I lost £180,000 in a self storage fire…

I lost £180,000 in a self storage fire…

That sounds like a sensationalist headline but following a devastating fire in a self storage unit in Surrey, this story from the BBC highlights the dangers of under insuring your contents in storage.


The storage facility in question, Shurgard in Croydon had nearly 1200 units, which seem to have been almost completely destroyed by the fire.


There are a number of issues to highlight with this story, and we will look at it again in our blog over the coming weeks.  However, the most important issue we want to highlight here is the issue of under insurance.


We have often mentioned in this blog the importance of ensuring that you are taking out adequate insurance to cover the full replacement value of goods which are in storage and this disastrous fire illustrates why it is absolutely crucial.


One of the stories highlighted in the BBC news article is of one storage customer having been offered only £2,000 in insurance to cover her losses, which are way in excess of that.  The customer in question states that she had the entire contents of her house in storage she is quoted as saying "All I've been offered is the insurance level that I've taken out with Shurgard, so it's £2,000 per unit."   This is obviously not enough to replace an entire house worth of furniture!  There are a number of other, equally distressing stories featured in this Metro article of customers who were either under-insured or had no cover at all!


We have talked about the issues of bundled insurance before in this blog – most recently in ‘The Great Storage Insurance Swindle’.  In many cases insurance cover which is offered as part of a package and ‘included’ in the cost of storage is often set at a low figure and of inadequate value to cover replacement of possessions.   It is course the responsibility of the customer to ensure that the level of storage cover is adequate to meet their needs, however, you would be forgiven for expecting the storage company in question to match the cover offered to what you are storing.


Whilst fires of this nature are, thankfully, few and far between, they are always a possibility.  The nature of self storage also means that, should the worst happen, a fire is likely to spread rapidly if left unchecked, as it did in this case.


We would recommend that anyone who has items currently in storage review their insurance arrangements as soon as possible to ensure that adequate cover is in place.  For a quote visit www.store-insure.co.uk/get-a-quote.

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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.