Storage units. The one stop location to place all your belongings that have nowhere else to go. Storage units are rented out by thousands of Americans every year to keep everything from valuable and basic everyday items to family heirlooms and other miscellaneous items.
When you look to rent out a unit, you obviously make sure that you are getting the best unit for your budget that can hold and secure your items, till you eventually do require them. You look at unit size, location, security of the premises and you look into the best locks that you can get to make sure you take that extra step to add that extra layer of security.
But, do you need to get insurance for your storage unit? Yes. That’s the short answer. The rest of this article is the long answer. You do the best you can with your lock purchases and prayers, hoping that Hurricane Whatever won’t sweep the unit into oblivion with all your belongings. So read on to get the answer to that nagging question: Do i need insurance for my storage unit?
Is Insurance Really Worth It?
First of all, let’s get this out of the way. Whether you feel it is worth it or not, most storage unit renters require you to have or get insurance, before they let you rent out the unit. This protects them from you. If there was to be an unavoidable or an uncontrollable disaster that led to your unit being damaged or destroyed, they need to protect themselves in case you blame them or demand compensation. Because ideally, at the end of the day, you may be renting the unit from them, but the items you store in them are your responsibility. This is why they would require you to have it insured and so you may end up having to get insurance either way.
Getting insurance may benefit you in times of trouble. The fact is, you will be paying a monthly premium on the insurance, which will be based on the value of items you plan to store. You may think to yourself that this is just you losing money, when you don’t really get anything in return.
But let’s look at some facts. This is a multimillion dollar industry and millions of storage units get damaged every single year. According to the FBI, these million damaged units we just mentioned, are damaged by arson alone. Keeping that in mind, if you add other criminal activities from burglaries, vandalism and just plain property damage, among other incidents, you should be getting a picture of just how plausible it is for you to lose your items or have them damaged. And this is not taking into account other factors like the natural disasters that America is so famous for.
Let’s say that you are fortunate enough to not lose your items or valuables, but they have been damaged. More often than not, the cost of repair for the damages are astronomical, for lack of a better word. In most cases, your insurance will cover this cost of repair, which probably would end up being much higher than the premium you paid on the insurance. So yes, in the grand scheme of things, insurance would save you money.
Does The Renting Facility Provide Insurance?
Like we mentioned, many renters will insist that you insure your belongings. It is quite common for renting facilities to have affiliated themselves with an insurance company or two, as the insurance premium that you pay would be an additional revenue stream for the renting facility apart from the renting fees that you pay.
Renting facilities will suggest a multitude of insurance policies, as it benefits them monetarily and protects them from any problem in case of damage or loss of your items. You need to do your due diligence and make sure to research these policies that are offered. The reason we stress up on this, is because most of the policies offered by the facilities may exclude certain items from insurance, that a third party insurance may cover. So your goal is to make sure you get the best policy that suits your needs.
Just to give you an idea of what we mean, here are some examples of items or scenarios that may be excluded from an insurance policy that a facility may provide.
Insect, Rodent Or Vermin Damage
Just like in many homeowner policies, the insurance will not cover damage caused by rodents or insects. So it’s always a good rule of thumb to enquire with the renting facility about what their approach is with dealing with rodents and insects. You want to make sure that you rent out a unit from a facility that has deterrents in place to prevent or minimize this damage.
Items That Have Vanished Or Gone Missing
The insurance mostly won’t cover any times that have mysteriously disappeared from storage. This means that there is no evidence of a forced entry or break in or theft to indicate that the item was taken, and so the insurance would not cover for any such losses.
It’s quite common for insurance policies offered by the storage renting facility to not include an insurance for a motor vehicle. If you do plan to store a motor vehicle in the unit, you need to make sure that you have or take a separate insurance policy for the vehicle or vehicles you plan to keep in storage. Ideally, it is possible for you to find policies outside the ones that are offered by the renting facilities that do provide insurance on motor vehicles.
Valuable Or Expensive Items
You will find that the policies offered by storage facilities may exclude covering for items or documents of value, like art, cash, jewelry or even deeds and other important documents. You will need to take a separate policy to ensure these items or opt for a third party insurance policy that will cover these items as well.
The gist of this section is that you should do your research. Find out what the storage facility can offer in terms of their insurance policy (if they offer one) and see that it checks all the boxes you need it to check. Then take that extra step to find out if there are other third party policies that offer a better deal of not.
Don’t just blindly accept any policy offered to you.
Also See: Storage Unit Locks
Will My Insurance Cover Damages Due To Natural Disasters?
Most precautions that storage facilities take toward damages are related to criminal activities, like breaking and entering, theft and vandalization. Not all storage units take precautions against Mother Nature herself. Areas or locations more prone to Mother Nature’s fury, storage facilities do have precautions or measures in place to minimize the damage. But one can only take so many precautions when nature chucks a tornado your way.
