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Content Insurance - Do Storage Companies Provide Enough?

Feb 1, 2008
We all know people who have moving horror stories. Even if a move goes perfectly, it's bound to be stressful and exhausting. When you're dealing with large-scale moves, big rental trucks and self storage, the stress compounds even further.

Self-storage facilities generally don't have that great of a reputation, whether they deserve it or not. Generally, you get what you pay for. If you use the cheapest storage unit you can find, in the seediest part of town, with the scummiest employees imaginable, you might be putting your precious snow globe collection at risk. On the other hand, you might shell out a small fortune for the best climate controlled, 24-hour attended storage unit you can find, and have an accident or theft still occur. Nothing is failure-proof.

If you are storing things like expensive furniture, collections, your best china, imported rugs or anything else that has a lot of value, you might consider purchasing self-storage insurance. Some self-storage units do offer some type of insurance. Before you go out and spend money on an insurance policy, you should be sure you're not buying coverage you already have.

However, the vast majority of self-storage units have very strict disclaimers that keep them immune from any theft, loss or damage to your property. When you are dealing with a self-storage company, be sure to read the entirety of every single document you sign. You want to be fully aware of the policies that may affect your possessions.

If you don't feel like your possessions are adequately protected from a disaster or unfortunate event by the self-storage contract, self-storage insurance is a good idea.

Generally, self-storage covers damages or lost property that happens due to burglary, lightning, windstorm, hail, fire, smoke, earthquake, building collapse, explosion, vandalism, riot and water damage.

When you are purchasing your self-storage insurance policy, you will want to read it very carefully. Many insurance policies don't cover losses due to floods, especially after the massive loss the industry took after the hurricane Katrina disaster.

If you are concerned about flood or tidal wave coverage and your self-storage policy doesn't provide it, you can contact the U.S. Government and the National Food Program, which does offer flood insurance. If you are storing your things in a sensitive coastal area, this might be a very good idea.

As you navigate the insurance system and choose an appropriate self-storage insurance policy, you will also want to be very aware of what types of possessions are not covered.

For example, one very popular self-storage insurance policy that many friends of mine have used excludes deeds, bills, currency, evidence of debt, securities, money, notes, jewelry, watches, precious stones, furs, boats, vehicles and some business inventory from coverage. That's a lot of valuable stuff!

If you are storing things such as the items I just mentioned, I recommend not putting them in a storage unit. Luckily, things like the family heirloom jewelry and deeds, bonds and securities are small enough to put in a bank safe deposit box.

Hopefully after reading this, you feel better informed about self-storage insurance. Remember, read anything before you sign it!
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