Yes, but up to a limit. For all of your belongings to be fully covered, you may need to get additional coverage.
Whether it is last year’s fashions or a place to store that vintage collection, storage units inevitably enter our lives at one point or another. But what happens to your belongings while they are in storage? Are they protected if the storage unit is damage? It turns out, your homeowners insurance may be all that you need.
Homeowners insurance provides some coverage for items you’ve stored in a storage unit, but up to a limit.
- Items in your storage unit should be insured.
- Most homeowners insurance policies cover property stored off-premises, typically capped at 10% to 15% of your policy.
- Valuables and special items may require additional coverage beyond what your standard home insurance provides.
Storage unit insurance: What is it?
When you rent or lease a storage unit, it is important to ensure that your belongings are protected. Storage unit insurance covers the belongings inside your storage unit from covered perils and damages, such as theft, water, fire, and smoke.
Home insurance and storage units
Home insurance offers multi-faceted coverage that can also include coverage for your storage unit, protecting your belongings from fire, lightning, and vandalism. Many policies include language that provides protection for property stored off-premises and outside of the home and a storage unit usually qualifies.
Coverage limits on off-premises contents
The amount of coverage you receive for off-premises contents in storage all depends on your policy. Many policies include coverage for 10% of the value for your belongings, but in most cases, you have the option to increasing coverage as needed. It is best to make a detailed home inventory so you purchase all of the coverage you need for your exact belongings.
Your policy may cover theft for belongings kept in your home, but coverage for storage unit theft may not be included. If you do not have built-in coverage through your home insurance, a lot of storage units will give you the option to purchase additional coverage that includes your storage unit. In fact, it may be a requirement of the facility before you are allowed to move your belongings into the unit. Coverage is typically provided either in-house or through a third party, but be sure to review the agreement carefully as coverage limits and restrictions will likely apply.
Special limitations for high-value items
High-value items should always be kept in the home whenever possible to best guarantee their safe-keeping, as control is relinquished when you take them to a storage unit. However, if you do decide to store them off-site, it is important to know that high-value items, such as jewelry, antiques, collectibles and art, may all require additional coverage beyond what the standard policy provides. A personal property endorsement offers a solution to this by providing the extra coverage you need for these more expensive items.
How much is storage insurance?
The cost of storage insurance varies significantly based on the value of the items you store inside. For example, if you have $10,000 worth of items in storage, you could pay anywhere from $8 to $38 for your insurance. It all depends on what you store inside.
Below, we take the average rates for MiniCo, one of the largest companies in the U.S. for storage unit insurance.
MiniCo Average Cost of Storage Unit Insurance
|Coverage limit||Average price per month|
The cost of storage unit insurance varies based on the company you choose, so always compare multiple quotes to find the most affordable rates for your needs.
How much storage unit insurance coverage do you need?
Your home inventory will help you determine exactly how much coverage you need. If your home insurance does not provide adequate coverage to match what you need, you can ask your home insurance company for an expanded quote to allow for extended coverage.
What is not covered by storage insurance?
There are some events where your storage insurance is woefully inadequate. Some of the events that typically require additional coverage include:
- Normal wear and tear
You can fill the gaps by getting additional coverage from a policy endorsement.
Check your homeowners or renters insurance policy
Every homeowners policy is different, with coverage and limits varying from policy to policy. Therefore, you should first identify exactly how much protection you need for your personal belongings.
When it comes to home insurance, “many insurers typically limit the off-premises coverage for possessions to 10 percent to 15 percent of the overall amount of coverage that they have, so it’s wise to double-check with your insurance company,” says Amy Bach, Executive Director of United Policyholders in San Francisco.
“Homeowner policies also have internal caps,” Bach adds. “They might have a cap of $1,000 on jewelry or $200 on comic books and trading cards. If one of the items you’re storing in the unit has this cap, you have to think about this.”
If you don’t have homeowners or renters insurance, “You may be able to buy a special policy that covers items in a storage unit, and you want to make sure that the coverage is broad enough to cover what might happen, like theft or weather-related events,” Bach explains. “Most of these facilities will make you sign a waiver acknowledging they won’t be responsible if your stuff gets damaged.
Don’t forget to make a list of what you put in your storage unit, she adds. That way, you won’t have to rely on your memory. A list will help you determine the value of stored items. “It will also help you make sure that you have enough insurance on your items.”
Buying storage insurance
Whether you are shopping for a new homeowners policy or simply adding a new storage insurance policy, you should shop around for multiple quotes from different insurance companies. This way you can compare home insurance quotes to find the best and cheapest home insurance policy for you.
“It’s an important purchase, and you want to protect yourself and your valuables and make sure that your needs are being met,” says Jim Whittle, Assistant General of the Counsel and Chief Claims Counsel of the American Insurance Association. “You have to shop around for coverage. There is insurance you can buy for stored items and you want to ask for that. The amount of coverage depends on the individual and how much you want to pay and what you have in your storage unit. There may also be coverage that the storage facility has, so you’ll want to explore that. Some facilities might offer that as an extra charge.”
If you’re young and have few possessions, you may not need an expensive policy, “but you need something,” says Eric Cutler, Director of Personal Lines at Oregon Mutual Insurance in McMinnville, Ore. “As you become an adult and get out on your own, you need to know what’s covered and not covered.”
Storage at parent’s house
What if your stuff is stored in your parents’ driveway in a storage pod? How about if your belongings are at their house? Are they fully insured? To be sure, read the insurance policy that protects the home.
“A lot of carriers cover this, and we do as well,” says Cutler. “We cover personal property, whether it’s in a storage pod in the driveway, in your house or in your backyard. It just can’t be on the street or across the street from your house.”
Check your policy or consult your insurance agent to find out what is covered for your belongings.
The bottom line
Most home insurance policies cover storage units, but not all of them do. If you need to purchase additional coverage, storage insurance can help protect your belongings. Just be sure to itemize and document each of your belongings with receipts and photos, so you can file a claim for reimbursement should they be destroyed from a covered loss.
Whether you have home insurance or specific storage insurance, your overflow items may be protected even if they are not at home with you.