If you are storing your valuables in a self-storage unit for a specific amount of time, it’s common to take out an insurance policy to protect them.
A lot of self-storage companies offer their own form of insurance as an add-on, but a recent investigation by The Telegraph has found that customers who buy insurance from the storage company pay an average of three times more than they would pay if they shopped around.
Self-storage companies are relying on customers being too focused on the ‘big purchase’ of a storage plan, that they don’t check the small print and just agree to add-on the storage contents insurance policy without really thinking about it.
As with all forms of insurance, this is a big no-no and almost always leaves you paying more.
To make sure you don’t get ripped off when arranging cover for your stored items, we’ve put together the below guide about saving money on storage contents insurance.
What is storage insurance?
The UK is fast-becoming a self-storage nation. According to the UK trading body the Self Storage Association (SSA), there are now over 1,430 self-storage sites in the country offering approximately 42.2 million sq ft of self-storage space.
The demand for storage space among consumers and business has grown for a number of reasons, from moving home or downsizing to storing office equipment. Increased public awareness, thanks to highly visible storage centres in prominent parts of UK cities, has also helped contribute to the growth.
If you are storing valuables such as furniture, computers, TVs, exercise equipment, musical instruments etc. it is advisable to take out insurance to protect against damage and theft. Self-storage insurance is a dedicated insurance policy that is similar to a home contents insurance policy, as it protects the contents of your self-storage unit up to the limit you insure them for.
What does storage insurance cover?
In terms of the belongings you can protect with storage insurance, these include:
- Computer and electronic office equipment
- Deeds, registered bonds, and other personal documents
- Household furnishings, furniture, carpets, curtains, and home appliances, including gas and electric cookers and telephone equipment
- Machinery, stock, tools, and plant
- Pedal cycles
- Personal possessions
- Stamp collections and coin collections, with proof of ownership and providence
Different insurance companies will have different limits i.e. only valuables worth up to £1,000 will be covered, so be sure to check the policy wording thoroughly.
As well as protecting you in case your possessions are stolen while in a self-storage unit, storage insurance also typically covers for the following damage:
- Fire, lightning, explosion or earthquake damage
- Smoke damage
- Riot, civil commotion, labour disputes or political disturbance damage
- Storm or flood damage
- Vandalism damage
- Collision damage
- Accidental water spillage damage
- Sprinkler damage
- Insect or vermin damage (usually from a source outside of the Storage Unit)
- Subsidence damage
Some policies also offer cover for any losses sustained while travelling to and from a storage site e.g. goods in transit insurance
What’s not covered?
As with all forms of insurance, there are certain limitations to storage insurance which you need to be aware of.
Although all insurance companies may have different rules and exceptions, there tend to be some common policy exceptions associated with storage insurance:
- Storage unit insurance doesn’t cover any form of currency e.g. cash, coins, credit/debit cards, vouchers, lottery tickets etc
- Storage unit insurance doesn’t provide cover for any dangerous or flammable contents
Again, it’s worth reiterating that all insurance providers are likely to have slightly different rules regarding what is not covered so make sure you check the policy wording.
It’s also worth checking that the storage unit you have chosen is suitable and conforms to the rules laid out by your insurance company. While most self-storage sites will be fine, some of the smaller, independent ones may not be covered by your insurer. Many insurers insist on the following:
- The storage site should be purpose built
- The storage company are solely involved in the business of storing goods, rather than offering storage facilities on top of other businesses such as haulage, logistics or farming
- The site has CCTV in operation 24 hours a day and working fire alarms
- The storage site has controlled access to storage areas, and staff are present at all time during opening hours
How to get cheap self-storage insurance
Nearly all of the major storage companies offer their own form of storage insurance, and many make it compulsory to have insurance in place before the storage unit can be rented.
When you’re rushing through the paperwork and arranging a storage unit, it’s easy to just tick the box and set up the storage company’s own insurance policy – but be warned you will be paying significantly more per week for that one moment of slight convenience.
With some ‘add-on’ insurance policies costing over £20 per month, you could be losing a lot of money if you are planning on storing your possessions for a long period of time.
You can make considerable savings by shopping around and arranging your own insurance cover, with some prices quoted as little as £0.69p per week.
Below we have identified some of the top storage insurance providers:
|Store Insure||Underwritten by Lloyds, Store Insure offer quick and easy cover for your stored possessions.|
|Surewise||On average, a storage policy from Surewise works out at three times cheaper than a policy from your storage provider|
|insurastore||Underwritten by RSA, policies cost just £0.69p per week for every £1,000 of cover required|