Is My Stuff In Storage Insured?

self storage insurance
A record-breaking hurricane. A band of thieving local teens. An accidental fire.

We don’t like to think of these things, but they can and do happen. And your local storage facility isn’t immune.

So, how do you keep your items as safe as possible? And how is it insured?

Your Homeowner’s Or Rental Policy

First, the good news: if you have a current homeowner’s or rental insurance policy, your things in storage are likely covered! You don’t have to do anything special, either.

But, the coverage your items in storage have has the same limitations as your current policy. That means, your items are likely covered from:

  • Hurricanes, tornadoes, and lightning
  • Fire and smoke damage
  • Wind and hail
  • Theft and vandalism
  • Snow and ice weight
  • Explosions, falling objects</p>

But, your items likely aren’t covered from:

  • Flooding
  • Vermin, rodents, and animals
  • Poor maintenance
  • Mold and mildew

Second, while most homeowner’s and renter’s policies include what’s called “off-premises coverage,” that coverage is typically only 10% of the personal items coverage for property at your home. So if your policy will pay you up to $10,000 to replace personal items, that amount will be only up to $1,000 for your storage unit.

Before you sign a storage agreement, you may want to read over your policy or give your insurance agent a call, just to be clear on your policy limitations. Your insurance agent may be able to help you to get more coverage, too.

What If I Don’t Have A Policy?

Before you can sign a storage agreement, the storage facility will likely make sure you do have insurance. Generally, that means providing a copy of your current homeowner’s or rental policy.

But what if you don’t have a policy? Your storage facility probably offers their own policies to cover loss or damage to your items. You may even be required to purchase a policy if you cannot provide insurance.

Whether required or not, you should make sure you have insurance for your items in storage.

Other Ways To Keep Safe

Even if you have an insurance policy, hopefully you’ll never have to use it! How can you keep your belongings safe?

  • Know what items are in storage. Complete a clear and detailed inventory of your items going into storage. Take pictures of any high-value items to note serial numbers and condition.
  • Make sure your facility is secure. The best facilities are well-fenced, have 24-hour video surveillance, and require security codes to access units.
  • Check natural disaster protection. What are your facility’s procedures in case of fire? How do they protect against flooding?

Find A Safe Storage Facility Near You!

Take a look on our website to find a safe, secure storage facility near you!


Do I Need Climate-Controlled Storage?

When you’re looking for a storage unit, you may come across terms like “climate-controlled,” “air-conditioned storage,” “or “AC units.

All of these terms refer to storage units that have their temperature and humidity controlled. But do you need this kind of storage or is it an unnecessary frill?

What Is Climate-Controlled Storage?

Traditional storage units provide protection from rainstorms, wind, and direct sunlight, but that’s about it. A unit in the Midwest will endure large temperature swings and a unit in Florida will get incredibly humid.

Climate-controlled units are heated, air-conditioned, and use humidifiers to maintain a consistent temperature and humidity regardless of the conditions outside. It’s not that different to keeping your own home warm and cool.

Different companies have different temperature and humidity guidelines. But in general, units don’t get below 50F or above 85F. Humidity is typically kept to around 50% or 55% You should be able to find a specific answer on a company’s website or by giving them a call.

Who Needs Climate-Controlled Storage?

High temperatures can dry out leather, fade paintings, and damage electronics. Cold temperatures can crack wood. And humidity can destroy electronics and cause the growth of mold and mildew everywhere.

If you’re storing anything with significant financial or sentimental value for longer than a few weeks, you want to look into climate-controlled storage.

This includes:

  • Pricey furniture and electronics
  • Musical instruments
  • Important documents and family heirlooms
  • Art work
  • Antiques

If you’re looking at your things being in storage for an extended period of 3+ months, you can add things like household appliances, clothes, and books to that list. If it’s susceptible to mold or mildew, you shouldn’t leave it long term in a non-climate controlled unit.

How Much Does Climate-Controlled Storage Cost?

There’s typically  a 25-50% premium on climate-controlled storage, though the exact costs can vary from region to region and season to season. If you’re paying $100 for a storage unit, that means a climate-controlled unit of the same size will cost $125-$150.

Climate-controlled storage probably isn’t worth it for you if you’re a college student moving from the dorms into your first apartment. Or if you need storage for a few weeks while you wait to close on a new home.

But if you have valuable items or need storage for over 3 months, the extra cost of climate control is far cheaper than buying replacements. And, of course, sentimental items can never be replaced.

Where Can I Find Climate-Controlled Storage?

Most major self-storage companies have climate-controlled options. Take a look on our website to find climate-controlled storage in your area.

