The use of self-storage units has had a steady increase in the last few decades. As income and purchasing power increased, so have our personal and household possessions. Americans embraced self-storage as a way to store and keep their possessions in a safe and secure facility. Relocating, divorce, downsizing, marriage, and other life events, have increased the need. Self-storage units have been increasingly popular for college students, who opt to store larger household items in storage near the college, instead of moving them back and forth.
There are many types of self-storage facilities, even some equipped with heating and air conditioning units. If you are already using or are considering self-storage, one question you should ask yourself is do you need insurance for your self-storage unit? Before you can determine if you need insurance for your self-storage unit, you will need to know more about insurance coverage for self-storage units, as well as what to look for in a unit.
What to Look For
You want to be sure that the self-storage unit is clean and cared for. Garbage pile-ups, high grass, and small rodents running around are indications that the facility is not properly maintained. You will want to verify if the facility has regular pest exterminating control in place. You will also want to know the security efforts that are in place. Is there surveillance? Is the facility behind locked gates? Does the facility have an on-staff security guard? Are keys used for entry or do renters use coded security key pads, and if so, how often are the codes changed? You will also need to determine if the storage facility has climate control since extreme temperatures, hot or cold, may damage many household and personal items, such as expensive artwork, furs, and jewelry.
Of course, you want to know what type of insurance is available before you purchase any. Most storage facilities have insurance to cover the property, in addition to liability insurance in the event someone is injured on the property. Check with your current homeowner's insurance policy to see if you have off-premises coverage and if so what it will and will not cover. If the storage unit is not covered under your homeowners insurance, the self-storage company may offer an insurance coverage plan that will meet your needs.
What to Do
If you choose to rent a self-storage unit that you are comfortable with before you put anything in the unit, take inventory of your possessions. Take a picture or a video of each item and record the value of each item. When you seek insurance for your stored possessions, provide the insurance company with a copy of your inventory, and be sure to keep a copy for yourself. Be mindful of what you store in your storage unit and check with the self-storage company, because certain items like solvents, paint, and motor oil are not permitted and storing them may be in violation of your contract.
If you have a surplus of items, which need to be stored in a self-storage, you will be wise to explore insurance coverage options, but it is equally important to find a self-storage unit that will meet your needs. Consider the items you wish to store and the features offered by the self-storage unit. The more compatible features, the less insurance coverage you will need; however, working with an insurance agent, will ensure you have the right coverage in the event something should happen to your possessions.