If you rent a storage space or are planning to rent one, these four steps will make sure you understand what is, and isn’t, covered by your homeowners policy:
1. Ask your insurance professional about off-premises coverage.
Some standard homeowners’ insurance policies include coverage for personal possessions kept off-premises, including the items you put in a storage unit. Off-premises coverage includes theft and damage from fires, tornadoes and other perils listed in the policy.
However, it does not cover damage caused by flooding, earthquakes, mold and mildew, vermin or poor maintenance. And check the coverage limits, as these vary by company.
2. Find out what type of financial protection the storage facility provides.
Most facilities provide reimbursement based on the square footage of the unit. Check both the coverage limits and whether it is provided on an actual cash value or replacement cost basis.
Most storage facilities will also offer a variety of supplemental insurance packages. Compare the cost of these policies to the cost of adding more coverage to your homeowners insurance.
3. Consider special insurance or storage for expensive items.
If you intend to store valuable property, such as art, antiques, jewelry or furs, there may be a dollar restriction under your standard homeowners insurance policy for theft.
Ask your insurance professional about adding a floater or endorsement to your policy in order to fully cover these items.
There are also specialized storage facilities available for these types of items, as they often need to be kept at specific temperature and humidity level.
Small items such as jewelry will cost less to insure if you keep them in a bank safe-deposit box. Keep in mind, contents in a safe-deposit box are not insured by the bank.
4. Create an inventory of items to be kept off-premises in storage.
Add the items you’re moving to the storage unit to your home inventory so that you can keep track of your belongings and make sure you have the right amount of insurance to protect them.
To make creating your inventory as easy as possible, the Insurance Information Institute has a free home inventory tool, Know Your Stuff®, which includes secure online storage so you can access your inventory anywhere, anytime.