Keeping your self storage pest free

Keeping your self storage pest free

Self-storage units can be very appealing to pests - large spaces with plenty of boxes, books, clothing and furniture to feast on and live in. Thankfully, due to our climate and native critters in the UK it doesn’t pose as much of a risk as other parts of the world (cockroaches anyone?), although, this does not mean that it doesn’t happen here. Once infestation starts, left untreated, it can spread quickly, with mice, rats and moths being some of the most prolific offenders in the UK.

Using Store Insure for your self storage insurance automatically includes cover against damage by moth and vermin if the access to your storage unit is internal. Store Insure won’t cover you if your chosen storage type has external access (which is a standard rule for many storage insurance companies). However, there are a number of steps you can take to pest-proof your storage and minimise the risk of damage from unwanted visitors.

Savvy storage

If you are planning to use external storage spaces like metal containers, invest in some heavy duty plastic boxes with well-fitting lids. Not only will they help eliminate moisture, they provide a rodent-proof container which mice and rats can’t chew through (they are also stackable which is great for space saving!). Before packing any items away into plastic boxes, check that there are no signs of mould or mildew and that the items are completely dry.

Check first

When selecting your chosen storage facility location, it is a good idea to visit the site before signing any agreements. Not only will this give you an idea of what storage you need, it is also a great way to check out the specific space and work out how pest-proof it is. Mice are very cunning critters and can fit through the tiniest of gaps, so ensure that there are no access points for them. If you are not satisfied that the unit is wholly pest-proof then discuss with the facility manager and look for an alternative. It is also a good idea to sweep out the unit before storing any belongings as an extra precaution.

Don't make it welcoming for pests

The majority of storage facilities will have strict rules on storing food and perishable goods (including pet food), so check with your storage provider before bringing any edible goods in as you may unknowingly be in breach of your agreement. Overall we would advise not to store anything edible in your storage space if you want to keep it pest-free. Having a potential supply of food available for passing rodents is like throwing open the door and laying down the welcome mat.

If you are planning to store soft furnishings, wrapping them in strong plastic sheeting before storing helps. Not only will this offer an extra layer of protection against dust and marks, if there are any mice in your space, furnishings will be protected from droppings and stains as well.

Although not as common today, mothballs were traditionally used to deter moths, silverfish and other pesky insects from eating clothes and soft furnishings. Mothballs are still available to purchase, however as they do contain chemical pesticides it is advisable to always read the label and purchase from a reputable retailer. Previously it has been claimed that they are effective against rodents also, however there is very little evidence to support this. One other disadvantage of mothballs is the unpleasant chemical smell, due to this many people have opted for a more natural alternative such as cedar balls soaked in essential oils (peppermint or lavender). It is said that these fragrances repel pests such as mice as they don’t like the smell, however we are not sure on the science behind this so it is worth doing your research.

Self Storage Insurance - Pests and Cover

Once you take out a self storage insurance policy with Store Insure, you will automatically benefit from moth and vermin cover as long as your storage space is accessed internally. This covers you against loss or damage to your items caused by moth and vermin which has come from a source outside of the storage.

Even with this cover in place, it is still advisable to try and prevent infestations rather than dealing with the resulting damage.

Still can’t find what you need? Feel free to contact us for advice or check out our Quote and Buy Online tool for a comprehensive quote and instant cover.

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Patrick Pellens

Author: Patrick Pellens

I started in the insurance industry in 2003 specialising in Personal Insurances such as Motor Bike, Car and Home Insurance.