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Things to consider when using a storage unit

By HUB SmartCoverage Team on February 22nd, 2021

Many of us have been there. We’re facing a move or are downsizing and need to store personal items.

Sometimes that storage period can be short-term involving several months and, other times, it could be as long as a year.

Storage units come in all shapes and sizes with varying levels of security. Typically, they are rented out monthly.

If you are temporarily storing your personal items outside of your home, the contents portion of your existing home insurance will typically cover your items at no charge for up to 90 days. That being said, the duration of coverage and contents value may differ depending on your specific home insurance policy conditions and exclusions. Before you store your items, talk to your broker about your policy details for property in storage.

Contents in Storage insurance

Let’s say you must move your belongings into a storage facility because it goes beyond what your home insurance covers. How would you protect your valuables in the case of damage or theft?

While storage facilities are responsible for keeping the building and unit secure, they are generally not responsible for the contents of individual units. If you take a closer look at your storage contract, it will speak to those responsibilities in greater detail.

What does that mean? It means that if a fire breaks out and the contents of your unit are damaged by fire or water, for example, the loss is the responsibility is yours, not the facility. That’s why it’s a good idea to get contents in storage coverage, which typically is very affordable.

There are several insurance providers in Canada that offer specific coverage for contents in storage. These are stand-alone policies that typically offer all-risk replacement cost coverage for personal goods stored in a proper facility with locked units.

Policy terms are usually flexible – from one month to upwards of 12 – with affordable deductibles. Content values range from $5,000 up to $800,000. There are sometimes coverage limits for specific items in storage so be sure to check with your broker.

Normally there are extensions/renewals available with contents, making this type of coverage a great option for storing your valuables during periods of transitions. In addition, should you need to file a claim, this storage policy would not affect your home insurance premium since it’s a separate policy.

What to look for in a storage facility

When it’s time to choose a storage facility there’s several things to keep in mind. It’s always best to consider a reputable place with individually locked units. If possible, read reviews or current or past customers and go and inspect the premises. Other things to look for include:

1.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Security

  • What security measures are in place? For example, is there in-person surveillance and adequate lighting. Is the facility gated?
  • What types of locks are used and what type of alarm system is installed?
  • Is there 24-hour video surveillance?
  • Is there a daily record of who accesses the facility and at what times of day?

2. Location

  • Is the storage unit situated in a safe location, not within a flood zone and away from areas that could be impacted by severe weather?

3. Climate control

  • If you’re storing clothes, furniture, and paper products, you will most likely need a climate-controlled storage unit which protects your items from extreme temperatures, humidity, and other outside conditions. This prevents mildew and mold from thriving inside the unit.

4. Accessibility

  • Do you have 24-hour access around the clock? Are they open on Sundays and holidays?

5. Pricing/Unit sizes

  • Ensure the details of your contract and the prices are clearly laid out

What about storage containers?

In the cases of a renovation or move, you may choose to use a portable storage container. If it is delivered to your house and kept on the property, contents inside of it would be coverage by your home insurance. However, if a company comes and picks up the full container and takes it to a separate location for storage, you will require contents in storage insurance to protect its valuables.

Not all storage facilities are created equal so there’s lots to consider. And not all contents in storage policies are the same. It pays to do your homework. Visit HUB SmartCoverage to learn more about their contents in storage coverage.

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