Self-storage is a growing market. With both business and personal applications, the need for temporary additional storage can come about for many reasons, from an extended holiday that means putting your things away for six-months, to a space for your company’s additional stock that isn’t needed on a day-to-day basis.
But if something happens to those precious things while they’re in storage, have you got insurance that’ll pay out if something goes wrong?
You have insurance for your items in their usual place at home or in the workplace, but making the assumption that your standard cover extends as far as making sure they are all protected while stored away in a remote storage facility is a huge mistake. The chances are high that your home contents insurance (or business contents insurance) is exempt from caring about anything no longer in the home (or business).
Even items which are covered for being out of the house (mobile phones, laptops, bicycles, etc.) are often no longer insured if their day-to-day storage is elsewhere. It is expected that these belongings are returned to the home regularly as part of their usage and do not spend the majority of their time in external storage.
Storage facilities are typically clean, well-looked after places, well situated and insulated from most issues, but that doesn’t mean that nothing bad can happen. It’s also not always possible to use a dedicated storage unit, and often things are stored in attics, garages, old offices and other places not really designed with long-term storage in mind.
The things typically covered with specialist storage insurance include:
Theft, or attempted theft – at the top of the list, it is important that you know your possessions are protected from a burglary or damage caused during an attempted robbery.
Vandalism – malicious acts do sadly occur. Make sure your objects are covered in case of vandalism.
Vermin, moths and insects – vandalism doesn’t have to be exclusive to humans! Many small creatures are looking for material to form a new home and you don’t want it to be your prized possessions!
Fire – fire (including lightning and explosions) can devastate your items in storage.
Flood – water damage from natural events such as a flood, storm or even earthquake, is covered with storage insurance.
Smoke – while fire might be dealt with and prevented, often the nature of smoke damage is that it affects areas that seemed to escape the damage. Make sure your items are protected from insidious smoke damage.
Water or oil leakage – Finding your possessions damaged due to a liquid leak that was never known about or reported can be heart-breaking.
Subsidence, collapse or partial collapse of the premises – Having the storage facility fall down around your belongings is rare, but if it happens, you’ll be pleased you had insurance!
Like almost all insurance, storage insurance in the UK is an optional financial package to secure you from a possible future problem. At Compare UK Quotes, we like to help by letting you know what options are available to you, but only you can make the decision as to whether you need to spend the extra expense for protecting your belongings.
It is also true that dedicated storage facilities have very high standards and many of the problems covered in your storage insurance would never happen in such care. However, with that in mind, many dedicated business and household storage units insist on insurance as part of their terms and conditions – forming part of the model by which they guarantee such good care of your items.
Ultimately, if the items you are putting away have considerable value, either financially or emotionally, then it is worth insuring them. Like all insurance, the money cannot necessarily undo the damage that might be done, and replacement items (especially if they are sentimental) might not be replaceable, but lowering the risk goes a long way.
Both home and business storage insurance can be taken out no matter where your items are stored. Different policies will, of course, insist on different levels of security and you will have to pay higher premiums for insuring your possessions in a remote garage, for example, over the costs of insurance for a storage unit.
Only a completely unsecure and potentially damaging environment is likely to be complexly refused by the self-storage insurance companies.
Most storage insurance providers will cover your possessions if they are in one of the following locations:
A metal container (either internally or externally located)
Secure rooms with external access
Individually secure and lockable internal rooms
Warehouse crates or other bespoke wooden containers
Hard-to-access internal storage (sometimes called ‘deep storage’)
Costs of insurance vary significantly depending on the contents of your storage and the length of your storage unit insurance policy. Negotiation can help a lot and just like with other forms of insurance, such as car insurance or home contents insurance, it can pay to shop around and not simply take the first quote you are offered.
A storage insurance costs, whether in dedicated household storage containers, or in a less-bespoke facility, are similar to those for home contents insurance and can be thought of in many of the same ways. Understandably, the more secure your chosen location, the cheaper your annual premium will be.
Talk to your home or business contents insurer to see if they have a storage insurance plan. Like with many forms of insurance, by combining multiple plans you can save a lot through multi-plan discounts, so it is always worth talking to your main insurer before seeking out an alternative. If your standard insurer cannot help, then speak to your storage facility and see what insurer they recommend. Many storage facilities have a dedicated insurer who can offer you a good premium price.
Remember to shop around, though, and get multiple quotes before settling on your choice. The difference could save you hundreds of pounds.
For more help with looking after your household and business belongings, take a look at our related articles!