Are you temporarily renting between property purchases and need to put your belongings somewhere safe? Perhaps you’ve been inspired by Kondo but you’re not quite ready to completely part company with your possessions? Or maybe you’ve just run out of space, especially if you’re running a business from home. Whatever your reason for putting items into storage, you also need to consider whether you also need dedicated insurance. If you don’t, it could turn out to be a costly oversight. To help you to decide, we explain why you might need it, what is covered, and how to get the best storage insurance for your budget.
What is self-storage insurance?
Self-storage insurance is an insurance product that has been designed specifically for personal or business property when it is locked in a storage facility. It’s designed with all the things that can go wrong in this situation in mind, giving you greater peace of mind that you’re covered financially.
Why do I need insurance?
While storage facilities do provide security, it’s worth remembering that they’re not exactly Fort Knox. That means your possessions are not 100% safe.
What will provide you with the final piece of security and peace of mind is self-storage insurance.
Doesn’t my storage facility have insurance?
Probably not. While some self-storage firms may provide an option to add insurance to your service, many do not include it as standard or at all. It is therefore up to you, the customer, to take steps to insure your stored possessions.
If insurance is included as part of the weekly or monthly fee, don’t assume the cover is comprehensive. You need to check the small print carefully as there may be exclusions that mean you don’t have the cover you expect. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s not until something goes wrong that you discover that your insurance won’t cover you.
Remember, you don’t have to automatically take the insurance offered by your storage facility. It might seem like the easiest option but you could be paying far more than you need to for the same level of cover.
What about my home insurance?
Most standard home or business contents insurance policies will only cover your possessions for as long as they are in the property address that is insured. There may be an option to add cover to your contents policy, so speak to your broker or insurance company. Bear in mind that adding it to your existing policy may cost more than taking out a separate dedicated storage insurance policy.
What can go wrong in storage?
Your items are at as much risk in storage as they are at home. Just as your home can be targeted by thieves, so can storage facilities.
Promises of 24-hour security do not guarantee your goods will be safe. The BBC’s Watchdog programme investigated thefts from one self-storage company’s facilities and found security measures there to be insufficient. For example, gates that stayed open for too long and unalarmed front doors. The BBC film crew was not only able to gain access but explored the facility for almost an hour and a half without being stopped.
It’s not just thefts that can affect your stored possessions. Like any other commercial or residential building, self-storage facilities are at risk of natural acts of destruction, such as floods and fire. For example, a large storage unit in north London was badly damaged by a fire. It burned for 10 days and was tackled by 140 fire-fighters and 25 engines. Unsurprisingly, many items that were being stored were completely destroyed.
What does storage insurance cover?
Like any insurance, storage insurance can be tailored to your specific needs and storage situation. The type of cover you will require may vary, but the basics include:
- This could be theft by force or through someone accessing your key.
- Fire can quickly ravage a building of any construction. Covering items against fire damage should be included in every standard policy.
- If there is a flood, water can quickly seep through the smallest cracks and cause considerable damage. Flood damage should be included automatically in your policy.
Other things to think about
- Items can become damaged accidentally when in storage. For example, if you’ve stacked boxes too high and they fall. Or if you accidentally drop something when you’re getting it out. Accidental damage cover can be added to your policy if you need it.
- Stored possessions can also suffer from damp and mildew. If you want to protect your items financially from this possibility, speak o your broker.
- Like any insurance, don’t be tempted to skimp. You may save a couple of pennies, but if you do need to claim you could find yourself substantially out of pocket.
- If you are storing items for a business, make sure you tell your broker to ensure your cover is valid.
- It’s also worth repeating that self-storage facilities are not Fort Knox. If you have expensive items in storage and have the relevant insurance then you will, of course, be compensated for these. However, remember that if they have any sentimental value then this cannot be replaced so easily.
Where can I get storage insurance?
At Park Insurance, we provide robust self storage insurance which will cover you against most eventualities. Our insurance solutions cover:
- The theft of your possessions from self-storage.
- The loss of your items due to fire.
- Destruction or damage of stored items as a result of fire, flood, and other incidents.
If you have any other specific needs or questions, our team will be happy to help.
Buying the best storage insurance
If you’d like to find out more, get in touch with our expert team. We’ve been helping people like you to find quality insurance at a value for money price for 30 years. For the best storage insurance, contact our dedicated storage insurance team on 0117 955 6835 or get a free quote.
NB: This article was originally published in August 2016 but has since been completely updated to provide you with the best and most accurate information