If “your house is a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff,” as the late comedian George Carlin said, a storage unit is the natural extension of that. “Imagine that, there’s a whole industry based on keeping an eye on your stuff,” he said in one of his most famous stand-up routines. “That’s the whole meaning of life, isn’t it? Trying to find a place for your stuff.”
While storage units may not be literally that transcendental, they can provide a safe spot for items you don’t have the heart to part with or extra space while you move.
Like your house or office, however, storage units are exposed to risks that can damage or destroy your possessions. Having storage unit insurance in place can be a financial safety net in case things go wrong.
What Is Storage Unit Insurance?
Storage unit insurance financially protects your personal possessions in a storage unit from problems like theft, vandalism and weather.
While your business, renters or homeowners insurance policy probably gives you some coverage, it is likely limited when it comes to off-premises insurance for belongings located away from your house. For example, homeowners insurance may cap coverage for off-premises items at 10% of your dwelling coverage amount.
What Does Storage Unit Insurance Cover?
Your business, home or renters insurance policy usually outlines what types of “perils” or problems your insurance covers. Damage or loss must generally result from a problem listed in your policy for you to receive reimbursement for the incident.
Standard problems covered by an existing policy such as home insurance include:
- Falling objects
- Weight of snow or ice
What Does Storage Unit Insurance Not Cover?
When items in a storage unit are covered under a policy you already have, such as home insurance, common exclusions can include:
- Water damage such as water backup
- Earthquakes, tremors, sinkholes and mudslides
- Mold and mildew
- Power failure
- Intentional loss
- Insects and rodents
- Poor maintenance and upkeep
- Wear and tear
Keep in mind, some of the problems listed above might be covered in a separate storage unit policy. Likewise, certain exclusions may apply to a separate policy such as excluding coverage for jewelry or furs. So, verify your certificate of insurance to see what issues are not covered in your policy.
Where Can You Buy Storage Unit Insurance?
If you’re looking for storage unit insurance, start by checking to see what your current insurance policy covers. You may want additional coverage, which you can purchase through your insurer or as a separate policy.
Homeowners, renters or business insurance company
As part of your home, renters or small business insurance, you might already have coverage for items in a storage unit. Your policy likely has a coverage cap, however, that only insures your off-premises belongings up to a certain amount. For example, if you have $50,000 in personal property coverage under your homeowners insurance, coverage for items in a storage unit may be capped at 10%, or $5,000.
Also keep in mind that home and renters insurance policies have sublimits for some personal possessions. For example, you may have a $1,500 reimbursement cap for stolen jewelry. That means if your storage unit is packed with antiques, jewelry or other valuables, you may want to buy a scheduled personal property endorsement. This add-on coverage ensures your prized possessions are insured for their full value.
Taking inventory of your belongings will help you determine if you have enough storage unit insurance in place.
Stand-alone storage unit insurance
In some cases, separate storage unit policies can provide extended coverage not found in your homeowners or business insurance policy. For example, Orange Door Storage Insurance policies cover damage from vermin and fungus up to $250. It also covers water damage such as flooding.
If you have both homeowners (or renters) and storage unit insurance, which one kicks in first for a claim? Usually the stand-alone storage unit insurance is primary, meaning you make a claim on it first. But check your policy language to confirm.
Another advantage of a stand-alone storage unit insurance policy that has primary coverage: Claims do not go on your homeowners or business insurance claims record. This prevents a homeowners or business insurance rate increase due to a claim.
Most storage companies require storage unit insurance, but some neglect to inform unit renters that they need proof of insurance coverage until the day they begin renting. New renters may feel pressured to purchase coverage from the storage rental facility and fail to compare other choices.
With this in mind, it’s best to compare your options before buying storage unit insurance. Speak with your current home or renters insurance company to see what it covers and then determine if you need supplemental coverage.
Who Needs Storage Unit Insurance?
Incidents like theft, arson and accidental fires can cause thousands of dollars in damage to a storage rental facility. If your unit is caught in the crossfire, you could lose everything you have packed away. To safeguard your valuables in a storage unit, you need adequate coverage to protect your belongings from damage or destruction.
Even if your storage unit has 24/7 surveillance and catches a thief in the act, it’s unlikely your stolen goods will be recovered. Having storage unit insurance ensures you can recoup some of your losses.
If you decide to buy insurance from the storage rental facility, make sure to review the policy carefully. Some storage facility policies have limitations. You’ll want to make sure you’re being offered enough coverage to protect the items you’re storing at the value you think they’re worth. It’s also important to understand which disasters are covered by the policy.