Do You Really Need a Separate Policy for Property in Storage?
Self-storage is big business. According to data compiled by the Self-Storage Association, one out of every 10 households in America rents a self-storage unit. If you’re one of these 10.8 million Americans, be certain that you are properly protecting your belongings. Storage facilities do not automatically take responsibility for all damages to your possessions.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners states that even though items in a storage unit are not physically in your home, your homeowner’s policy may help protect those items from certain hazards. Homeowners insurance typically includes personal property coverage, which may include protection for clothing, appliances, electronics, and furniture from certain risks. These items are covered only up to the coverage limits on your policy.
Keep in mind that It is critical that you check with your insurance agency to verify exactly how much coverage you will have for “off-premises” items.
The following information will better explain the benefits and restrictions of insurance coverage, both personal and self-storage.
Will homeowners/renter’s 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 homeowner’s policy. Check your policy to determine the types of risks covered. Typically covered are fire, lightning, theft, and vandalism.
- “Off-premises” personal property usually has a coverage limit of up to 50% of the policy’s dwelling coverage limit.
- Many homeowner’s 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 in your homeowner’s insurance policy. This may provide you with an increased limit for “off-premises” items.
- If you’re placing high-value items in your storage unit, such as art or jewelry, you might want to explore “scheduled personal property” coverage. This coverage is specified to protect those items. This may involve professional appraisal of certain items.
- The facility that you choose may offer self-storage insurance that will add an additional layer of protection to your belongings. This insurance may be part of your contract or may incur an additional cost. You can discuss this coverage with the manager of the facility, but remember they are not insurance agents. It is best to address your insurance agent about this.
What is covered by storage insurance?
Buying self-storage insurance will usually give you coverage from the following, but remember to always discuss details with your insurance agent once a policy has been created:
- Leaking Water (excluding flooding)
Which items that you store are not protected by self-storage coverage?
Self-storage coverage places limits on many items. Cars, boats, motorcycles, and ATVs must be insured separately. Certain things may be covered up to a specific dollar amount or not covered at all.
You may be able to get a rider or endorsement for extra coverage. This is something you can discuss with your insurance agent.
These items include:
- Artwork Collections
- Deeds and Legal Documents
- Stamp Collections
Self-Storage insurance does not typically cover damages resulting from:
- Mold and Mildew
Under what circumstances should you purchase storage facility insurance?
- If certain damages are not included in your homeowner’s policy, storage facility insurance may be a good idea.
- If you don’t have homeowners/renter’s insurance, you should probably purchase self-storage insurance because it is specifically tailored to hazards that might be encountered in self-storage.
- Filing a claim with storage facility insurance will be less complex.
Purchasing self-storage insurance is an individual decision, dependent on many variables. As mentioned above, you need to check with your insurance agency and have a detailed discussion with the manager of your chosen facility.