Renting a self-storage unit is a smart way to protect your belongings, either temporarily or on a long-term basis. Safety is often a major concern when deciding to leave belongings anywhere you don’t have a close eye on them, which is why most people ask about features like locked gates and surveillance cameras before signing any contracts.
Most people probably don’t think about what could happen to their belongings in the case of fire, flooding, or even earthquake, though. Are your items covered by insurance if they are damaged while inside a self-storage unit?
To put it another way: do you need insurance on the items that you have in self-storage?
The answer is “maybe.” The first question you will want to ask regards the type of insurance you have at home.
Does your homeowner’s insurance cover items in storage?
Some policies actually have provisions to provide coverage for items when they are in self-storage units, but never assume this is the case with your policy. Look through the details of your policy and if you are still unsure, call and ask a representative.
Do you have renter’s insurance?If you do not own your home, have you purchased elective renter’s coverage for the items inside? Similar to homeowner’s insurance, there may be coverage built into what you already pay for renter’s insurance that applies to your items in storage. If you don’t have renter’s insurance already, go ahead and shop around for a policy that will also cover the items in self-storage. Easy!
If you find that the insurance policies you already have in place do not cover your self-storage items, then you should consider the following points when deciding whether to go ahead and seek out the additional personal coverage:
- Value of stored goods. If you are storing family jewelry, or anything with a high value attached, the minimal cost of the insurance is worth it. If you are storing documents or other items that are not worth much in monetary terms, insurance coverage may not be worth the cost (especially if they are items you cannot replace anyway). Weigh the cost of the insurance against the cost of your items and then decide.
- Weather conditions. Do you live in a climate that experiences a lot of flooding? Or one that is prone to tornadoes? You can never predict exactly when a disaster will occur, but you can make an educated guess based on the typical weather in your area. Based on the climate and weather history where you live, your self-storage company may require insurance on the items kept in your unit anyway.
- How often you will check in. If you plan to stop in and check on your items in your self-storage unit on a regular basis, then the need for insurance may be smaller because you will potentially spot any damaging problems early on. If you will be out of the country or have no desire to stop in often, the insurance may be a smart plan. Remember that it’s too late to buy the insurance after the damage has already been done.
- Storage facility rules. In some cases, you must have insurance on the items in self-storage to keep them at particular locations. If you can show proof in your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance agreements that the items are covered, that may suffice.
Be sure to ask any self-storage facility manager upfront what the rules are for insuring your personal property. If you decide that you do want to insure your items, compare the plan that the self-storage company offers to private plans and decide which one best fits the needs of your items. Good luck!
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