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Should I Purchase Insurance When I Use Self-Storage?

Home insurance and renter’s insurance does not necessarily cover storage units, so you need to do some digging and determine if you need extra coverage. The time you invest in comparing rates and levels of coverage is absolutely essential since storage facilities are almost never liable for the contents of your unit.

First, determine your existing insurance level of coverage. Some companies cover items in storage. However, some stop coverage once your possessions leave your residence. Even if your existing insurance has coverage, find out if certain items, such as jewelry, have a dollar amount that needs extending before the insurance coverage kicks in. Also check to see how much of your overall homeowner’s policy applies to your storage unit; coverage is usually only 10 percent of your total insurance coverage value.

If you need to buy separate insurance for your storage unit, compare rates, benefits, and reputations of several companies rather than just buying the insurance the storage company suggests.

When you are comparing rates, make sure to compare apples to apples. Cash-value coverage will pay a depreciated value of your damaged or stolen items, but replacement-cost coverage pays enough to replace the item. Replacement-cost coverage is more expensive, but it may be worth the money.

Next compare the circumstances under which an insurance company pays for damage. Find out if you are covered in the event of flooding and natural disasters. Sometimes these circumstances are not covered, yet water damage is a very real concern when your things are in storage.

Finally, expedite receiving insurance payments - if you should ever need them - by taking pictures and making a list of everything in your unit. Note the replacement values and, if you have them, attach receipts for high-dollar items. An easy way to do this is to take pictures of everything as you pack boxes and when non-boxed items leave your house. An app called My Things Where Are They? is very useful for storage situations.

Whatever you do, buy some insurance before you lock the door and walk away. The cost is minimal for the peace of mind that accompanies it.