If I have property in a storage unit, do I need insurance?
Storage unit insurance can help you protect your belongings if they’re damaged, lost, or stolen, so it’s worth it to consider the value of the items you’re storing and how much it will cost to insure your unit.
Insuring your home, your car, and your health might seem like no-brainers, but what about insuring your storage unit?
Whether you’re making a move and need to store some items or emptying your child’s dorm room until the next semester, self-storage can be a great temporary option for keeping your belongings safe. Storage insurance coverage can help you replace your stored items if something happens to them.
Like all types of insurance, storage unit insurance varies depending on the provider, so there’s no single list of coverages you can expect from each policy. However, understanding what’s typical in a plan and what you can expect to pay can help you determine if storage unit insurance is the best option to protect your belongings.
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What Is Storage Unit Insurance?
Storage unit insurance helps you cover the cost of your personal property in a self-storage location if your belongings are damaged, lost, or stolen. This type of insurance can either be purchased from a third-party insurance provider or the self-storage facility that you’re renting the unit from.
In its most basic form, self-storage insurance offers personal property coverage, also known as tenant insurance. However, some plans also include additional coverage, like liability insurance. This protects you if an item in your unit causes damage to other units in the facility, such as an electrical item causing a fire.
While you may think you don’t need storage unit insurance, the decision isn’t always yours to make. Some storage providers require that you have insurance before renting a unit, and they’ll request to see your proof of insurance before handing over the keys.
Luckily, purchasing self-storage insurance outright isn’t the only way to get coverage for your belongings. You can also get coverage through another policy that you might have, such as:
Home insurance: If you have renters insurance or homeowners insurance, check your policy for off-premises coverage. This could extend your coverage to a storage unit for use after a natural disaster or fire in your home. Keep in mind that this is limited coverage that likely won’t offer the same dollar amount of coverage as your regular home coverage.
Auto insurance: To protect a stored vehicle, check your existing auto insurance policy, or look for a policy that offers coverage for storage. Comprehensive coverage for vehicles can include protection related to weather, theft, fire, and vandalism.
Boat insurance: If you’re looking to place a boat in storage, boat insurance will likely cover natural disasters, theft, and other damage. You might also find a winter-only policy for the boating off-season.
Storage unit insurance can come from several sources, and determining what types of items you need covered will help you narrow down your options.
Typical Protections Provided by Storage Unit Insurance
The coverages you have with storage unit insurance will rely heavily on the plan you choose. While each plan is different, there are a few coverages that you are more likely to see from plan to plan. Typically, a storage policy covers:
- Natural disasters: It’s common for a plan to cover natural disasters, though not every type of disaster will be covered. Be sure to check your potential plan for the types of natural disasters more common in your region.
- Break-in coverage: If your items are lost or stolen, a third-party policy is more likely to offer coverage than a storage facility policy. There may also be a requirement of physical evidence of a break-in before any type of policy will pay.
- Vandalism: If vandalism affects your belongings, the damage is usually covered by a storage policy.
- Fires: Fire protection is common for storage unit policies and off-premises coverage from a home insurance plan.
There are also a few coverages that you’re less likely to find in a storage unit insurance plan:
- Motor vehicles: Your car insurance plan will likely cover your vehicle if it is stored.
- Vermin: Damage to your property from insects, rodents, or other vermin likely won’t be covered by your policy.
- Water damage and mildew: Flooding, water damage, and mildew are less likely to be covered in a storage unit policy, especially if the policy is provided by the storage facility.
- Expensive items: In addition to a coverage amount, plans usually dictate a list of high-cost items that aren’t covered. Jewelry and valuable documents, such as deeds, are usually not covered.
- Smoke damage: Facility-provided plans are highly unlikely to cover smoke damage to your property.
When determining if a storage unit insurance plan is right for you, consider the types of property you want to cover and what type of damage you want to protect it from. Also note that when covered items are damaged, you only receive the cash value of the item at the time it’s damaged. This means that if the item is particularly expensive but the value has depreciated, you might not be able to afford to replace it with the payout from your policy.
What You Can Expect to Pay for Storage Unit Insurance
Rates for self-storage have a significant range. The lower end of coverage costs around $6 monthly for $1,000 in coverage, and the higher end reaches around $20–$25 monthly for up to $15,000. Some plans won’t have a deductible, and those plans will usually have a higher monthly rate.
Your monthly rate will likely be higher if you purchase your plan from a storage company, and the amount of coverage will be lower. Typically, coverage specifically from a storage company is around $2,500–$5,000. The storage company will probably also have more regulations around what you can cover with your policy, especially for high-value items.
Of course, no matter where you purchase your policy, the items you insure and the size of the storage space will determine the cost as well.
Are you covered?
High-value items and documents are less likely to be covered by your policy. In addition to checking your coverage amount, be sure to check the list of items that your policy provider won’t cover before selecting a policy. Avoid storing your expensive items, collectibles, or other valuable items that might not be covered in a storage unit. If an existing policy, such as your homeowners insurance policy or renters insurance policy, offers off-premises coverage, you may not need separate storage unit insurance. Check your plan carefully to make sure the items you want to cover qualify for coverage. Also, make sure that the coverage amount will allow you to replace those items if they’re damaged. In general, storage facility policies cost more and provide a lower coverage amount than third-party plans. However, the decision should depend on your individual coverage needs. Whichever you choose, it’s best to compare your options and not choose on the spot at the storage unit facility.
FAQ: Storage Unit Insurance
Which types of items are less likely to be covered by storage unit insurance?
Do I need storage unit insurance if I have off-premises coverage from my home insurance?
Should I purchase insurance from the storage facility or a third-party insurance company?
High-value items and documents are less likely to be covered by your policy. In addition to checking your coverage amount, be sure to check the list of items that your policy provider won’t cover before selecting a policy. Avoid storing your expensive items, collectibles, or other valuable items that might not be covered in a storage unit.
If an existing policy, such as your homeowners insurance policy or renters insurance policy, offers off-premises coverage, you may not need separate storage unit insurance. Check your plan carefully to make sure the items you want to cover qualify for coverage. Also, make sure that the coverage amount will allow you to replace those items if they’re damaged.
In general, storage facility policies cost more and provide a lower coverage amount than third-party plans. However, the decision should depend on your individual coverage needs. Whichever you choose, it’s best to compare your options and not choose on the spot at the storage unit facility.
Match Your Coverage Needs to the Right Storage Insurance Policy
Self-storage units can be a great option to quickly expand your storage space for a low fee. If you plan to put items in storage that aren’t easily replaced, consider a storage insurance policy.
Depending on your coverage needs, you might select a policy from the storage facility or a third-party provider. There might also be coverage available for your items through your home or auto insurance. Ultimately, the decision of which coverage is right for you will depend on the value of the items you’re looking to insure and what you’re looking to protect them from.
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