Storage Insurance: Am I Covered?

March 19, 2019

Did you know that nearly 1 out of every 10 American households rents a storage unit? That’s right. Our country maintains a whopping 2.3 billion square feet of self-storage space–enough for every citizen to claim 7 feet for himself. If you happen to be among those taking advantage of self-storage, you may be wondering – does my homeowner’s policy automatically include storage insurance?

The answer? Sort of…

Here’s how it works: your homeowner’s policy covers your belongings to a limited extent (usually between 50% and 70% of the insurance on your dwelling–the amount it would cost to rebuild your home’s structure, NOT the market value of your house.). However, when a loss happens outside your home, a.k.a. “off premises,” that limit drops even lower–often to just 10% of your original property coverage.   Let’s look at a quick example of a typical MA home insurance policy:

  • If you have $100,000 in Coverage A – Dwelling Protection…
  • You probably have $50,000 in Coverage C – Personal Property Protection, which means…
  • You would only have $5,000 in “storage insurance” (10% of Coverage C) for belongings kept in a storage facility.

Ten percent of Coverage C is typically not enough coverage for most, especially if you are storing valuable electronics, furniture, antiques, or other valuable collections. If a fire or theft were to occur, could you replace everything you have in storage with just one-tenth of your personal property limit?

Meanwhile, storage units aren’t the only off-premise locations where personal property loss can occur. Other secondary locations where these limits may be insufficient include: a college dorm room, a camper, your seasonal home or Florida condo.

Bottom line: if you’re keeping items in a storage unit, it’s important to know exactly how much property coverage you have there. Depending on your carrier, you may be able to increase limits on specific items or your overall off-premise limits. You may also be interested in adding endorsements that will cover valuable property for a wider range of loss events. For example, expensive jewelry that is lost of misplaced isn’t covered at all under traditional home insurance. (Only perils like fire damage or theft would be covered.)

If you have plans to pack your items into a self-storage unit, make sure you have a conversation with your insurance agent beforehand. We recommend making an inventory list first, so you know the number and value of all possessions being stowed. Taking photos or a video is never a bad idea, either, so that you have a visual record in case anything gets damaged.

Ask our team about storage insurance – 508.339.2951 – to secure adequate protection for your belongings.