Renting a storage unit is quite common for the American public. Currently, over 48,000 self-storage facilities operate in the United States, reflecting the widespread reliance renters and homeowners have on these safe and convenient units. When you rent a space, the facility owner may ask if you want storage insurance. Whether you need to buy this type of coverage depends on your current policies and the value of the items you are storing.
If you have a homeowners or renters policy, you probably already have a certain level of protection against loss, even if your items are stored "off site." The coverage may be limited to ten percent of the items' value, however, so you could be out $9000 if your storage items worth $10,000 are stolen or destroyed. Many policies exclude flooding, earthquakes, and mold damage for these off-site items. Some policies may also contain a rider that excludes any items in a storage unit, so you do need to check with your agent before deciding whether to purchase storage-unit insurance.
Many storage facilities will offer you the chance to purchase an insurance policy. This option is convenient for you, but these policies typically cost more than private insurance will and often cap at around $5000. Private storage insurance may well be less expensive because you can add it to your current policies through an agent who already knows you. You can also investigate independent storage coverage, a policy not affiliated with the storage company or your current insurance company. These policies may cover items up to $20,000, but they too will be more expensive than your traditional insurance carrier.
When to Insure
Anytime you are going to be storing things long term, you should consider having a storage policy that protects against theft and, if possible, water damage and fire. The items you are paying to store obviously have value for you. You need to think about the replacement cost for these items. Clothes, furniture, and keepsakes are worth more than you may think.
You should invest in some sort of insurance protection for your items that are kept in a self-storage unit. They are valuable items or you would not pay to store them. Check with your personal insurance agent first to see if you need more protection than your homeowners or renters insurance affords. Coverage offered by the storage facility owner or independent agents is also worth considering. You have several choices, so do not depend on luck to keep your investment safe.