs. These options offer the minimum basic essentials, and usually have a coverage limit of around $2,500-$5,000. For those with items more expensive than that, purchasing an external self-storage insurance policy may be the way to go.
The other option is look into an independent insurance provider that offers coverage for personal property in self-storage. This is a tailored insurance plan that typically has a higher coverage amount. For those will expensive items, this plan can cover up to $15,000-$20,000 in damages. The monthly premiums of these policies range from an average of $20-$30.
Purchasing third party storage insurance may be the way to go if you aren’t covered by homeowner’s or renter’s and need more than a basic form of insurance to cover all your items. Specific storage unit insurance covers hazards that are tailored to the possible encounters related to storage units. This makes is easier to file claims if something does happen.
It is also worth noting, that certain items may not be covered under a storage insurance policy. Certain items such as furs, jewelry, collectable art, watches, antiques, securities are more prone to damage, and are expensive to replace.
Similarly, some possessions have limited coverage under a home insurance policy. To protect your more expensive items, you will need to purchase an additional floater insurance policy to provide additional coverage For example, jewelry is only covered up to $1,500 in which the floater policy would cover the item if lost or damaged.
Understanding Your Self-Storage Insurance Policy
If you opt to buy tenant insurance from a self-storage facility, there is often the added convenience of having the cost simply added to your monthly rent. However, it is your responsibility to fully understand the terms and conditions of your policy. Here are a few key things to look for when reading your policy documents.
- Cash value. Many self-storage insurance policies will cover the cash value of your loss, which is based on the present value of the property. That is not the same as, replacement cost coverage, which would reimburse you for the actual cost of replacing your loss.
- Liability insurance. Liability insurance covers you or others if there is accident and someone is hurt inside your unit. This is usually not included, but may be available at an additional cost.
- Exclusions. These are things that your tenant insurance policy won’t cover. Be sure to know what is protected and what isn’t!
- Coverage limit. This is the maximum amount that your policy will pay out. If the value of your goods exceeds your coverage limit, you should consider obtaining supplemental coverage.
Self-storage insurance is a great idea if want that extra bit of coverage and protection for your stuff. If you don’t have a renter’s policy or homeowner’s insurance, purchasing it would be the best course of action as the tailored coverages will be specific to the self-storage unit, saving you money.
If you want bare minimum coverage, purchasing a specific self-storage insurance from your storage company is the way to go. If you already own a homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, quotewizard.com recommends extending your coverage for storage facilities as it will be a better deal. It costs you more, but you policy will be extended to cover items that are not just inside your home.
Ultimately, it is your decision and a balancing act on how much you are willing to pay to protect your things.