It is rare for storage units to offer a policy that does cover the cost of damages in these situations. However, there are third party insurance policies that will cover such costs. Some third party insurance policies cover the cost of one occurrence of your unit or items being lost or damaged due to floods in the area. Some even include earthquakes as one of these disasters that they will cover for.
Hurricanes are a different matter. They are a common occurrence across some states and so there are laws in place specifically to protect the citizens during these times. However, it won’t be easy to find an insurance policy out there that does cover you for the damages caused by extreme weather or “named” natural disasters.
If you live or plan to store your items in these areas prone to be subject to Mother Nature’s fury, then make sure you look for a third party insurance policy that will offer to cover you for damages to your property in the event of such a disaster. We emphasize this point, because storage unit facilities will not provide you with a policy that will cover you in such a situation.
Who Provides The Best Storage Unit Insurance?
We all want the best in whatever it is we look to invest in. We want to make sure we get our money’s worth and that we don’t get cheated out on a good deal. So we have to make sure we do our research. The same goes for storage unit insurance.
First, you need to find out what all you want your insurance to cover. You can start by estimating the value of all the items that you wish to store. If you have come across a storage facility you would like to rent a unit from, then learn about the locality. Is it a good neighborhood? Do thefts happen often? Is it prone to flooding or earthquakes? You get the idea.
Next, enquire with the facility to find out if they have any policies that they would suggest or prefer that you take. Make sure you understand your policies carefully and that they do cover all that you want them to and check all your boxes.
Irrespective of whether they meet your requirement or not, it’s always best to now look at third party policy providers. Think of it like getting a second opinion from a doctor. You can start this on your own by looking online and finding out who gives you a better offer and checks all your boxes.
If you can find a third party consultant, he may be able to advise you about policies that may have slipped your radar, or advise you against a policy that you shortlisted.
Sometimes you may come across a policy that suits you better or gives you better coverage, but at a higher premium. We advise that you do not just dismiss this on account of the higher premium, because as we mentioned earlier, if something does go wrong, the right policy can help you save a lot of money.
It is also worth noting that many times, it is possible that you already have your items insured in your homeowner’s insurance policy. Usually, you can find this under “off-premises” in the personal property coverage or your homeowner’s policy. It’s always good to make sure you go through your homeowner’s policy to double check and see if your items are insured. Sometimes, there may be certain things that won’t be covered and you would only have to look into getting a third party policy just to tick those boxes.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I insure a storage unit?
You can do this one of three ways. You can use an existing policy that you already have, like your homeowners policy. The second option is where you opt for a policy with an insurance company that’s affiliated with the storage unit facility. Your third option is to look at third party insurance providers. It’s always advised that you compare policies with a couple of third party providers as they may provide you with better coverage.
Can you get renters insurance for a storage unit?
Yes you can. It will cover your belongings stored in the unit. This insurance covers your belongings anywhere in the world, no matter where you are. It even covers your belongings if they are stored or located in a different state.
However, do keep in mind that depending on your renters insurance, there may be some damages that the policy won’t cover. Damages caused due to insects and rodents or even earthquakes and flood would most likely not be covered by renters insurance
How much is storage insurance on a car?
On average, the cost of car insurance is around $1463 per year. However, this is an estimate and the cost can vary from company to company and the policy they provide. Always make sure that, just like with storage unit insurance, you compare policies and prices from different companies to make sure you get the best insurance coverage for you.
If you are still on the fence on whether you should get insurance for your storage unit, let us break this down to 3 simple reasons as to why you should seriously consider it.
- What are your items worth?
Everything we decide to store has a value, either monetary or sentimental. If it didn’t then we could just get rid of it, give it away, or even sell it. The whole point of storing it is to keep it somewhere where it isn’t lost. Where you can always access it if you need to.
So if it does get “lost” due to a burglary or get damaged in any way, the insurance will cover you for the loss and damages. It is better than being left with nothing. Yes it will require you to make regular payments, but in the large scheme of things it is worth it. Just a reminder, that if you store valuables like jewels and other things we mentioned, make sure you get a policy that specifies that they cover that.
- Mother Nature is not very nice.
If you plan to store your belongings in a state that has extreme weather conditions, it’s always good to look into getting an insurance policy that covers the respective damages. You play with fire and you risk getting burnt. Do you really want to play with nature and her hurricanes?
- Burglary and theft and other criminal activities.
Like mentioned above, millions of units are damaged by criminals every year. Security measures may be in place to prevent such acts from taking place, but a determined criminal may find their way past such deterrents. Your insurance policy will cover you if your belongings have been stolen or damaged. We should point out that there should be evidence corroborating this theft or damage to your belongings for the insurance to cover you for the same.