Renters insurance is a policy designed to protect renters from financial loss due to unforeseen events like theft, fire, or other covered perils that damage or destroy their personal property. While most people associate renters insurance with their primary rental residence, it can also provide coverage for belongings stored offsite, such as in a storage unit. Let's explore how renters insurance applies to storage units.
1. Off-Premises Coverage
Many renters insurance policies include what is known as "off-premises coverage". This means that personal property that is stored away from your rental home or apartment, such as in a storage unit, is covered. However, there are usually limitations.
Some policies may cover off-premises property up to 10% of the total personal property coverage limit. If your renters insurance covers personal property up to $50,000, off-premises coverage would cover up to $5,000 worth of belongings stored in a storage unit.
2. Types of Perils Covered
Renters insurance typically provides coverage for named perils, such as:
- Fire or lightning
- Windstorm or hail
- Smoke damage
This means if your belongings in a storage unit are damaged or destroyed by any of these events, your renters insurance may provide coverage. It's important to carefully read your policy's declarations page, as certain perils might be limited or excluded altogether.
3. Items Not Covered
Some items might be excluded or have limited coverage when stored off-premises. Expensive artwork, antiques, or certain types of electronics may not be fully covered. Always consult your policy or insurance agent for specifics. Additionally, items that deteriorate over time, such as perishable goods or sensitive documents, might not be covered in storage scenarios.
4. Consider the Deductible
Remember that if you file a claim for items in your storage unit, you'll still be responsible for paying the deductible. Be aware of this amount and factor it into any decisions about storing valuable items off-premises. A higher deductible can reduce your premium, but it also means more out-of-pocket expenses in the event of a claim.
5. Additional Coverage
If you have items of significant value in storage or if your off-premises coverage limit is lower than the worth of your stored belongings, consider purchasing additional coverage. Many insurance providers offer endorsements or riders that can extend the coverage limits for items in storage. This supplemental coverage can be customized to ensure protection for specific high-value items or collections.
6. Specialized Storage Insurance
If your renters insurance doesn't offer enough protection for your storage unit, some storage facilities provide their own insurance policies. These can range from basic coverage against certain perils to more comprehensive policies. Always compare the coverage, costs, and limitations against your existing renters insurance before opting for storage facility insurance.
Tips for the Safety of Your Belongings in a Storage Unit
While insurance provides a safety net, there are proactive measures you can take to further protect your belongings:
a. Maintain an Inventory: Always keep an updated inventory of the items you store. Photographs, receipts, and detailed descriptions can prove invaluable when it comes to filing a claim or identifying stolen items.
b. Choose a Secure Facility: Opt for a storage facility that offers security features like 24-hour surveillance, security guards, and individual unit alarms.
c. Use Sturdy Locks: Don't skimp on the lock for your storage unit. Invest in a heavy-duty, tamper-resistant lock.
d. Protect Against Elements: If possible, choose a climate-controlled unit, especially if you're storing items sensitive to temperature and humidity changes.
e. Regularly Check Your Unit: Visit your storage unit regularly to check on your items and ensure that everything is in order.
f. Avoid Storing Valuables: If possible, keep high-value items out of storage units and at your primary residence or in a bank's safe deposit box.
Storing items in a storage unit is an effective way to declutter or hold belongings during transitional periods. Understand how your renters insurance applies and consult with your insurance provider to tailor coverage to your specific needs. Beyond this, take proactive measures to ensure the safety of your possessions to keep worries at bay.