Regular visitors to our blog will know that we have mentioned many times in the past the slightly less than ‘transparent’ practices involving storage insurance which are sold direct from storage providers. Previous reports have highlighted the issues with some providers employing somewhat dubious tactics to sell their own insurance cover – see our blog ‘The Great Storage Insurance Swindle…’
The recent serious storage fire which almost completely destroyed a Shurguard storage facility in Surrey on New Year’s Eve, along with the possessions of more than 1200 people, has brought these, and other issues into sharper focus. The fall-out from this fire has raised questions about how storage insurance is sold, fire safety standards, and regulations around what is being stored in units, prompting the Mayor or London, Sadiq Khan, to call for an urgent review into the industry.
Steve Reed, MP for Croydon North, who is the representative for a number of people who have lost a great deal in the fire, said: “My concern is that the regulations governing self-storage facilities are inadequate and it has created a race to the bottom in fire safety standards, as self-storage companies compete with one another on price.”
Currently, self-storage facilities are governed by the same regulations as ordinary commercial buildings and these regulations have been shown to be inadequate.
The mis-selling of storage insurance has been shown to be a major issue with many of the 1200 or so people finding out, only after the devastating fire, that the storage cover they had taken out with the storage provider was inadequate to meet their needs. Not only that, the cover sold by the storage facility was also shown to be very expensive. One client of the storage unit was paying £12.00 per month for just £2000.00 worth of cover. The same cover would cost just £3.19 per month if taken out with Store-Insure. £2000 of cover was hugely inaccurate given that the customer was storing the contents of a three bedroomed house! The same customer has stated that they were not offered any options or urged to check the level of cover provided was sufficient for their needs, despite the storage facility knowing the quantity of goods they were storing.
Of course, as we have said before, it is ultimately the responsibility of the storage user to ensure that they have adequate cover in place to meet the total replacement value of the goods being stored. In the case of the Surrey fire, a number of customers have stated that the facility did not offer them any options other than the standard cover they provided. We would certainly argue that that the facility owes its customer a duty of care to at least question that they are adequately insuring their contents.
We will watch, with interest, the continuing repercussions of the recent fire and any subsequent investigations into the industry, particularly those relating to insurance. In the meantime, our advice for anyone who is looking to insure stored goods remains the same.
- Shop around
- Choose a specialist insurance provider like Store Insure
- Ensure that your cover matches the full replacement value of what you are storing
At least then, should the worst happen, you will have adequate cover to replace your belongings if you need to, unlike some of those unlucky enough to have lost everything in the recent fire.