Americans love their stuff but often do not have enough space in their homes to keep it all. As such, the self-storage industry has seen a rise in demand over the past two decades. It can be a very lucrative industry for facility owners, but it is not without its hazards that, without insurance, can lead to very expensive financial losses. If you have made an investment in this type of business, you will want to be sure to protect your financial assets with an appropriate storage facility insurance portfolio. Let a Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent help you find coverage.
2015 U.S. Storage & Warehouse Leasing Industry Facts From IBISWorld
- There are approximately 31,000 self-storage businesses operating in the United States.
- These facilities employ more than 128,000 people.
- The storage facility industry generates about $32 billion in revenue each year.
Your Storage Facility Insurance Portfolio Should Include Property Coverage
As the owner of a self-storage facility, you are not responsible for insuring the property stored by your customers. That property would need to be covered by their homeowners insurance; another type of policy as recommended by their insurance agent; or through a policy that you have the option to offer customers for an additional fee. You are, however, responsible for covering your own business property. Some insurance types that an independent insurance agent may recommend include the following:
- Building insurance: This protects the structure of your storage units and office space against perils such as fire, wind, hail and vandalism. Coverage for fences and gates is typically included in your building insurance but may require special endorsements, so be sure to discuss this need with your independent agent.
- Business property insurance: This protects the property you keep in your main office, such as furniture, computer systems, filing cabinets and décor. Coverage for outdoor signs may require you to purchase an endorsement to this policy.
- Boiler & machinery insurance: Also referred to as equipment breakdown insurance, this coverage is necessary if you provide your customers with climate-controlled units. In the event that your heating or cooling system malfunctions, this insurance covers the cost of repairs or replacements so that you can get the problem fixed quickly, without a large financial hit to your business.
- Flood insurance: Flood damage can prove very expensive, and it is not covered by your building or business property insurance policies. If your storage facility is a risk, your independent insurance agent can help you supplement your self-storage business insurance with a commercial flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Liability Coverage Is an Important Part of Your Self Storage Business Insurance
As the owner of a self-storage business, you are not liable for damage to your customers’ belongings while the belongings are stored in the storage units; however, this does not mean that people cannot sue your facility anyway. Liability insurance is an important aspect of any storage facility insurance portfolio, as it can shield your business from excessive losses due to court costs, legal defense fees and financial damages if your company is sued.
- General liability insurance: This provides coverage to you if a third-party experiences property loss or injury because of an accident that occurs on your business premises. It also provides coverage for cases of libel, slander and copyright infringement.
- Cyber liability insurance: If you keep your customers' personal and financial information on a computer system or online and your database is hacked, your customers will be at risk for identity theft. You can be sued for this data breach and will likely be required to provide affected customers with credit monitoring for a number of years. a lawsuit can be quite costly in the absence of cyber liability insurance.
- Employment practices liability insurance: Also referred to as EPLI, this provides your self-storage business with coverage for legal defense fees and financial damages if a current or former employee sues for a perceived illegal business practice, such as sexual harassment, discrimination or wrongful termination.
Speak with an independent insurance agent to review your liability risks so you can ensure that you have the right policies to cover your business against its various liability exposures.
What Other Storage Facility Insurance Should You Consider?
In addition to the insurance types listed above, you may want to speak to your independent insurance agent about supplementing your self-storage business insurance portfolio with the following:
- Workers' compensation insurance: This insurance provides coverage for medical treatment and other incurred expenses if an employee of your business is injured while on the job. If your self-storage business is located in one of the many states that require this insurance, you need to purchase coverage. Though it is optional in a handful of states, it is highly recommended, as it protects your business from liability lawsuits related to workplace injuries.
- Business income insurance: If, for some reason, a covered event forces you to close your storage facility for an extended period while repairs are made and you are unable to collect revenues from renters during that time, this insurance provides you with a continuation of income until normal business operations are resumed.
- Crime insurance: There are many different aspects to crime insurance, and your independent insurance agent can help you determine which options are right for your storage facility business. Some protect your business if an employee engages in illegal acts, such as stealing from customers or embezzling funds, while in your employ. Some reimburse you if your storage facility experiences a robbery or if an employee is robbed while taking money to the bank.
Bear in mind that you do have the burden of providing some measure of protection to your clients, whether through the presence of security guards, cameras or other security systems. Your insurance company may require you to take certain preventive measures and safety precautions as a term of your coverage agreement.
It is possible that additional types of insurance may be a good fit for your storage facility. Your independent insurance agent can advise you about insurance policies that can limit your exposures so that your business can remain profitable.
Get Help Building Your Self Storage Business Insurance Portfolio
Purchasing business insurance for your self-storage facility is easy when you work with an independent agent in the Trusted Choice network. These agents can work with you to identify your various exposures and can make coverage recommendations to mitigate them. Agents can even shop around to find you the right coverage at a competitive rate. Find a Trusted Choice agent near you to learn more so you can soon start comparing quotes for storage facility insurance that is designed specifically for your business.