When you are storing items away from your home, regardless of whether they are personal or business items, these are things you need to think about in terms of insurance…
1. Your storage provider will require insurance
Most self storage providers will require your items to be insured. Many will requiree that insurance in place before you are able to take occupation of your storage unit. This can sometimes cause a problem logistically and mean people opt for the storage providers own insurance for convenience. This is something we would definitely caution against – a study carried out in 2018 showed that insurance provided by storage companies could be up to three times more expensive than that offered by a specialist company like Store Insure. The level of insurance provided may also not be adequate for what you a storing – see ‘Self-storage fires in the news again’ for more on this and the perils of under insurance.
2. It is your responsibility to make sure your cover is adequate for what you are storing
Even if the storage provider offers you their own insurance product and wants to know what you are storing, they are unlikely to look at that in terms of whether it is adequate cover for your stuff. A lot of policies offered free with storage units have very limited cover. As recent fires in storage facilities have shown us – under insurance is a problem for many people but the onus is on the owner of the stored goods to ensure that they have adequate cover. Always insure your items for their full replacement value.
3. Are your stored items replaceable?
There are a lot of examples of sad stories following the high-profile storage fires relating to items which have been lost to fire which are irreplaceable. As we have said above, it is crucially important to ensure that the cover you take out is adequate to cover the full replacement value of your items and storage insurance will financially compensate you for the loss of those items, enabling you to replace them. There are some items though which have little or no monetary value that would be impossible to replace – keepsakes, family photo albums, family heirlooms, anything with sentimental value. If this is the case for you, think about whether self storage is the best place to keep such items. If this is the option that you have chosen, make sure you choose a storage facility with robust protections against fire and theft. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about alarms, sprinklers, security measures and staffing.
4. Are all insurance policies created equal?
When you are choosing a policy, make sure that the cover provider is what you need. Cheaper policies may look great on the face of it but perhaps they lack the cover of some more specialist policies. Things to look for is the overall sum insured and any exclusions in terms of cover. For instance, are your belongings covered whilst in transit? What is the excess on the policy? What is the single item limit? Are valuables covered? Making sure you have the cover you need before you start is the best way of avoiding problems should you ever need to claim.
5. Are you storing anything which contravenes the rules?
Again, it is your responsibility to make sure that what you are storing does not contravene the terms and conditions of the storage facility as this may invalidate your insurance. Make sure you are aware of the regulations for your chosen facility. As a general rule, the information in our blog post ‘things you should never store in a storage unit’ gives you a pretty good idea of items which are generally a no in self-storage but do make sure that you know the rules of the specific facility you are using.
In an ideal world, your storage insurance is a precautionary measure and not something you will ever have to make a claim on – however, making sure you have covered all the bases and not left yourself exposed to unnecessary risks means that, should a problem arise your insurance will do the job you want it to.
For more information on storage insurance, storage types or specific policy information – visit our website.