How to Store Christmas Lights

Now that Christmas and the holiday season is over comes the fun part—putting away all those decorations, especially the lights on the tree.

After all, you’ll want to use your decorations and lights again and again, every holiday season, to prevent having to buy new ones each year.

Your best bet is to organize the entire process of putting away all the decorations, Christmas china and other paraphernalia, in an orderly manner, complete with labeled boxes. That way, when you go to your storage unit next year to retrieve then, your job will be much easier.

There’s a right way and wrong way to store Christmas lights. When using a self-storage facility, the following are the rules you should use to ensure that your lights are in a condition next season to look their best.

First off, when you’re finished removing the lights from your tree, don’t just wad them up and throw them into a box. You don’t want the headache next year of trying to unwind lights that are wrapped up in a giant knot. The best way to store Christmas lights is to wrap them around a plastic reel. You can also wrap them around any type of cylinder, like a coffee can, or a large piece of cardboard.


Holiday linens, such as cloth napkins or tablecloths, should be cleaned or washed before storage. You’ll then want to store them in a plastic bag or in a suitcase, in order to prevent mildew stains. You may also want to consider tossing a couple of dryer sheets in there to help them smelling good and to ward off moths (but for heaven’s sake, don’t use mothballs).


Christmas wreaths are actually delicate items. You don’t want them stuffed into a box that may get crushed under the weight of other boxes, because then your wreath will be damaged. Consider rigid plastic bins for wreaths.


The same goes for Christmas trees, at least for the fake plastic trees. Instead of storing them in the box that came with it when your purchased the tree, put the tree in a special bag or a large box. That will help the tree keep its shape and not have bent limbs.

Ornaments can be especially delicate. Look for plastic bins that have special small compartments that are designed specifically to hold ornaments. Also consider wrapping those ornaments in bubble wrap before placing them in the container.

All of this may sound like a lot of work. But think about how much work you’ll face next holiday season going through your mess if you hadn’t taken all of these steps. You’ll be glad you went to the extra trouble.

Last Week in Self Storage

New Units Popping Up Everywhere
Want to know just how white-hot the self-storage market is? Look at all the new facilities going up across the country.
A total of 900 new self-storage centers are projected to be completed in 2017—that’s a 50% increase from the number of new units that opened last year, according to commercial real estate firm CBRE.
The top market for new facilities is Dallas, where 49 centers will be opened this year. Other top markets include Miami, New York, Houston and Atlanta.
There’s no need to worry about supply exceeding demand, according to commercial real estate experts.
“While some investors are concerned about the level of new construction, overall supply and demand metrics remain roughly in line,” said Christian Sonne, a valuation expert at CBRE.
What this all means for you is simple—if your abode is not currently located conveniently near a self-storage facility, chances are that’s likely to change soon.

Lock ‘Em Up
Locks for your storage cubicle come in all shapes and sizes. So, what’s the best one to use for your own storage unit? After all, you want to sleep at night knowing your stuff is safe and sound.
Most storage industry experts recommend the disc lock as the top choice. What makes them so great? It’s not possible to cut through it with bolt cutters, for starters. That’s because of the “U” shaped part of the lock.
Next, it’s resistant to being smashed with a hammer. A mighty hammer blow is not going to break this type of lock.
The lock itself is also very difficult to pick, due to that “U” shape.
The only way to get a disc lock off is by grinding down the bolt. And that takes special equipment, as well as a lot of time. In other words, not something your average thief is going to be willing to do.
Grab a couple of disc locks when you go to load stuff into your new self-storage unit!

Going Green
Some new storage facilities are getting with the times when it comes to adopting modern design and environmental features.
A new facility planned for Bethesda, Md., has a sleek modern architectural design—you will probably look twice before you realize it’s a storage facility. It will also have a green roof and planter boxes.
Who says self-storage centers have to be basic and boring?

Santa Needs Self Storage!

Santa’s Workshop at the North Pole has plenty of room for his elves to make all toys for all 1.9 billion children who live in the world.

But storage space? Eh, North Pole leaves a little to be desired when it comes to storage.


Once the elves construct all of these toys, Santa doesn’t have much space to keep them. He needs a practical place to store all of these days between the time they’re made and the time he departs on his sleigh the night of Christmas Eve.


A simple calculation shows how much space Santa will need to lease at the self-storage facility located nearest to the North Pole. (Santa might need to consult the Yellow Pages for Greenland to locate the best facility.)

Assuming each toy is the size of a shoebox, and there are 1.9 billion children on Earth, then Santa needs about 608 million cubic feet of storage space. How’d we get to that calculation? At most self-storage facilities, the largest unit for rent measures 10 feet by 20 feet, equal to a total of 1,600 cubic feet. Each shoebox measures about 0.32 cubic feet. So, each 10×20 unit can hold 5,000 shoeboxes.

