Quick Guide: Self Storage Types

Quick Guide: Self Storage Types

The past decade has seen a huge increase in demand for self storage all over the world. In their 2021 annual report, the Self Storage Association UK (SSA), estimated that there were around 1900 sites in the UK alone. This data only recorded officially registered facilities and did not include smaller rural sites, so realistically, the actual figure may be somewhere nearer to 2000 or above.

The increase in demand for self storage providers has also increased the amount of choice in types of self storage facilities. Someone looking to store personal items away from home will have different needs to a business looking to house stock or equipment. With this in mind, it is worth taking some time to look at what types of storage are available in your area and more importantly how suitable they are for your own particular needs.

Things to consider

You would be forgiven for thinking that all self storage facilities are the same, so when deciding what works best for you it is worth taking time to consider the following points:

  • Location - Does the storage facility need to be the nearest or are you willing to travel for a better solution?
  • Access - Can you access the storage facility whenever you want or are there restrictions on access times? Can I drive my car/van to the unit?
  • Internal/External - Do you need to store items that are sensitive to temperature changes?
  • Conditions - Are you storing items that need to have a constant temperature or a space free from humidity (i.e antiques, art, cars)?
  • Extras - Do you need any extra services such as 24/7 security or a staffed unit?
  • Suitable Storage Insurance - Unlike other providers, here at Store Insure we provide cover for all of the storage types listed below . Using our Quote and Buy Online tool is simple and will provide you with instant cover once completed.

Storage Types

Internal, individual secure lockable room

Opting for this type of storage is probably the closest you will get to replicating the conditions in your home and is perfect for storing smaller items such as clothes, books, vinyl and cds etc. Usually provided by the bigger storage providers, individual storage rooms are the most flexible in size and some providers will even offer as little as 1 cubic metre units. Many of these units are temperature controlled and have good ventilation so are perfect for textiles. However, as theses storage units are accessed internally there would be no direct vehicular access and most likely would have restrictions on opening times.


  • Climate controlled for temperature stability
  • Very secure
  • Wide range of sizes available – from as little as 1 cubic metre.
  • Moth & vermin insurance cover available


  • Access may be time limited
  • No direct vehicular access
  • May be expensive for larger spaces or longer term storage

Typical storage insurance cost for £5,000 cover, per month £21.80 – Zero policy excess (includes moth & vermin cover).

Externally stored metal container

At either 20ft or 10ft long and 8ft wide, the externally stored metal container is great for storing large items which aren’t affected by damage from condensation or dampness. Often situated within an external compound site and mostly available to enter 24 hours a day, vehicular access is good enabling you to drive right up to the container which lessens the amount of moving and of handling of bulky items.


  • Direct vehicular access and wide opening doors
  • Less expensive than internal storage
  • Unrestricted access


  • May be prone to condensation and temperature fluctuations
  • Some storage insurance risks may not be covered.
  • May be difficult to use all the space effectively

Typical storage insurance cost for £5,000 cover, per month - £21.80 – £250.00 policy excess (does not include moth & vermin cover).

Internally stored metal container

Exactly the same sizing options as the externally stored metal container, the main reason to opt for the internally stored metal container is the environment. Most likely situated in a warehouse type building, it a good option for big and bulky items that do need some level of care to ensure that they are not too affected by humidity and temperature changes (such as a car or large equipment). Again, like the external metal storage container, most sites are accessible round the clock with the option to drive right up to the container doors for easy unloading/towing. An internally stored metal container is likely to be less suitable for some items which may be sensitive to condensation damage so better for shorter term storage.


  • More secure than externally stored containers
  • Less expensive than internal room storage


  • Not ideal for long term storage
  • Some storage insurance risks may not be covered

Typical storage insurance cost for £5000 cover, per month - £21.80 – £250.00 policy excess (does not include moth & vermin cover).

Internal storage with external access

A purpose built storage unit with external access (typically a metal roller type door or similar).  It is unlikely that this type of storage would have climate control, however due to the materials used, it is less likely to suffer from issues caused by fluctuations in temperature the same way an external metal storage container would. Secure and with good vehicular access, this type of storage is good for larger items such as sports equipment, furniture and machinery.


  • Good for larger items
  • Easy access for vehicles


  • Some restrictions to storage insurance cover
  • May be difficult to utilise all available space

Typical storage insurance cost for £5,000 cover, per month - £21.80 – £250.00 policy excess (does not include moth & vermin cover).

Deep Storage

Deep storage typically consists of internally stored wooden crates, situated in a warehouse. It is the least common type of storage and is definitely not suitable for everyone. Deep storage is usually sourced by those requiring a long term storage solution (i.e relocation, moving abroad etc). Items are usually sealed into the wooden crate and kept within a warehouse environment, so whilst they are very secure and protected from damage, it is not storage to consider if you want to get access to your belongings quickly.


  • Good for long term storage and transportation
  • Good protection from damage
  • Secure


  • Storage crate contents are inaccessible
  • Not ideal for heavy or cumbersome items due to difficulty packing

What’s next?

Storage Insurance

Now you have decided (hopefully!) on what storage type works best for your needs, and have found a storage provider it is time to find insurance! Don’t panic - our Quote and Buy Online tool enables you to search for your chosen storage provider based on postcode or name. After completing the step-by-step process, you will instantly be fully covered and more importantly will have peace of mind when it comes to storing your items away from home or work.

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Still can’t find what you need? Feel free to contact us for advice or check out our Quote and Buy Online tool for a comprehensive quote and instant cover.

Get a QuoteWhen compared against cover from storage providers - customers typically save money with us

Jon Ellis

Author: Jon Ellis

Having worked in the insurance industry for over 14 years, I have built up considerable experience with many types of insurance.