Can Your Homeowners Or Renters Insurance Policy Cover Your Self-Stored Property?
A homeowners or renters insurance policy can do more than protect your home; it can also protect any personal property you have stored in your self-storage unit. If you have an existing homeowners or renters insurance policy, you can use that instead of relying on third-party coverage.
How Can It Cover Your Items in Storage?
Most homeowners and renters insurance policies have provisions for "off-premises" coverage, which protects your personal property in case it's lost, stolen, or damaged during business trips, vacations, or even while moving from one home to another. This unique coverage also applies to personal property that's being stored at a self-storage facility.
Using your own homeowners or renters insurance to cover self-stored property eliminates the need for a separate insurance policy from a third-party provider. Since you won't have to pay for separate coverage, you'll thus lower your monthly self-storage costs. All you'll need to validate your coverage with the self-storage facility is a proof-of-coverage letter from your homeowners or renters insurance provider.
What Are the Limits?
Off-premises coverage works a bit differently from your ordinary insurance coverage. Whereas the belongings in your home are usually covered up to 70 percent of your policy's coverage limit, private property that's in storage is usually only covered at up to 10 percent of that limit. So if you have a coverage limit of $200,000, any items you're storing off-site will be covered up to $20,000.
Ten percent of your policy's coverage limit seems generous, but expensive and particularly valuable items can easily exceed that limit, meaning you won't be properly compensated for your losses or damages when the time comes. Fortunately, you can always increase your coverage limits or supplement your homeowners or renters insurance with a personal umbrella policy.
Don't forget that the self-storage facility itself may have limits on the value of the items that you can store there. If a particular item (such as expensive jewelry or priceless artwork) exceeds your self-storage facility's predetermined limit, you may be asked to store it elsewhere.
What's Excluded from the Coverage?
As with any other type of insurance, there are limits to what you can cover and how you're covered when using your homeowners or renters insurance. For instance, the same exclusions that apply to your home or apartment may also apply to your storage unit. These exclusions may include damage caused by floods, earthquakes, rodents, and improper maintenance.
Most policies also exclude damage caused by mold and mildew. Mold remediation can be a time-consuming and expensive task that can easily be avoided with a few simple preventative steps, which explains why your homeowners or renters insurance policy might not cover this type of damage. For items that are particularly sensitive to mold, mildew, and moisture, you may want to consider storing these items inside of a climate-controlled self-storage unit.
Also remember that the off-premises coverage including your homeowners or renters insurance policy will not extend to motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, or automobiles being stored at a storage facility. Fortunately, this is where your auto insurance policy comes into play. As long as you have comprehensive and collision coverage on your vehicle, it will be protected under your current auto insurance policy, in most circumstances. Some providers may even offer specialized coverage that specifically protects your vehicle as long as it's locked inside of a self-storage unit or parked in a secure area.
Avoid Surprises by Reading the Fine Print
Before moving your stuff into your new storage unit, it's a good idea to read the fine print on the rental agreement, as well as on your homeowners or renters insurance policy. By doing so, you'll be able to avoid the many pitfalls that could potentially invalidate your coverage.