According to SpareFoot Storage Beat, approximately 10.6% of Americans currently rent self-storage units. And economic analysts at IBISWorld report the storage unit business continues to experience growth.
If you’re among the one in 10 Americans who rent a storage unit, or you’re thinking of renting one, you may be wondering if your property is insured while it’s stored in a unit. Maybe, but not necessarily for its full value.
If you have to move property from your home into a storage unit, that property may not be covered up to your full personal property limit. The same is true for property located in a residence that is not your main insured residence (the property of a second home, for example). In both cases, let your agent know where your personal property is located so you can avoid claims complications.
The basic limit for your personal property coverage is normally 50% to 70% of the limit for replacing your home. At 50%, if your home’s replacement value is $150,000, you would automatically have $75,000 in insurance for your personal property. The personal property you store away from your home is usually 10% of your personal property coverage. In this example, you’d have $7,500 in coverage for the personal property you have in a self-storage unit.
Alternately, if you have a renters insurance policy, your stored belongings would be covered for 10% of your personal property limits.
Is standard coverage enough?
That may seem like a lot, but if you lose everything in your storage unit will it be enough coverage to replace everything? High-end athletic and outdoor gear can add up fast. Your limits are especially important if you’re storing most of your belongings temporarily for a move.
There are several questions you need to ask if you want to make sure your property in a storage unit is covered:
Is there a provision in your homeowners policy for property in a self-storage unit?
Don’t assume you have coverage. Ask your agent.
If your policy provides coverage, what is the limit?
Theft is usually your main concern, so you want to know if your limit would compensate you for the most valuable items. Make sure your limit compares with the total value of the stored property.
What if you lose your stored belongings due to a fire, smoke or water damage?
Fire, smoke, wind or lightning are typically covered. But ask your agent to verify the types of incidents or “perils” your homeowners policy will cover for a storage unit. You might have to add special coverage for things like mold, mildew, power loss, earthquake, sewer backup or flooding.
Are your vehicles, business items and data covered?
Motor vehicles (including off-road vehicles) and business data stored in paper files or on digital media are not covered. There are separate, lower limits for watercraft and business property.
If you decide you need more insurance protection, ask your agent for an increase on the storage coverage. This coverage can be added through an endorsement.
Is other insurance available?
Self-storage facilities typically require you to show proof of insurance before renting a unit. Some storage unit operators might not, requiring you to purchase a policy from the facility. Keep in mind that coverage through the facility may have more restrictions than coverage from other sources.
You value the property in your storage unit so make sure it’s protected. Let your insurance agent know about your storage unit. Ask them about the coverage you have under your homeowners policy and then decide if you’d like to add more.