These days you’ll find plenty of reports of self-storage theft in the news. Some sources have even reported that theft is on the rise, but the MiniCo Insurance Agency’s 2012 Self-Storage Almanac reported that, while 7% of facilities had experienced a theft in 2012, 18.2% had in 2010. The industry is actually getting safer.
Most facilities are safe and take security very seriously. They require gate and building access codes, have security camera systems, and keep the grounds well lit to prevent break-ins. Theft in a self-storage facility is unusual. This article about protecting your valuables should that rare occurrence befall your unit.
There are two items of business to take care of before you even move in: getting a tough lock, and getting insurance on the items in your unit. You can take care of both in the office. The facility may recommend their best lock. Get one that is solid metal and would be difficult to break with bolt cutters. Disk locks and cylinder locks are the most difficult to cut. As for insurance, it won’t replace irreplaceable items, but you will at least have financial coverage in the event of a theft. Be sure to get an insurance plan that covers the monetary value of the items you’ll be storing.
When it comes to where we put our items in self-storage, many of us put just a basic amount of thought into it. You may put big items like couches or book shelves toward the back with boxes in front of those. While this certainly makes sense, if you want to protect your valuables, try this angle instead.
Put your most valuable items behind everything else. Valuable items of course can mean expensive, but it can also mean items of personal significance, like old journals or drawings, baby books, and anything you find important that cannot be replaced. Thieves generally don’t have a lot of time to go through a self-storage unit, so they grab the closest items and run. By putting your most valuable items behind everything else, you increase their safety significantly.
Many of us label our boxes when putting them in self-storage so that when we take them out again, we know where they belong in home. These labels generally say “Kitchen,” “Living Room,” and so on. You can use this to protect your valuables by mislabeling them. Instead of “Valuable Jewelry and Antiques,” you could put, “Bedroom,” for example.
Come by your unit to check on your items every so often. While there, you can make sure boxes are staying sturdy and that the unit remains clean. You can brush off any dust that may have gathered. It will have the added benefit of demonstrating to any thieves that may be watching that you could show up at any time, so they may want to target a different unit.
Also, practice good gate etiquette. Do not let others through the gate when it opens for you. If you see suspicious behavior, including someone entering the gate without having put in their code, report it to the office. So long as the self-storage facility you use has a good security system and you follow the suggestions here, it will be highly unlikely for anyone to get to your possessions. You can feel comfortable knowing that your valuables are as safe as possible.
Have any tips on how to keep your belongings safe in storage? Let us know in the comments!