When you rent a self storage room one of the questions you will be asked is whether you would like to take the storage companies insurance.
What Is Self Storage Contents Insurance?
Self storage contents insurance is there to cover the goods in store against any potential perils. This will not cover everything but will cover some of the basic perils that your goods may be subject to whilst in store.
Whose Responsibility Is It to Insure?
It is generally not the self storage company’s responsibility to cover your goods in store. Your contract will make it clear that it is the responsibility of the customer to take out insurance. If they fail to do so then the storage company will not be liable.
If the company is a member of the Self Storage Association, then it is a requirement that they offer self storage contents insurance. This does not necessarily mean you have to take the insurance on offer. You will have to look at their terms and conditions to confirm this. In some cases, there is a degree of flexibility and you may be able to get a third-party insurer to provide the cover.
If you are providing your own insurance, then you will no doubt be asked for proof. This will involve producing your insurance certificate. It will need to be quite clear within the policy that goods in storage are covered. Also, it is important to note the value of the goods that are covered on this basis.
Are You Already Covered?
It may be that your contents are covered on your house policy. But you would need to confirm this with your home insurance provider to ensure that the goods are covered for “goods in store”.
Customers Who Self Insure
Some storage operators allow you to self-insure. You will be asked to provide proof of insurance i.e. certificate policy stating cover for goods in storage. The policy must state what is covered. It is also good to note the expiry date of the insurance and have a note in your diary and provide the storage company with a copy of the new certificate as this becomes available. Also, check that if you are insuring under your home policy, that the cover is for the length of time you are storing for. Sometimes there is a restricted length that these policies will cover goods in store.
Proof of Cover
Although you may have cover, but do not provide proof, then in many cases the self storage company will insist that you take the appropriate cover with them. However, once proof of insurance has been provided, then the company’s cover will be taken off your account.
Don’t forget to provide the proof, otherwise, you will be double insured under your house policy and the policy provided by the operator.
What Do These Policies Cover?
Generally, self storage contents insurance is there to protect the customer against any loss or damage to their goods. It also protects other customers. For example, if there was a problem which was caused from the goods that you have stored, i.e. a washing machine that was still full of water and leaked, then the insurance policy may well cover this situation.
With some self-storage operators, they will have a minimum insurance requirement based on the size of the room that you are renting. This does not necessarily mean to say the value of the goods stored is covered. It will be up to you to confirm. i.e. it may be that you are storing goods which are far more valuable and the premium that is charged does not cover the entire value.
Therefore, it is important to consider this if you are offered a specific type of insurance from an operator. You may need to top up your premium to ensure you have the correct cover.
Is the Policy New for Old?
This is important to know. If there is a claim and the policy is new for old, then the goods that are damaged or require replacement will be replaced based on the value of a new item.
For example, if you are storing an old mattress and this gets damaged beyond repair, under a new for old policy this will be replaced with a new mattress, not one to the value of the mattress that was damaged.
How do You Establish the Value?
Although you will be storing used items in your storage unit, it is important that when you are looking at the replacement value you consider what it would cost to replace the goods as new. In many cases, customers undervalue the contents of their unit. Then if there is a claim, they do not have the adequate cover in order to have these items replaced.
It is not the storage operator’s place to advise in any way on insurance as they are not actually insurance brokers. They will not have the knowledge and experience to advise you regarding the policy and certainly the value of your goods. This is very much your decision and when asked to declare the value you should not be guided by the salesperson at the storage facility.
Why Shop Around?
When asked whether you want to take the contents insurance, get a quote from the storage company and then shop around. There are many options online and invariably these are cheaper deals with more comprehensive cover than the insurance that is being offered at the store. In some cases, this can be three times cheaper than the cover offered.
What Is Covered?
All policies will be different, and you will need to read the exact coverage for each. However, to give you a general idea of the types of items that are covered under a self storage contents policy these are listed below:
- Computers, electronic items and other office equipment
- Personal documents, for example deeds or registered bonds (up to a limit).
- Furniture carpets curtains
- Home appliances. For example, electric cookers, fridges
- Personal Possessions (There may be a limit for a single item if it is worth over a certain amount. It is worth checking with the provider)
- Plant, tools, stock and machinery
What Events are Covered?
This will vary depending on the policy. However, to give you a general idea the following perils are covered with this type of insurance:
- Natural disaster including flood, earthquake, lightning
- Fire and explosion
- Violent disorder and malicious acts
- Impact by aircraft
- Collision by vehicle or animal
- Falling trees, telegraph poles and lamp posts
- Theft and attempted theft
- Leaking water liquid from fixed water tanks and pipes
One peril that is worth checking as to whether there is cover, is for any kind of vermin damage. Many storage facilities have issues with vermin. They can cause no end of damage to goods in store. Therefore, it is worth checking on your policy that there is appropriate cover.
This is just a basic overview of what to look for when you are taking out insurance cover. The answer is to speak to your provider to understand exactly what is covered under the policy and what the costs are.
Once this is established then shop around for alternatives. Consider the cost but also how comprehensive the cover is. With all insurance policies, these seem like a waste of money until you need to claim on them.