Why You Need Insurance for Property in Storage

Self storage warehouse with single storage unit open

You've accumulated a lot of "stuff." Maybe they're your prized possessions, or maybe they're junk. Regardless, you'll have to bid adieu - at least temporarily - to some of the things that you can no longer stuff in a closet or hide under the bed. 

That's why storage units exist.

Almost 10% of American households rent a self-storage unit. If you're a piece of that percentage, it's time you took a hard look in the mirror and asked yourself: "Do I have insurance for the property in my storage unit?"

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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Property in Storage?

We have good news: A standard homeowners, renters insurance or business policy provides you with protection for personal property you own anywhere in the world. If you're renting the unit for business purposes, your business policy will likely keep you covered. But beware: Coverage doesn't work the same way it would for items you can actually still fit in a closet or under the bed at home.

There are limitations on storage unit coverage that don't apply if the items are at your home or business. These limitations - cleverly called coverage limits - are generally capped at 10% of the amount of coverage in your policy. So if you have a $250,000 limit, items in your storage unit are covered up to $25,000. 

A comprehensive home inventory can help you determine which coverage limits will  protect your belongings, whether on your own premises or in a self-storage facility. Check with your Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent to ensure your coverage limit works for your needs.

When Do I Need a Separate Policy for Property in Storage?

Homeowners, renters or business insurance don't cover every item you put in your storage unit. 

For most people, this matters for vehicles. Generally speaking, motor vehicles - cars, ATVs, and motorcycles - are not covered by any of these policies. This means you need to insure them separately. A few exceptions to this general rule include:

  • A car in dead storage
  • Anything used to service your residence, like a riding lawn mower or a vehicle designed to assist disabled persons

Just remember: Even these exceptions are subject to the 10% coverage limit. If you’re using a storage facility to store a motorcycle, dirt bike or car, check with your Trusted Choice agent to determine whether you’ll need a separate policy for it.

Some folks use storage units to store collectibles, like art or antiques. Any special collections, whether you're keeping them in your home or in a storage unit, may need a separate policy. Your Trusted Choice agent can offer you a special policy to cover fine arts and collectibles, from paintings to record collections and beyond.

Restrictions on Property You Can Keep at a Storage Unit

Always check with the rental company about  any restrictions on items you can store. Here are some no-nos when it comes to most storage facilities:

  • Chemicals, like cleaners and solvents
  • Paint
  • Gasoline or motor oil 
  • Other combustibles 

Keeping these items in a storage unit could void your rental agreement, and they could get you in hot water if they caused a fire. A February 2012 fire in a storage unit in Georgia destroyed 200 units, including one that contained $200,000 worth of memorabilia from the film "Gone with the Wind." Many homeowners policies will limit your liability coverage to only $100,000, so a personal umbrella policy might be a good idea to provide additional coverage above what’s in the standard policy.

Your homeowners or renters insurance should provide you with coverage if you're found legally liable for injury or property damage to a storage facility. But if you're the planning type and will likely keep the unit long-term, you should talk with your Trusted Choice agent about adding the rental location to your policy as an additional insured location. This avoids any confusion over whether you’re covered.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that if you:

  1. Have homeowners, renters or business insurance, and 
  2. You’re following the rules of the storage facility, and 
  3. You let your Trusted Choice agent know exactly what items are going into the unit, then

you can be covered in most cases by a standard homeowners, renters or business insurance policy. And if ever your ATV or record collection just can't stay at home any longer, your agent can easily get you covered.

Our motto: Get it in storage, get it covered, get it out of sight, get peace of mind. That's what your Trusted Choice agent is for.

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