Storing your belongings in a self storage unit helps to keep them safe while also allowing you to live comfortably in your home without being overwhelmed by stuff. Fortunately, self storage is widely available across the country, and you can easily rent a self storage unit almost anywhere in the U.S.

However, after you’ve decided on a self storage unit, there’s one more thing that you must do. The same way you protect your home and belongings with home insurance, you need to get insurance for the items you put in self storage as well. As soon as you select a self storage facility and rent a unit, you have to purchase an insurance policy so that your belongings are protected from the moment you drop them off in self storage. Most storage facilities require that you have insurance, and many also provide policies, one of several insurance options for you. But it’s important that you understand what’s covered, what’s not covered, and that you shop around for the best self storage policy for your needs. So, here are the major things to consider when choosing self storage insurance:

What risks you are covered against

It’s important that the self storage insurance you choose covers a wide variety of risks. Storage facilities take many steps to ensure a safe environment for your belongings, but a lot of incidents can occur —from natural to man-made ones — resulting in damage to your belongings. The major risks that your insurance should cover include:

  • Natural disasters (earthquakes, floods, storms, and so on)
  • Explosions
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Falling trees
  • Damages from vermin
  • Collisions from cars
  • Impact from aircrafts or objects dropped from aircrafts

What items are covered

Read the insurance policy carefully to ensure that the belongings you are planning to store will be covered. Most insurance policies cover a wide variety of belongings: furniture, appliances, electronics, sports equipment, tools, and so on. Thus, chances are that your items will be covered as well — but it’s still better to check, particularly if you are storing something valuable (collectibles, for example).

How much money you will receive from a claim and whether it will cover your losses

The value of the goods in a storage unit can vary significantly from case to case. It’s one thing to store your garden furniture, out-of-season clothing and a lawnmower, and a whole other thing to store antique furniture or artwork. When purchasing a policy for your self storage unit, the most important thing is to ensure that, if your belongings are damaged or destroyed and you make a claim, the money you receive will cover your losses.

Instead of simply purchasing standard insurance that offers a fixed sum, you should calculate the actual value of what you are planning to store and get your insurance policy accordingly. That’s even more important when you are storing valuable items — valuables are usually covered up to a maximum value, so it would be a good idea to get separate or extra insurance for things like artwork and antiques.

The insurance company you are using

Do a bit of research on the insurance companies you are considering using before deciding on one. Make sure you select a trustworthy, reliable company. Search for information about the company online and check out reviews and feedback from customers. If you notice a pattern of complaints and dissatisfaction related to a company, you should avoid it, even if it has attractive prices.

Does your existing homeowner’s or renter’s insurance cover off-premises items?

Some homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies cover personal possessions kept off-premises. However, generally, only some of the risks are covered — usually those from natural disasters or fire, but not damages from water, mold, mildew, vermin, and so on. Also, many policies cover up to 10% of your policy limit for the items in storage, which might be enough in some, but not all, cases. If you’re storing a large number of valuable belongings, the 10% limit might mean that they are not properly covered while in storage. Depending on your existing insurance and what you are planning to store, you can decide whether you should buy a separate policy for your self storage unit.


Maria Gatea is a real estate and lifestyle editor for Yardi with a background in Journalism and Communication. After covering business and finance-related topics as a freelance writer for 15 years, she is now focusing on researching and writing about the real estate industry. You may contact Maria via email.

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