To put a fine point on it, Santa needs to get out his checkbook and pay for about 380,000 storage units.

(Santa may need to locate more than a few dozen storage facilities in the Yellow Pages.


If the children of the world have their eyes set on larger Christmas toys this year, Santa will really need to lease a bunch of space. If the average size of each toy is the size of, let’s say, a Jet Ski, then he’ll need to rent out 238 million storage units.


For Santa’s sake, let’s hope that the hot toys on kids’ Christmas lists are a bit smaller. Perhaps the Apple iPhone X? If each child gets an iPhone X, then Santa only needs to rent about 12,000 storage units.

Now that’s a happy Santa!

Last Week in Self Storage

Strip Mall Becomes Storage Facility
What’s the best use of a vacant, outdated strip mall? Turn it into a self-storage facility, of course.
U-Haul has plans to do just that to a former strip mall in Baraboo, Wis. The facility has a temporary showroom while a permanent one is constructed, but otherwise it’s open for business. It’s also got moving and packing supplies for sale, and trucks for rent.
The strip mall once hosted a JCPenney store but it’s been vacant for about eight years.
“This is a beautiful community and it doesn’t deserve to have empty buildings sitting around and becoming outdated,” said Adam Sonnleitner, president of U-Haul’s local market.
U-Haul also has a planned conversion of a former retail property underway in Spokane, Wash.

Fire Victims Benefit Program
Speaking of U-Haul, the storage and truck-rental giant has launched a program to offer free space in its self-storage facilities to victims of a recent fire in Upstate New York.
A fire that blazed through Cohoes, N.Y., damaged or destroyed about 20 buildings.
“We extend our thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families,” said Ben Naaktgeboren, president of U-Haul’s local market. “This was the worst fire the city has seen and, being so close to the holidays, we want to support our community in any way possible.”

Whatever Happened to…?
If you ever wondered whatever happened to some of the original cast members of the show “Storage Wars,” you can wonder no more.
Barry Weiss, known for his sunglasses and quick wit, is being a “professional slacker” after trying his hand at a “Storage Wars” spin-off show. Dave Hester has moved into the storage auctioneering business. Darrell Sheets continues to plunder storage auctions. And Jarrod Schulz and Brandi Passante remain cast members.
The new season of “Storage Wars” started in November.

Who’s my self storage neighbor?

Admit it, you’ve wondered to yourself while unloading a pickup truck full of boxes at your self-storage unit, who are these people who rent units next to mine?

We’re glad you asked. As it turns out, people who use self-storage units come from all walks of life, claim membership in all generational groups (well, maybe not toddlers or pre-teens), and all income levels.


In other words, self-storage isn’t just for rich people with more stuff than they know what to do with, nor are they for only for folks who live in a home with limited closet space.

A recent survey shone a spotlight on the demographics of self-storage customers. The survey was conducted by Parham Group, a firm that provides construction services to the self-storage industry.

First off, the vast majority of the people who sign the dotted line on a self-storage rental agreement are women— about 84%, to be exact. But don’t think the men aren’t involved; nearly 95% of the folks who load and unload goods into a storage unit are of the male species.


The self-storage customer skews to the younger side. Almost 90% of the industry’s customer base are in the age range between 21 and 55—in other words, very few AARP members. And lots of millennials. And Generation X’ers. And newly minted college graduates. You get the picture.

While there are lots of wealthy families who rely on the self-storage industry, the client base as a whole tends to skew to the middle class. About 78% of self-storage customers report incomes that are classified as either lower middle income or upper middle income.

Don’t think your fellow storage users are all individuals or families, either. A healthy quarter of all self-storage unit renters are businesses. That’s right, your local burger joint or barber or plumber may be renting the storage unit just across the way from your own unit. Ask them for a discount on your next cheeseburger!


You may also be under the impression that all self-storage unit users are people who rent their primary residence. Well, you couldn’t be more wrong. While it may seem like renters are more transient or might have less closet space in their homes, the breakdown is almost 50-50 when it comes to self-storage unit customers in the largest markets—that’s half and half among homeowners and renters who use self-storage.

So there you have it. The next time you find yourself lifting a 300-pound cathode-ray tube TV out of your minivan and into a storage unit and you wonder who’s doing the same thing a few units down from you, it should no longer be a mystery who your self-storage neighbors are.

