Storage Insurance: Do You Need It And How Do You Get It?

Self storage units can become a receptacle for quite a few valuables. Electronics, antiques, jewelry, and priceless family memories are just a few of the hard-to-replace items you will likely keep in your storage unit. Are you prepared if something goes wrong and damage occurs? Although the chances are low, your unit and the items inside aren't immune from fire, floods, or other disasters. You need to make sure you are protected.

If you think that the storage unit owner has insurance to cover every unit, you are mistaken. Although facility owners carry insurance, it only covers their building and business contents, not the contents of each individual unit.

Check Your Policy

In some cases, you may already have coverage via your homeowner's insurance policy. The contents coverage portion of the policy may cover your personal items, even if they aren't being kept at the insured property. In some cases, renter's insurance with contents coverage will also cover stored items. Things usually covered are fire and theft. There may also be a limit on coverage, typically set at about 10 percent for things stored in a storage unit. When storing highly valuable items, you will need to purchase additional coverage if this percentage isn't sufficient.

There are common exclusions on homeowner's policies you need to be aware of.  For example, homeowner's policies often exclude vehicles, so your golf cart won't be covered while it's in storage (or when it is out). Other common exclusions include damage that occurs during storage from flooding or mold. in this case, you may need a secondary policy to cover flood damage, much as you would with your home.

Purchase Contents Coverage

There's options if you don't have homeowner's insurance or if the policy provides insufficient coverage. When looking for coverage, opt for a replacement-cost policy instead of a cash-value policy. Replacement-cost policies cover the full cost of replacement, not just the depreciated value of the stored items. You have a few options when looking for a specific contents coverage policy. These include:

  • Contact your current insurance broker. They may be able to get you a lower rate if you hold more than one policy with the same company. They can also advise you on which types of insurance are most targeted to your specific area. For example, mildew damage may be common in storage units due to high humidity, even though flooding isn't a normal issue.

  • Look at your current policies. You may be able to add additional coverage onto an existing homeowner's or renter's policy that will cover your storage unit, at a lower cost than purchasing a new policy. For example, it's often less expensive to add a flood rider to a current policy than it is to purchase a separate flood policy.

  • Purchase through the storage facility. Most facilities work with one or more insurance companies to provide coverage options for their tenants. You may be able to combine the cost of the insurance with your monthly storage unit rent payment.

Whichever option you choose, take steps to ensure your coverage if disaster does occur. Insurance is one of the most effective ways to create peace of mind when it comes to storing your valuable items. For more information on storage units, contact a company like Southbend Storage Solutions.