If you one of the 10.8 million Americans that rents a self-storage unit, do you have storage insurance? If not, do you ever think about purchasing storage insurance? This is a dull subject and probably something that you don’t want to dwell on. But, be reminded that storage facilities do not automatically take responsibility for all damages to your possessions, and your homeowners insurance may not cover everything.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners states that, even though items in a storage unit are not physically in your home, your homeowners policy may help protect those items from certain hazards. Homeowners insurance typically includes personal property coverage, which may cover clothing, electronics, appliances, and furniture from certain risks. These items, of course, are only covered up to the coverage limits on your policy.
Whether or not you choose to purchase storage insurance, it is critical that you check with your insurance agency to verify exactly how much coverage you will have for “off premises” items. If you’re storing antiques, wine, or any other type of valuable collection, a loss could be devastating. Make sure that you clearly understand your coverage.
The following information will better clarify the benefits and restrictions of both personal and self-storage coverage.
Will Homeowners/Renters Insurance Cover Your Storage Unit Contents?
- According to the Insurance Information Institute, coverage for items in a storage unit is generally provided by the “off-premises” personal property coverage in a homeowners policy. Check your policy to determine the types of risks covered, which are typically fire, lightning, theft, and vandalism.
- Many homeowners policies have lower limits for property located away from your home. For example, if you have $75,000 coverage on your personal property under your homeowner’s policy, coverage for “off-premises” property may be capped at 10% or $7,500.
- Renters insurance typically covers items in a self-storage unit for up to 10% of your policy limits.
What if the Value of Your Stored Items is Greater than Your “Off-Premises” Coverage?
- You can increase the coverage limit on your homeowner’s policy in the amount that you need.
- High-value items like art, jewelry, or antiques, are generally not covered by storage insurance. You need to discuss this with the facility manager and explore “scheduled personal property” coverage, which is specifically to protect those types of items. Professional appraisal on certain items may be necessary.
- The facility that you choose may offer self-storage insurance that will add an additional layer of coverage to your belongings. This insurance may be part of your contract or may incur additional costs. You can discuss this option with the manager of the facility.
What is Usually Covered and Not Covered by Storage Insurance?
Self-storage coverage places limits on many items; certain items may be covered up to a specific dollar amount or not at all. You may be able to get a rider or endorsement for extra coverage. Vehicles must be insured separately.
Items Usually Covered (personal property)
Leaking Water (excluding flooding) Wind
Items Usually Not Covered
Jewelry Stamp Collections
Deeds and Legal Documents
Hazards Not Covered
Mold and Mildew War
Under What Circumstances Should You Purchase Self-Storage Insurance?
- When certain coverage is not included in your homeowner’s/renter’s policy
- If you don’t already own a homeowner’s/renter’s insurance policy
Self-storage insurance is specifically tailored to hazards that might be encountered in self-storage. Filing a self-storage claim with a storage insurance company will obviously be less complex than filing with your personal insurance company.
Purchasing self-storage insurance is a personal decision. Think carefully and weigh the pros and cons. Do not make any decision before checking with your insurance agent and having a detailed discussion with the manager of your chosen facility.