Self storage is a place to store belongings securely when you have no room at your home or office, or just need a little more space.
So, having done your research, chosen your preferred storage provider, visited the facility to sort out the paperwork and put your belongings into your unit, the storage provider then advises you of the need to take out some form of insurance.
We hope the following will help to answer many of the questions you may have.
1. Does my storage provider's insurance cover my belongings?
In simple terms, no. There are certain times their insurance will cover the belongings in a customer's unit such as negligence from the storage provider but in most cases, your belongings are not covered by the storage provider’s insurance and it is your responsibility as the customer to ensure your belongings are covered. If you think about it, the storage provider doesn’t know exactly what is in the unit and therefore is unable to insure the belongings as they don’t know the replacement value of the goods. You can also move your goods in and out of storage at any time so the value of insurance you need may change.
2. Do I legally need to take out insurance? The goods are not worth much and not worth insuring.
There is no legal requirement to take out insurance if it is stated on your contract when you take out your storage unit that you have declined to insure your belongings. However, the SSA UK advises members to insist the customer insures their belongings and the storage provider has the right to refuse your business if you don’t insure your items.
If the goods are worth storing, they are worth insuring. While storage facilities are safe and secure, incidents can happen anywhere which is why we advise all customers to be insured.
3. Okay, so I need to have insurance. Do I need to take out the storage providers offer of insurance?
As a customer, you cannot be forced to take out the insurance policy the storage provider is offering you. However, they can insist that the insurance you do have is adequate and matches or betters the cover their insurance offers. For example, most storage facilities will offer insurance that covers the replacement value of the goods rather than the actual value of the goods. For example, if you store a sofa, your insurance cover would have to cover the cost to replace the sofa rather than what you would be able to sell it for. This means an insurance quote you obtain from an internet provider may be rejected by the storage provider for inadequate cover.
4. So, where do I get insurance?
Firstly, if the storage provider offers you insurance this is probably a good, convenient and competitive insurance policy that not only offers you protection but saves time researching other policies. However, not all storage providers offer insurance so listed below are options to consider:
- Home insurance
You may be able to extend your home insurance to cover belongings kept in another location. You will need to contact your home insurance provider to see if this is possible and ensure you have the address to hand of where the belongings will be stored as this will be needed to add onto your policy. There is usually only a small fee for this. However, it does vary between different providers. Also, check if there is a maximum period of time the insurance will cover your goods for in storage and the maximum value. Sometimes, the full value of your contents insurance will not be extended to your self storage unit.
- Online insurance provider
There are several companies online who offer insurance cover for self storage. The SSA UK are not affiliated with any companies so we are unable to advise on any specifically. As above, look closely and understand the policy the storage provider is offering you so you can find one with similar or better cover.
5. If I take out the storage providers insurance cover, will they deal with any claims?
The storage provider will use an insurance broker to provide the insurance and the insurance broker will deal with any claims. When you take out insurance you should be provided with information on the claims procedure.
6. How do I calculate the amount of insurance I need?
To work out the level of insurance cover, you first need to consider what you will be storing in your unit. Be aware this may change over time and this is another reason to take insurance with your storage provider so you can change your level of insurance easily when you add or take large items out of your unit. Once you have decided what it is you are going to store, you need to calculate what it would cost to replace all those items - not what they are worth, but the cost to replace them.
7. Can I just take out the minimum amount of insurance required?
While we hope you never have to claim, the purpose of insurance is to protect your belongings and yourself in the case of an incident. If you under insure, you will not receive the full replacement value of your belongings should you need to claim. You may not even receive the full amount of your insurance cover if it is found you have under-insured. For example, if a small number of your belongings in the unit get damaged and you claim on your insurance for the full amount as this is what it would cost you to replace those few items, the insurance company can reject the claim and only give back a proportion due to the under-insurance of your belongings.