What is it and what does it cover? – Forbes Advisor


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If “your home is a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff,” as the late comedian George Carlin said, a storage unit is the natural extension of that. “Imagine that, there’s a whole industry based on keeping tabs on your stuff,” he said in one of his most famous stand-up routines. “That’s the whole point of life, isn’t it? Trying to find a place for your stuff.

While storage units aren’t literally transcendental, they can provide a safe place for items you don’t have the heart to part with or extra space while you’re moving.

However, like your home or office, storage units are exposed to hazards that can damage or destroy your property. Having storage unit insurance in place can provide a financial safety net in the event of a problem.

What is storage unit insurance?

Storage unit insurance financially protects your personal property in a storage unit against issues such as theft, vandalism, and weather.

While your business, renters, or homeowners insurance policy will likely give you some coverage, it’s likely limited when it comes to off-premises insurance for property away from your home. For example, home insurance may cap coverage for offsite items at 10% of your home coverage amount.

What does storage unit insurance cover?

Your business, home, or tenants’ insurance policy usually outlines the types of “risks” or issues covered by your insurance. The damage or loss generally must result from a problem listed in your policy in order for you to receive reimbursement for the incident.

Common issues covered by an existing policy such as home insurance include:

  • Fire
  • Lighting
  • Wind
  • Smoke
  • Vandalism
  • Flight
  • falling objects
  • Weight of snow or ice

What does storage unit insurance not cover?

When the items in a storage unit are covered by a policy you already have, such as homeowners insurance, common exclusions may include:

  • Water damage such as backflow
  • Earthquakes, tremors, sinkholes and mudslides
  • Mold and mildew
  • Electrical failure
  • Neglect
  • Intentional loss
  • Insects and rodents
  • Poor upkeep and maintenance
  • Normal wear

Remember that some of the issues listed above may be covered by a separate storage unit policy. Similarly, certain exclusions may apply to a separate policy, such as the exclusion of jewelry or fur coverage. So, check your certificate of insurance to see what issues aren’t covered by your policy.

Where can you purchase storage unit insurance?

If you’re looking for storage unit insurance, start by checking what your current insurance policy covers. You may want additional coverage, which you can purchase from your insurer or as part of a separate policy.

Owners, renters or commercial insurance company

As part of your home, renters, or small business insurance, you may already have coverage for items in a storage unit. However, your policy probably has a coverage cap that only insures your offsite property up to a certain amount. For example, if you have $50,000 in personal property coverage under your homeowners insurance, coverage for items in a storage unit may be capped at 10%, or $5,000.

Also keep in mind that home and renters insurance policies have sublimits for certain personal property. For example, you may have a reimbursement cap of $1,500 for stolen jewelry. This means that if your storage unit is filled with antiques, jewelry, or other valuables, you may want to purchase a personal property notice provided. This additional coverage ensures that your most valuable assets are insured for their full value.

Taking inventory of your belongings will help you determine if you have enough insurance for the storage unit in place.

Autonomous storage unit insurance

In some cases, separate storage unit policies may provide extended coverage not found in your home or business insurance policy. For example, Orange Door Storage insurance policies cover vermin and fungus damage up to $250. It also covers water damage such as flooding.

If you have both homeowners (or renters) insurance and storage unit insurance, which comes first in the event of a claim? Usually, self-contained storage unit insurance is primary, which means you make a claim first. But check your policy language to confirm.

Another benefit of a self-contained storage unit insurance policy that has primary coverage: claims won’t appear on your home or business insurance claims file. This prevents an increase in homeowners or business insurance rates due to a claim.

Most storage companies require insurance for storage units, but some neglect to inform unit renters that they need proof of insurance until the day they start renting. New tenants may feel pressured to purchase coverage from the storage rental facility and not compare other choices.

With that in mind, it’s best to compare your options before purchasing storage unit insurance. Speak with your current home or renters insurance company to see what they cover and then determine if you need additional coverage.

Who needs storage unit insurance?

Incidents like theft, arson, and accidental fires can cause thousands of dollars in damage to a storage rental facility. If your unit gets caught in the crossfire, you could lose everything you’ve stowed. To protect your valuables in a storage unit, you need adequate coverage to protect your belongings from damage or destruction.

Even if your storage unit is monitored 24/7 and catches a thief red-handed, your stolen property is unlikely to be found. Having storage unit insurance allows you to recoup some of your losses.

If you decide to purchase insurance from the rental warehouse, be sure to read the policy carefully. Some storage installation policies have limits. You’ll want to make sure you’re offered enough coverage to protect the items you store for the value you think they’re worth. It is also important to understand which disasters are covered by the policy.

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