Self Storage fires in the news again...

Self Storage fires in the news again...

Less than a year on from the blaze which totally destroyed a storage unit in Croydon – see ‘I lost £180,000 in a self storage fire’ – another serious fire has destroyed a storage unit, this time in Bedfordshire.

The fire, which started in a neighbouring polystyrene factory building, completely destroyed the storage facility and hundreds of customers lost the entire contents of their storage units.

There were more than 60 fire crews in attendance to deal with the fire, however, it was not possible to prevent the total destruction of the facility.

Once again, there are reports of storage customers not being adequately protected by their insurance to replace the good that they have lost.

This second serious fire at a storage facility within a year will have an impact on the industry and renew calls for a more regulated environment to protect both people and belongings from similar events in future. At the time of the previous fire in Croydon, a local MP raised concerns about the fitness of the building for its use – particularly a lack of provision to contain fire and stop it from spreading, as well as a lack of sprinklers. The nature of storage facilities means that they are massive sources of potential fuel with contents often being packed closely together, allowing fire to take hold and spread rapidly.

There are a number of things you can do to help to prevent yourself being the victim of a similar event when storing your belongings.

Choose Carefully

When choosing a storage facility, there are a few steps you should take to try to mitigate against the risk of being affected by a fire like those mentioned above.

Ask questions

Talk to the staff at the facilities you are considering and ask them about fire precautions. It was reported that one of the things which allowed the Croydon fire to spread so rapidly was that the walls separating the individual storage areas were not full height. A lack of sprinklers also facilitated the fire to spread quickly. Other things which could help to mitigate the effects of a fire is an alarm which is automatically linked to the fire brigade. Speak to the staff at the facility to check what provisions they have in place and whether they have a plan to deal with a fire. It is also helpful to have an understanding of staffing and security patrols at the site for fire detection.

Storage Insurance should not be an after-thought

When you are storing your belongings, don’t look at insurance as just something you have to take out to tick the boxes for the storage facility. Whilst fires of the kind we mention above are relatively rare, they do have the capacity to wreck the comprehensive destruction of your belongings. It is important therefore to consider your insurance needs in advance. Properly inventory the items you are planning to store so that you have a complete record of what is there. This will also enable you to do the necessary research to accurately estimate the full replacement value of those items for insurance purposes. Research storage insurance to make sure you have cover for the items you are storing. It is often the case that insurance offered by the storage facility itself will me more expensive than that purchased from a specialist supplier like Store Insure – so, shop around!

Think about where you are storing priceless and sentimental items

Insurance is designed to financially compensate you against loss and, provided you follow the rules of the storage facility and take out the correct amount of cover, a policy from Store Insure will protect you against financial loss and enable you to replace your belongings. However, there are some items which have little or no financial value which may have a huge emotional or sentimental value. If an item is truly irreplaceable, consider whether self-storage really is the best place for it.

For more information on storage insurance, or to get a quote – visit our website.

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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.