Is Your Storage Unit Adequately Protected?
Storage units have become more popular over the past few years. The number of U.S. households that rent self-storage units has actually increased 65% in the last 15 years, according to the Self Storage Association. One in ten households currently rents a storage unit.
If you’re currently renting or planning to rent a storage unit, make sure your belongings are protected. That means choosing the right facility and getting the proper insurance coverage. The Insurance Information Institute offers these tips:
— Look for a secure facility. It should be surrounded by a fence and have coded security pads to enter the facility and video surveillance cameras. Ideally, there should be cameras throughout the facility, not just at the entrance.
— Make sure it is clean and well-maintained. If not, that means it might not be monitored for bugs and rodents, either. Ensure that the facility has a pest extermination contract in place.
— Before signing a rental agreement, find out what losses the storage facility will cover and whether you need supplemental insurance. Most places require you to have insurance for the full replacement cost of the contents of a unit. If you already have homeowners or renters insurance, check to see if your policy provides off-premises protection for property. Most standard policies do, and this coverage typically provides protection in instances of theft, fire, tornadoes and certain other disasters. If you don’t have a homeowners or renter policy, make sure you select a storage company that offers insurance.
— Think about units that are climate controlled. If you don’t want to risk mold growing on your belongings choose a facility with climate-controlled units. Homeowners and renters policies, as well as insurance offered by storage companies, won’t cover damage caused by mold, vermin and poor maintenance, or floods and earthquakes. Climate-controlled units cost two to three times as much. But the added expense might be worth it if you plan on leaving your belongings in a unit for a long period of time and don’t want them to be damaged by extreme temperatures.
— You may need to purchase additional coverage. Some insurers limit coverage for off-premises possessions to 10% of the overall amount of homeowners insurance a policyholder has. And some have dollar limits on payouts for theft of items such as art, antiques, jewelry and furs. So you might need to add a floater or endorsement to fully cover these items. Have your items appraised so that you get the proper amount of coverage.
–Take inventory of all the items in your storage unit. Make a list and take pictures (or a video) of all the items in your unit to substantiate any losses and speed up the claims process.