Storage insurance is a specific type of insurance policy that protects your belongings while they are kept in a storage facility – and most storage companies will insist that you have it.
Cover generally extends to items such as home furnishings and appliances, office and business equipment, machinery and personal effects.
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The most common reasons for using a storage facility include freeing up space at home or storing your belongings during a move or an extended trip. A storage unit could also give you time to sort through a loved one’s belongings after they pass away.
Here are the workings of how storage insurance works.
What does storage insurance cover?
Here are some examples of what storage insurance provides protection against:
- Water damage due to burst pipes or leaking water
- Fire and explosion damage
- Natural disasters, including flood and storm damage
- Vandalism or malicious acts
- subsidence damage
- Damage caused by moths, insects and vermin
- Vehicle or aircraft impact
- Sprinkler damage
- Collapse or partial collapse of premises
Do I need storage insurance?
If you want to ensure that your stored goods are properly protected against damage and theft, you will need to purchase a specialized storage insurance policy. In fact, most storage providers will insist that you have at least this coverage in place before you can rent a storage unit.
But any insurance the storage provider themselves have in place will only protect the provider’s liability if they are found to have been negligent with your items, causing damage to them.
Will my home insurance protect stored items?
Whether the stored items will be covered by your home contents insurance policy depends on the insurer. Most policies cover personal effects while in “transit” when you move, and some also cover items that need to be temporarily stored.
However, this cover is generally limited to seven days and therefore not suitable for long-term stored items. Policies are also unlikely to cover valuables such as jewelry, so check the terms of your policy.
If you are forced to leave your home following an event such as a fire or a flood, you can benefit from cover for temporarily stored objects if your inventory insurance includes “alternative accommodation” cover. But again, there will be limits to how long this coverage lasts – typically it’s around 90 days.
Do storage providers offer their own coverage?
Some storage providers offer their own storage insurance policies that you can purchase along with the rental unit. But you don’t have to take it. You might find a better deal by researching your own standalone storage policy from a specialist provider.
If you go this route, be sure to compare quotes, checking both the price and exactly what you’ll be covered for. Most policies do not include coverage for personal effects in transit. They are also unlikely to cover certain stored items such as:
- Hazardous contents such as flammable liquids or toxic chemicals
- Currency or cash
- Firearms, explosives or weapons
- Food or perishables
- Living animals
Also check to see if there are any single item limits on your policy. For example, your insurer may not cover any item over £1000 unless it is listed separately.
Also, your insurer may have rules about how you store your belongings. Examples include securing your unit with a specific type of lock or keeping your belongings in waterproof containers. Failure to follow these rules could invalidate your coverage.
How much does storage insurance cost?
The amount you pay for storage insurance will depend on factors such as the total value of your items (the sum insured), whether you have items that need to be listed separately, and how long you need storage.
It’s important not to be underinsured, so make a list of everything you want to store, estimate how much it would cost to replace each item, then total the total cost to ensure you get the right level of protection.
Can I extend my storage insurance?
Your provider can let you know when your policy is about to expire and you can simply ask for an extension if needed. In other cases, you will need to reapply for a completely new policy.
Check the terms of your coverage before purchasing a policy to see what your options will be.
Can I store my items elsewhere?
Specialist storage insurers will only cover items stored in official storage facilities. This means that if you plan to keep some of your stuff in a friend’s garage, for example, you won’t be able to find coverage.
Your belongings also won’t be covered by your own home insurance policy, but they might be covered by your friend’s home insurance, depending on what you’re storing and where. If it is a garage for example, it will generally have to be within the limits of the property.
Check with your friend to see if their home insurance provides sufficient coverage and if there are any limits. Again, expensive items may need to be listed separately on the policy at an additional cost.
There are online services that connect people looking for storage space with those who want to rent it. These usually include a basic level of insurance cover – with Stashbee for example, items are insured up to £1,000.