The issues of what is deemed essential and non-essential travel and essential and non-essential businesses seem to be open to a degree of interpretation.
So, is visiting your goods in self-storage considered essential?
Well, Big Yellow seem to think so. Despite criticism from some – they have elected to stay open during lock-down. They consider themselves to be essential as many of the businesses which use their storage facilities are providing essential products and services and need to have access to their goods to continue to serve their customers. They also report having been able to help new customers with a sudden need for storage triggered by the lock-down.
Are there any insurance implications from staying away from your storage facility during lock-down?
From an insurance perspective, there are no major issues which mean that you would need to travel to your self-storage location whilst movement restrictions are in place. It is true to say goods in storage should be periodically checked to make sure that there is no damage occurring which is gradual in nature as this may be excluded from your insurance cover. Having said that, given that we are now facing the spring, issues with mildew and mould are likely to be less problematic due to warmer weather.
Another issue which may be facing storage users is whether or not to continue using storage at all during this period – especially if your income has been reduced and you are looking to save money. Whether you are able to work out some kind of financial arrangement with your storage provider during this time if your income has been affected will be very much dependent on the storage facility. We are not aware of any specific measures which have been implemented to help with these kinds of on-going expenses beyond the help for businesses in the form of loans etc.
You may consider that getting your goods out of storage and housing them at home instead for this period would cut down on expenditure.
A consideration here may be the practicalities of storing stuff at home – especially as most of us are spending most of our time there at the moment! It may also be the case that storage facilities have elected not to stay open which may make getting access to your goods more difficult.
Maintain your cover!
One final point with regard to saving money – don’t be tempted to reduce your storage insurance to save on costs. It is more important that ever for you to maintain adequate cover for the full replacement value of your goods, especially in the light of the potential for storage facilities to be operating with minimal staff at this time which may present a greater risk to security. There is also the issue of reduced services in policing and other emergency services which could have an impact should there be a fire, flood or other emergency at the facility, making comprehensive cover more important than ever.