The self-storage industry has grown a lot in recent years, benefiting people with stuff they don’t have space for. Whatever the value of the items being stored, insuring them is a good idea, as unexpected things can happen. Using an existing insurance policy may be possible, but specialized self-storage insurance can offer added benefits.

People put things into self-storage lockers for a variety of reasons, perhaps because they’re in the process of moving home or because they have stuff they can’t find a place for at present—maybe items that are only used seasonally, like ATVs or garden equipment. Then there are businesses which have excess inventory, equipment or products which need a temporary home, and self-storage with its ease of access and short-term leases provides the ideal solution.

The increased competition in the industry means that there has never been a better time to store things away. You can search on StorageCafe to find a storage unit that best suits your needs, and in a location that’s convenient for you. When you’ve done this, you’ll want to consider insuring your items there—the insurance industry covers the backs of the increasing numbers of people putting all manner of items in today’s storage facilities. Alternatively, anybody thinking about self-storage as an investment will be pleased to know that this is indeed a strong trend.

What Does the Self-Storage Industry Look Like These Days?

Gone are the days when self-storage was just a row of lock-up garages where folk put fishing gear, an old car and bags of unfashionable clothes. The industry has advanced enormously in recent years and now offers many types of storage units of all sizes, for example 5×10 and 10×10, some with climate-control. Customers can choose between internal or exterior units and locations in or out of town. In addition, there are specialist storage services which include collection and delivery of your items.

The levels of security at the average modern storage facility have also become more sophisticated over the years. Unless it is simply a building only with internal units, the first things you will see are the fence, which should be sturdy, and the gates, which may feature an electronic entry system. Locks may also be electronic, and surveillance cameras will probably be in evidence. This will give you peace of mind, but insuring the items you store is still worth considering.

Do You Need Insurance?

There are two types of people in the world: those who want to be insured and those who feel lucky. Investors in particular tend to be of the former type, wanting to know that their assets are covered. Of course, the value of one’s possessions has a bearing on how worthwhile insuring them would be, but by putting them into storage the decision has been made that they will be useful again in the future. A self-storage facility may offer good quality services, but there are still real dangers that make insuring any items stored there a good idea.

Self-storage operators do not generally need to have insurance for their customers’ possessions, but they can require that customers have an insurance policy, and many of the reputable ones do this to avoid legal problems. You might find, therefore, that insuring your things at the facility of your choice, regardless of their value, is not merely optional. You might be able to use an existing policy to cover items in self-storage, but this is not always possible, and a specialist insurance policy can be preferable in any case.

Can You Use an Existing Insurance Policy?

It’s often possible to use an existing homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy to cover stored items, and this can seem the simplest solution. But it shouldn’t be assumed that such a policy actually covers things stored away from base, as this may not be the case. In addition, not all the types of items and all types of damage are accounted for by such policies, so the fine print should be checked carefully. For example, flooding is a potentially disastrous hazard which is not always covered.

Also, it is possible that an existing policy offers very limited liability for items stored in a temporary location, perhaps an amount that is only 10-50% of the normal coverage, so you might not be able to claim the full value of goods back if the worst comes to the worst. In addition, many policies charge surcharges if you claim, and the period this is applied for can be as long as 3 years, thereby discouraging people from claiming.

Why Choose Specialist Self-Storage Insurance?

Self-storage facilities themselves may offer storage insurance policies to customers. In some US states they don’t need to be licensed insurance agents for this purpose, and sometimes they are required to call this service ‘protection.’ This is a convenient option and you may find that it covers everything you need.

Alternatively, you can take out a policy with a third-party company who offers specialized self-storage insurance. In this way you can be sure that a policy fits your own individual requirements, with all stored items covered so you can claim and receive the full value of them back if anything goes wrong. A number of companies currently offer such policies—for example Storage Insurance USA, Storage Protectors and Bluestone Brokerage—so you can look around and find the one that best addresses your needs.

 

Choosing to put things in self-storage is often a decision made in a hurry—perhaps you can’t move into your new house right away, or maybe your company takes delivery of a big bulk order of raw materials or unexpectedly has some product it can’t sell right away. But you will need those things in storage, and you want to know they are safe. An insurance policy generally doesn’t cost too much, and it will give you peace of mind that can be priceless.

Author

Francis Chantree is a writer and editor for Yardi, focusing on real estate and lifestyle content. He is a former programmer and researcher who exchanged computer language for his greatest passion, human language! When not writing and proofreading text, he can be found gardening and reading.

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