Does My Homeowners Insurance Cover Items In Storage?

At some point in home ownership, you may need a storage unit for offsite storage.

You see quite a few storage unit locations in the Ark-La-Tex area.

Storage units offer protection for personal belongings in storage that may not fit where you live. They are especially beneficial for items used seasonally such as outdoor furniture, bicycles and other important items. Lockers can declutter your home and provide extra space during a move.

Homeowners insurance may provide coverage for individual storage unit items, but this coverage is often limited and may not apply to all stored items.

To make sure it sufficiently protects your items stored elsewhere from potential risks, you should know what limited protections exist on your policy.

Before signing a self-storage unit rental contract, it is important to ensure that you have the necessary coverage to store your belongings safely.

What Protection Does Home Insurance Provide for Your Stored Items? 

Your homeowners policy may provide coverage for items kept in a storage unit, depending on the policy or existing coverage.

The coverage limit may differ depending on the insurance carrier and your  insurance policy.

If you have personal property stored in storage units and the appropriate insurance coverage, you may be protected against theft, fire, water damage, and other risks specified by your policy.

It should be noted that coverage may have limits, and extra coverage may be required for high-value items than are allowed for in the policy.

In addition to paying your deductible, documentation and proof of ownership are required when submitting a claim for items damaged or lost in a storage unit.

Your insurance provider may require proof of the items you are storing, such as receipts, appraisals, and photographs of the items before storage. They may additionally request an inventory of these items.

It is important to review your standard homeowners insurance policy and speak to your provider when using a storage unit. Consider buying additional protection or a separate policy if storing valuable, costly items.

Although Watley Insurance Group does not suggest leaving high-value items, like family heirlooms, antiques or jewelry, in storage units away from your home, it is sometimes necessary.

It is not the safest option.

Storage companies may offer third party self-storage insurance, either included in the contract or for an additional fee.

It is advisable to review your policy and get in touch with Watley Insurance Group to assess if further coverage is required for stored items.

When Are Storage Units Not Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

Storage units are often not considered part of the primary residence and are therefore not automatically covered by homeowners insurance.

In general, storage units that are rented from a third party, such as a self-storage facility, are not covered by homeowners insurance.

These facilities typically require tenants to sign a contract that states they are responsible for insuring their own items.

In some cases, the facility may offer insurance options, but this will usually come at an additional cost.

Even if your homeowners insurance coverage policy does cover items in a storage unit, there may be limits to the coverage. For example, some policies may only cover up to a certain dollar amount, while others may only cover certain types of belongings.

It’s important to review your policy and speak with your independent insurance agent to fully understand what is covered and what is not.

Additionally, if you store valuable items such as jewelry, antiques, or artwork in a storage unit, you may need to purchase additional coverage or a separate, additional insurance policy to fully protect these items. It’s important to keep an inventory of what you have stored and the value of each item so that you can make sure you have adequate coverage.

Understanding your insurance coverage is necessary before placing your personal property in a storage unit.

It may not include natural disasters and it is beneficial to investigate the details of the policy prior to renting a unit.

How to Protect Your Items in Storage Units

Homeowners insurance may provide additional protection, but it’s still important to take steps to ensure your belongings are secure when in storage. Here are some tips to help you protect your items from damage or theft.

Ensure the key is kept secure

Protecting the storage key is a good way to prevent theft. You can either keep it locked away or store it in a place that only you are aware of. If you give it to someone else, make sure they are trustworthy.

To help prevent theft, it is important to secure your storage key. This can be done through locking or hiding the key in a place known by one person and ensuring this individual is trustworthy.

Select a unit at the higher level

To protect items from floods, it is advisable to select a unit at a higher level. This is particularly true for water-sensitive items that should ideally be kept in the topmost units of a storage facility.

We recommend you select a bank storage unit that is at a higher elevation due to the fact that floods are not an insured event.

Consider this when placing easily water-harmed items such as stamp collections or other important documents.

Consequently, opt for a spot furthest away from the floor.

Make sure to pack your items carefully.

Ensure items are packed and stored in an orderly fashion to facilitate tracking them and to check if any unauthorized access has occurred.

Pack and organize items for ease of inspection by sorting them into boxes and securing them with seals and labels.

Documenting your items in storage

Taking photos, videos, and creating a home inventory of items in storage can help when filing a claim in the future. An itemized list with each item’s replacement value should be given to the insurance adjuster.

Serial numbers and purchase date for expensive items such as TVs and computers should also be documented, along with the cost. Some insurers require copies of receipts for big-ticket items. We advise you to do this for all belongings located at your home or a storage facility.

Do I Have Other Options?

Self-storage facilities may require insurance for items in their units and may offer their own policies or direct customers to a third-party insurer. In case of theft or damage, this can provide coverage.

Self-storage facility insurance generally includes a limited coverage amount and the premiums are determined each month.

This type of policy often has higher rates than regular property coverage and reimbursement is normally only the cash value of the damaged items, not their replacement value.

The extent of reimbursement is dependent on what losses or damages are covered or excluded in the policy.

If you are uncertain about the amount of coverage you have (and for what), we recommend you contact an independent insurance agent for advice, such as the Watley Insurance Group.

This can help ensure that you and your family have sufficient coverage in the event of a claim.

We serve the Ark-La-Tex area, mainly helping those in Shreveport, Bossier City, Benton, Barksdale Air Force Base, Haughton, Keithville, and Blanchard.

Get in touch and we will make sure you have the best coverage at and away from home.

Wayne F. Watley, Jr.

Agency Principal, proud husband & father, and jazz enthusiast.