Last Week in Self Storage

New Web Address for Storage Sites
You’ve heard of .com, .net, .edu, .org, and .us, of course. You’ve probably even heard of .ca (that’s for Canadian sites) and even somewhat-obscure Internet addresses using .tv, .info and so on and so forth.
Now get ready for “.storage” as an Internet address.
The Las Vegas company LLC has registered .storage as what’s called a “top-level domain suffix.” with the folks who manage URLs. acquired the rights to the suffix from Extra Space Storage.
About 700 entities have already paid for the rights to use .storage and the company expects plenty more to follow suit, said Shayam Rostam, a director at
“We envision a lot being sold,” Rostam said. “This [.storage] is a valuable asset.”
That’s especially true as more and more URLs are being gobbled up that use the familiar .com and .net suffixes. It’s either too hard to come up with an inventive name using .com or .net, or too expensive to buy the rights to a name you like that already exists.

Casting Call
Think you’ve got what it takes to make a video commercial? Get your actors and cameras ready.
The company that owns the SmartStop self-storage chain has launched a contest for anyone to make a 30-commercial using the SmartStop logo and tagline. The commercial can use animation, jingles, stop-motion or live action.
“We are excited to launch our new video contest and open the door to boundless creativity from artists and free-thinkers throughout the United States,” SmartStop CEO Michael Schwartz said.
The winner gets a $10,000 grand prize.

South Beach or Bust
Good news for folks in the Miami area who need a place to store their stuff. A huge new storage facility is on its way.
A $20 million climate-controlled, eight-story facility, with about 100,000 square feet, will soon be under construction in the Little Havana neighborhood, between the Dolphin Expressway and Tamiami Trail. About 120,000 people live in this area, so there are plenty of people who will need to buy a storage unit there.
The project does not yet have a name, nor has the operator of the facility been identified.

What Can You Hide in a Self-Storage Unit?

Things You Can Hide in a Self-Storage Unit
What can hide in a self-storage unit, you ask? It’s a great question because the answer is: Lots of things!

The most obvious scenario for needing a big place to hide stuff is Christmas-time when you have little kids. Say you’ve got a giant dollhouse that you don’t want your 6-year-old girl to see. The perfect place to stash that princess castle is a self-storage unit!


Self storage isn’t just for huge toys either. Let’s say you’ve bought your 9-year-old son a drone for Christmas. Your self-storage unit is the perfect place to keep it a secret.


Even smaller items can be tucked away in a self-storage unit. Consider the situation where you’ve bought your fiancée a diamond engagement ring. And throw on to that the fact the she likes to poke around your place for things you may have hidden. She’ll never think to go over to your storage unit, and if you don’t give her a key to the storage unit, she couldn’t get in anyway. Now you can really surprise her at Christmas!


Even when it’s not Christmas, you can use your storage unit to hide all sorts of stuff. Birthday presents? Your storage unit is perfect for keeping a great gift under wraps.

Sensitive financial documents that don’t need to fall into the wrong hands? Why who would ever think to look in a storage unit for something like that. And, again, you’ve got it locked up anyhow, so no one is going to find your papers.


The mind runs wild at all the things that can be hidden in a storage unit. Just keep it legal!

Last Week in Self Storage

ONLINE AUCTIONS – The best-known auctions for property left abandoned at self-storage facilities take place in person, on site, with a real-live auctioneer.
Some of those auctions have started moving online, however, and more than a few people are concerned that the auctions might not be on the up-and-up.
The same potential problems that occur with online auctions can also occur with live auctions, says Lonnie Bickford, who owns a storage facility in Louisiana. Buyers, as well as facility owners trying to sell items, simply need to take the same precautions with an online auction as they would in person.
Bickford offers some tips: Pay attention to the invoice that you receive from the auction website to make sure you receive the correct contents, and not those from a different unit. Cross-reference photos to make certain the site has assigned the correct goods to the appropriate buyer or seller.
As long as you do these things, an online auction can work just as well as an in-person auction, Bickford says.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME – Sometimes people fall on hard times and can’t make their monthly rent payment. When that happens, you run the danger of being evicted from your home.
Many people faced this situation move into their self-storage unit as a temporary fix until permanent shelter can be found. Unfortunately, there are some jurisdictions that don’t look favorably on those arrangements.
When a Missouri storage facility owned has found self-storage squatters, he’s been referring them to a local homeless shelter or social-service agency.
GOING UP? – What’s the latest trend in the design of self-storage facilities? Build vertical, of course.
In East Tennessee, several new self-storage facilities are under construction that look more like office towers than the sprawling storage facilities of yore. A facility that’s three stories tall isn’t uncommon.
“By going vertical, developers are able to pay more for high-profile sites that have strong visibility, a key factor for success,” real estate broker Josh Flory wrote for USA Today Network.