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Storage insurance

What is storage unit insurance?

David McDermottroe
Written by  David McDermottroe
6 min read
Updated: 01 Feb 2024

If you’re keeping your belongings in a storage unit, you’ll want to make sure they’re safe. Storage insurance can help keep your possessions covered.

Unlocking the mysteries of storage insurance

It's important to note that this financial product is not currently available through MoneySuperMarket. While we can't help you purchase this type of insurance at the moment, we're here to provide valuable information that could be crucial for safeguarding your stored belongings.

Storage

What is storage Insurance?

Storage insurance – also known as self-storage insurance, or storage container insurance – is a policy that covers your belongings if you don’t keep them at home or in a business property. Typically, this includes items you've placed in a storage unit, such as extra furniture, clothing, or collectibles. According to the Self Storage Association , the UK average net rental rate for storage space is £27.19 per square foot per annum, marking a 4% increase from the previous year.

In most cases, if you’re keeping your belongings in storage for an extended period, they will not be covered by your home insurance cover and will require additional protection. That’s where specialist storage insurance comes into play.

Do I need storage insurance?

When you rent a storage unit, companies often mandate that your items be insured. With the cost of living on the rise, 16% of customers have altered their storage habits, and 68% are utilising storage solutions more frequently. The consideration of self-storage during relocation has also seen a significant uptick.

Home insurance limitations

Not all home insurance policies will cover belongings that are stored outside of the home, and others will have limits on how long they will cover stored items. This means that you will not be compensated if any of your items in storage are affected by fire, earthquake, subsidence, storm, flood, sprinkler damage, or vandalism. However, a robust storage insurance policy will cover all these risks.

Specialist contents storage insurance

If your home insurance falls short, you might consider a specialist policy, particularly if you're looking at long-term storage or if you have valuable items. Most storage policies have single item limits up to a certain value, and if your possessions exceed this, they'll need to be listed individually.

What does storage insurance cover?

Coverage can vary, but typically includes:

  • Theft

  • Water damage, including issues from a burst pipe, flooding, or sprinklers

  • Fire and lightning

  • Smoke

  • Damp and subsidence

  • Storms

  • Vandalism

  • Vermin damage

  • Riots

  • Structural collapse

Exclusions in storage insurance

Be aware that policies generally exclude:

  • Living animals

  • Perishable goods

  • Firearms and explosives

  • Combustible materials

  • Illegal substances

  • Currency

Choosing a self-storage facility

When selecting a facility, consider:

  • The nature of items stored

  • Costs involved

  • Location convenience

  • Unit size

  • Restrictions on stored items

  • Security measures in place

Cost considerations

It's essential to compare costs for storage units, which can be charged monthly or as a one-time fee.

Location importance

If you need regular access to your stored items, choose a conveniently located unit. For long-term storage, you might opt for a less accessible location if it offers better rates.

Size and safety

Make sure the unit is the right size for your needs and offers protection against common hazards like water leaks and fire.

Restrictions and access

Understand the facility's rules on what can be stored and how you can access your items. Some may require appointments for access.

Security measures

Evaluate the security measures in place, such as CCTV, on-site guards, and procedures for contact in case of a break-in.

Vehicle coverage in storage

For vehicles, a separate policy is usually necessary, as most storage insurance policies have coverage limits. If your vehicle isn’t being used, you can issue a Statutory Off-Road Notification (SORN) to avoid insurance costs. However, maintaining insurance is wise to protect against various risks while in storage.

Wine collection coverage

For expensive items like wine collections, which may exceed policy limits, consider special care or a specialist insurer.

Insurance with storage companies

You're not obligated to take insurance from the storage company, but you will need to show proof of a policy. Always read the policy details thoroughly.

Home insurance for sheds/outbuildings

If you have a shed or outbuilding attached to your property, your home insurance policy may cover it, and thus, its contents.

Home insurance for items in storage

Home insurance may cover items in storage for a limited time, usually around seven days. For long-term storage or high-value items, a dedicated storage insurance policy may be necessary.

Reasons for using a storage unit

People use storage units for various reasons, such as university moves, home renovations, travel, decluttering, storing equipment, collectibles, seasonal items, and business storage. Moving out for university is a common time when students turn to storage units to keep items that don't fit in their accommodation, especially during the summer months. Your contents insurance will cover what's kept in your home or dorm, but for everything else, a storage unit is a practical solution.

Tips for using a self-storage unit

To make the most of your self-storage unit:

  • Select the appropriate unit size.

  • Consider installing shelving.

  • Regularly check on your belongings.

  • Secure insurance coverage.

  • Adhere to the storage company's regulations.

Tips on how to store contents

When packing for storage:

  • Clean and dry items thoroughly.

  • Wrap fragile items carefully.

  • Disassemble bulky furniture.

  • Use sturdy boxes for packing.

  • Clearly label all boxes.

  • Strategically pack, placing heavier items at the bottom.

Whether you're a student, a homeowner undergoing renovations, or a business owner needing extra space, understanding storage insurance, what it covers, its exclusions, and how to choose the right storage facility and insurance policy can help ensure that your possessions are protected, no matter where they reside.

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