Can Homeowners Insurance Cover a Storage Unit? What You Should Know About Off-Site Storage

Comedian George Carlin famously said that all we need in life is “a place for our stuff.” More than 11 percent of Americans — nearly 15 million households at last count — turn to local self-storage facilities because they have more stuff than their closets and garages can hold.

Renting a self-storage unit is a convenient solution for many of us. So simple, in fact, that we may not give a second thought to insuring the stuff we padlock behind the roll-up door of a 10×10 unit … until something happens to it.

So let’s ask the question: Does homeowners insurance cover the items stored in an off-site storage facility? The answer: It depends.

Homeowners and renters insurance policies are designed to cover structures and personal property within the structures, as well as provide liability protection for injury or damage that may occur on the property. Personal property coverage typically includes furnishings, appliances, clothing, Jewelry, trees, carpets, and other items. However, it is important to remember that each insurance policy is a contract that specifically states what items are insured, where coverage is in force, which perils are covered, and how much coverage is available in terms of limits on claim payments. Whether or not your policy provides coverage for personal property stored away from your residence depends on the terms of the contract.

If the policy includes coverage for personal property stored off-site, the coverage limit may be far lower than the limit for items kept in the residence. Some policies may have a coverage limit as low at $1,000 for property within a self-storage unit. You can purchase additional coverage at an increased premium, but the policy may still impose restrictions on high-value items, covered perils, and loss due to theft or burglary for personal property stored off-site. 

Another consideration is the impact that filing a claim against a homeowners or renters insurance policy may have when it comes time to renew the policy. In the current insurance market, any claim made against a policy may result in significantly higher premiums at renewal. Worst-case scenario? The carrier may decline to renew the policy altogether.

With these limitations in mind, it’s wise to consider a specialty insurance policy designed to cover personal property stored in a self-storage facility. MiniCo, the self-storage insurance leader, offers the TenantOne program for self-storage customers nationwide. MiniCo’s policy (similar to other tenant insurance programs) has no deductible, covers a wide range of perils, offers flexible coverage limits, and can be canceled at any time. Claims made against a separate tenant insurance policy are not reflected on the customer’s homeowners or renters insurance.

Self-storage facilities are a convenient solution for many households and businesses, but it’s important to remember that the facility is not responsible for insuring items stored by tenants. If you rent a storage unit, you are responsible for insuring your belongings. Just be sure to understand all your options before relying on a homeowners or renters policy to cover what you keep stored off-site.If you’re an insurance agent or broker with clients who own self-storage properties, MiniCo is here to assist! We wrote the book on specialty insurance for self-storage risks starting in 1974. Today, we offer a wide range of property, general liability (GL), and specialty coverages through our Self-Storage Commercial Insurance program. From our specialty self-storage BOP to our monoline policies for property and GL, our experienced underwriters are standing by to help create a policy tailored to your clients’ needs. We even have an online application portal to make your life easier. Contact us today!

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