You’re not ready to get rid of those old board games, kids’ clothes or memorabilia from the good ol’ 80s, but your apartment simply won’t hold any more boxes. You’ve asked your mom and your sister if they have room in their house for a few things, but then they reminded you that they’re both storing half of your VHS collection. It looks like the only option left is to rent a storage locker so that your favourite Queen poster doesn’t wind up in the trash.
But not all storage lockers (or their facilities) are built the same. Your property means a lot to you, which is why you will want to be picky when it comes to choosing a reliable facility. In this guide, we offer insight into what makes a quality storage facility and how to go about insuring your property in storage:
1. Pick a Good Quality and Reliable Facility
The storage lockers just two blocks from your home may seem like the obvious choice, but do they have 24-hour video security, a fully fenced in property and coded security pads on every floor? Choosing the right facility doesn’t mean just picking the closest one, it means looking for a safe and secure place that will protect all of your Aerosmith merch as well as you would.
Look for a facility that has 24-hour video surveillance, coded security pads (for both the building and the floor that your locker is on), and cameras throughout the building. Also, review the storage locker to make sure that water cannot enter your storage locker through crackers or holes in the exterior.
You will want to ensure that you are choosing based on a checklist like so:
- Is it located somewhere safe?
- Is it climate controlled?
- Are there security features? (Monitoring, 24/7 cams, etc.)
- Is it well-maintained?
- Does it have generally positive user reviews?
- Is it accessible and convenient for you?
- Is the building structure safe? Is it gated?
- Are there records of who can come in and out of the facility?
2. Insure Your Storage Locker
Insurance for a rented storage locker is often overlooked, but just like your home, your storage locker can suffer a devastating fire or theft.
It’s a good idea to give your broker a call to find out if your homeowners or renters insurance policy will cover personal property stored outside of your home. Some policies may offer a little coverage, but generally this type of coverage must be purchased for an additional premium.
If you are storing your belongings temporarily outside your home (for example, if you were in the middle of a move) your content’s insurance (included in your home insurance) may cover your belongings at no additional fee for up to 90 days – but this can depend on the insurance provider and the duration/value coverage may vary.
If your policy does come with some coverage, be aware that most homeowners insurance policies do not include coverage for damages caused by earthquake, mold or mildew, pests or poor maintenance, so coverage for these types of losses would not carry over to your storage locker.
Talk to your broker about your options so that you know how to best protect those classic Tears for Fears and REO Speedwagon cassette tapes!
“Contents in Storage” Insurance
While some home insurance or renter’s insurance policies will cover your personal property outside of your home, there may be limitations and even restrictions on how long your personal property can be “out of home” before it no longer has coverage. Some providers offer separate coverage for your personal belongings in storage. These may include replacement cost coverage for all risks for your personal belongings that are stored in approved, reputable facilities.
This coverage may be best for any belongings you have stored during a time where you are moving and not for “longer term storage” of any household items you keep in lockers. If you had to make a claim, this would protect your home insurance from being affected as it is a separate coverage plan.
Discuss with your insurance broker about whether you want to include storage unit coverage in your homeowner’s insurance (if eligible) or if it is of more value to you to purchase a separate policy.
Vehicles in Storage
If you are storing a car or a motorcycle in a storage facility, does it qualify for a storage unit policy? Unfortunately, like with any policy, there are limits to a “contents in storage” insurance policy. For these items, the owner of the vehicle/bike will need to purchase a separate insurance policy.
This goes for any higher value items as well, such as artwork, jewellery, collectibles, and more. You can discuss with your insurance provider about special protection for these items and any related valuables.
3. Create an Inventory List
Now that you have done everything you can to protect your storage locker, you should prepare for the worst/unexpected. Before you move your belongings into the storage facility, create an inventory list of all of the items that you’ll be keeping in storage. This list should include the approximate age and value of these items. Snapping a few pictures of your stuff is also a good idea!
Keeping an inventory of your personal belongings can also come in handy if you ever need to make a claim. You can show these images to your insurance provider which can give a better estimate of what was lost and even expedite the claims’ process.
Once you have completed your inventory list, store it in your home (somewhere secure) or on your computer so that you know it is safe even if your storage locker is somehow damaged.
Keep in mind that there may also be restrictions on the type of materials that can be stored in your storage locker, and some materials may even void a rental agreement. This includes flammable items such as motor oil, gasoline, chemicals, paint, and more.
If you have any questions about coverage for your property in storage or would like more details, please contact one of our Excalibur Insurance brokers at 1-888-298-7343.