belongings in a bubble inside a storage unit

Your Complete Guide to Storage Unit Insurance Coverage: Protect Your Belongings with Confidence

Lockaway Storage | May 22, 2024 @ 12:00 AM

Do you need storage unit insurance coverage? This guide explains the insurance’s purposes, typical exclusions, and the relationship with your current insurance policies, equipping you to make an informed decision about protecting your valuables in storage.

Key Takeaways

  • Storage unit insurance, while not mandatory, is often required by storage companies and covers losses from specific perils like theft and natural disasters, but policies can vary and have exclusions such as pest damage and wear and tear.
  • Homeowners or renters insurance might provide off-premises property coverage, potentially covering stored items with certain limits and conditions, but may not cover high-value items, necessitating additional or standalone storage insurance.
  • When existing policies are insufficient, standalone storage unit insurance offers broader coverage for valuables, with benefits like acting as primary insurance, not affecting other premiums, and customized options from reputable providers.

Understanding Storage Unit Insurance

Imagine a safety net that catches your precious items if disaster strikes your storage unit. Storage unit insurance serves precisely this purpose, safeguarding your personal property within the confines of a self storage facility. While not legally mandatory, storage companies typically require this financial shield, and it’s readily available for purchase from various sources, including directly at the facility, affiliated insurers, or independent companies.

Serving as primary insurance before your homeowners insurance policy or renters policy kicks in, it operates on a reimbursement basis, calculated on the unit’s square footage if covered losses or damages occur.

The Basics of Coverage

On the frontline of defense, storage unit insurance covers damages from a host of specified perils. These range from the more common threats like:

  • theft
  • fire
  • natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes
  • hail
  • lightning
  • smoke
  • certain types of water damage

However, it’s paramount to check your policy for what’s covered and the associated coverage limits, as these can vary significantly and affect how much coverage you actually have in the event of a loss.

Policy Exclusions to Know

But, as with any protective measure, there are chinks in the armor you need to be aware of. Common policy exclusions in the realm of storage unit insurance include damages caused by pests, natural wear and tear, and sometimes even water or smoke damage – events that are not typically covered. Issues like belongings damaged by rodents or the slow degradation of items over time are scenarios often left out of the standard policy narrative.

It’s crucial to be cognizant of these exclusions as they could significantly impact your financial recovery in the aftermath of such damages.

Evaluating Your Homeowners or Renters Insurance

Illustration of a homeowner reviewing insurance policy documents

Before leaping to buy storage unit insurance, it’s wise to first glance at your existing homeowners or renters insurance policy. These policies may already extend to your personal property stored off-premises, albeit with different conditions and usually lower limits. However, this off-premises coverage often comes with a cap, such as 10% of your dwelling coverage or a fixed amount like $5,000, which may not suffice for all your stored valuables.

Certain policies may cover events like fires and tornadoes, but it’s essential to verify the specifics to ensure they apply to items in storage units. Review your policy or consult with your agent to understand the extent of off-premises coverage and the claims procedure for items in storage.

When Your Existing Policy Suffices

There are instances when your current homeowners or renters policy might just be enough. If you’re planning short-term storage or the items are of lesser value, the off-premises personal property coverage, often capped at 10% of your overall personal property limit, could serve adequately. This eliminates the need for an additional storage unit coverage.

It is, however, still important to review your insurance details or talk to your agent to ensure you understand what your policy covers for items in a storage unit.

Gaps in Your Home Insurance Coverage

That said, don’t overlook the potential gaps in your home insurance coverage. Often, off-premises coverage is capped, which might be insufficient for high-value items stashed away in your storage unit. It’s a delicate balance to strike – weighing the sub limits of your current policy against the risks lurking in storage units.

Premiums for storage insurance might be higher if the policy covers scenarios not typically included in homeowners or renters policies, such as mold and fungus damage. You might need to bolster your existing policy’s limits or add scheduled personal property riders for high-value items, or even consider insurance from the storage facility itself.

Deciding to Buy Standalone Storage Insurance

Illustration of a person comparing standalone storage insurance options

When the coverage from your homeowners or renters insurance just doesn’t cut it, self storage insurance, also known as standalone storage unit insurance, becomes a vital ally. This is especially true if you don’t have any existing property insurance or if you’re storing items of significant value. Storage unit insurance coverage offers a security blanket against threats like theft, vandalism, and various weather conditions, and it can even come with coverage options that mitigate the damage from pesky vermin or water damage – perks not typically found in standard policies.

A standout advantage is that claiming on a standalone policy won’t affect your other premiums or claims records. Plus, it usually acts as the primary insurance, meaning any claims are directed to it first, easing the burden of managing multiple policies.

Assessing the Value of Stored Items

Before you dive into the insurance pool, take a moment to accurately assess the value of your stored items. If your possessions include high-value items, getting them appraised can determine their current market worth. Keeping an up-to-date inventory, especially for fluctuating assets like business inventory, is crucial for accurate value assessment.

Detailed records complete with receipts, certificates, and appraisals are invaluable when it comes to substantiating the value of collectibles during insurance claims.

Comparing Costs and Benefits

The decision to buy standalone storage insurance boils down to a cost-benefit analysis. Does the value of your stored belongings justify the expense? Ensuring financial protection against potential risks is paramount, but so is avoiding the pitfall of underinsurance, especially for both valuable and everyday items.

How to Purchase the Right Storage Unit Insurance

Illustration of a person customizing storage unit insurance coverage

When the time comes to fortify your stored treasures with insurance, a strategic approach is key. It begins with reviewing the policy limitations offered by the storage facility to ensure it aligns with the value of your items. Explore all available options and remember, the necessity for insurance may only be disclosed once you start renting.

