On Your Side: Self-storage insurance


    Self-storage units are becoming more popular. (WGME)

    PORTLAND (WGME) – If one of your new year's resolutions involves getting organized and de-cluttering, perhaps that involves getting a self-storage unit.

    But what if it's damaged or your stuff is stolen?

    Self-storage units are becoming more popular.

    In fact, the Self-Storage Association says about 10 percent of households use one of them.

    But it's up to you to find out if your stuff inside is covered by insurance.

    “Call your agent and find out if you have off-premises coverage,” Michael Barry of the Insurance Information Institute said.

    Many homeowners’ and renters’ policies do provide coverage for items stored away from your home.

    If the policy covers off-premises, that coverage typically includes:

    • Items lost to theft
    • Damage from fires
    • Tornadoes and other perils listed on the policy

    It likely won't cover:

    • Flooding
    • Earthquakes
    • Mold and mildew
    • Vermin or poor maintenance

    Even if you have coverage, the payback could be limited.

    "For instance, if you have $100,000 personal property coverage on your home, it may be that $10,000 is the limit when it comes to storing materials at a storage facility," Barry said.

    Experts say don't count on the storage facility's own insurance company to cover you if their units are damaged by fire or another catastrophe.

    That insurance only covers the loss to its property.

    However, the storage facility can sell you supplemental insurance.

    A lot of these self-storage facilities will offer you insurance coverage and that's something to look into.

    There are limits on that coverage, too.

    So, if you're keeping valuable items in a storage unit, look into what insurance agents call a floater or rider.

    If we're talking about something like jewelry or furs, cover that separately from a homeowner's insurance policy

    Insurance agents say the start of a new year is a good time to update your policies, because the replacement cost of many things is going up.

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