Today’s online platforms make selecting insurance a breeze, offering customization and instant certificates of insurance.

Selecting a Reputable Insurer

Selecting a reputable insurer is like picking a trustworthy guardian for your valuables. Renowned insurers bring to the table a smorgasbord of flexible coverage options, robust customer support, and policies tailored to unique storage needs. Their reputation impacts the reliability and efficiency with which claims are resolved, a factor not to be underestimated.

Providers like:

  • Yardi
  • Minico
  • Nationwide
  • Ryan Specialty

shine in this arena, with specialized programs that address specific concerns, such as those for disaster-prone areas or additional liability issues.

Customizing Your Coverage

The art of customizing your coverage starts with a detailed inventory of your stored items. Cataloging your possessions, down to serial numbers and photos, especially for valuables, is crucial for both documentation and insurance purposes. Knowing the extent of coverage provided by your current home or renters insurance is essential in identifying gaps that need supplemental insurance.

To ensure all your items are under the protective umbrella, consult with insurance providers about the possibility of supplemental coverage.

Cost Considerations for Storage Insurance

Illustration of a scale weighing the costs and benefits of storage insurance

When it comes to storage unit insurance cost, several factors come into play. The premiums vary with the size of the unit, the value of the property stored, and the chosen deductible, ranging from a mere $8 to $38 per month for $10,000 worth of coverage.

It’s a sliding scale from less than $10 a month for minimal coverage to about $65 for a more substantial safety net.

Estimating Your Coverage Needs

To navigate the cost landscape effectively, estimate your coverage needs by calculating the total value of your stored items. Aim for a policy with a coverage limit that’s at least equal to, if not greater than, this total value to ensure that your insurance can fully back you up in case of a loss.

A meticulous inventory will help you determine if your current storage insurance is up to the task.

Understanding Premium Calculations

The alchemy of premium calculations is influenced by a blend of factors including coverage limits, policy terms, and the deductible you choose.

Opting for a higher deductible generally leads to a lower monthly premium, allowing for some flexibility in managing insurance costs.

Maximizing Security and Minimizing Risks

Even with insurance, prevention is better than a claim. Choosing a storage facility that prioritizes security features such as gated access, surveillance cameras, and ample lighting is the first step in minimizing risks.

Staying proactive by regularly visiting your unit can lead to early detection of any issues, offering additional peace of mind.

Preventive Measures for Storage Safety

To maximize the security of your storage unit, consider the following preventive measures:

  • Install alarms
  • Use heavy-duty locks, when allowed
  • Organize items effectively
  • Employ specialized packing materials for fragile items
  • Maintain privacy by covering windows
  • Build rapport with facility staff

These measures can contribute to a secure storage experience.

Handling Claims and Reporting Issues

Should the unfortunate occur, having thorough documentation of your stored items, including photographs and detailed descriptions, is paramount when filing an insurance claim. Promptly reporting any incidents to your insurer ensures a smooth claims process, allowing you to recover your losses efficiently.

Navigating Additional Coverage Options

While standard storage unit insurance usually covers common perils, it may leave out scenarios like flooding or earthquakes. In areas prone to such events, or when storing particularly susceptible items, exploring additional coverage options is not just prudent, it’s essential.

Specialized Policies for Unique Items

If your storage unit is a trove of collectibles or luxury items, standard policies might not suffice. Specialized policies that cater to high-value items like art, jewelry, or antique collections can offer the level of protection these treasures demand. While such policies might come with a heftier price tag, they reflect the value and risk of the items insured, ensuring that your prized possessions are protected to their full worth.

Considering Umbrella Policies

For the most extensive collections, umbrella policies can be the key to unlocking the highest level of protection. These policies extend liability coverage beyond what’s available through standard policies, safeguarding your high-value items with an additional layer of security.


Navigating the landscape of storage unit insurance can be as intricate as the items you’re looking to protect. From understanding the basics of coverage to considering additional policies for unique treasures, this guide serves as your roadmap to securing the right insurance. Remember, the peace of mind that comes with knowing your belongings are protected is invaluable. So, take the time to assess, compare, and invest in the storage unit insurance that fits your needs. Let confidence in your coverage be the lock and key to your storage unit’s safety.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need storage unit insurance if I already have homeowners insurance?

It's essential to review your homeowners insurance policy or speak with your insurance agent to understand if it covers your storage unit adequately, as it may come with lower limits and conditions for off-premises coverage.

What does storage unit insurance typically cover?

Storage unit insurance typically covers losses or damage from specified perils such as theft, fire, windstorms, and water damage, but coverage limits and inclusions can vary, so it's important to check the specifics of your policy.

Are there any common exclusions I should be aware of in storage unit insurance policies?

Yes, common exclusions in storage unit insurance policies often include damage from pests, natural wear and tear, and sometimes water or smoke damage. Be sure to carefully review your policy's exclusions to understand what is not covered.

How much does storage unit insurance cost?

Storage unit insurance costs can range from as low as $8 to $38 per month for $10,000 of coverage, depending on factors such as unit size, stored property value, and chosen deductible.

Can I customize my storage unit insurance to fit my specific needs?

Yes, you can customize your storage unit insurance by creating a detailed inventory of your stored items and understanding the coverage provided by your current homeowners or renters insurance to tailor the policy to your specific needs.

Lockaway Storage
What unit size is right for you!

Watch our size guide videos to choose the right unit

Size Guide for storage units

Find storage near me

Recommended locations