When you buy renters insurance, you probably have one primary reason for making that purchase: you want to protect your belongings. Renters don’t have to worry about rebuilding their homes after a disaster, but that doesn’t mean fires, theft and other perils can’t impact their belongings. Fortunately, renters insurance gives you a way to protect your furniture, clothes and electronics.
Thanks to off-premises coverage, your policy can extend to your belongings even when they are not at your rental. Still, that doesn’t necessarily mean that anything you bring outside the walls of your rental is completely covered.
If you’re storing stuff in a storage unit, you might wonder if your items are covered. Let’s take a look at how your renters insurance can double as storage unit insurance and where it falls short.
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Does renters insurance cover belongings inside a storage unit?
Most renters insurance policies include off-premises coverage. This coverage protects you if your backpack gets stolen out of your car or your belongings get damaged while you’re traveling.
There are limits, though. Most policies only give you off-premises and self-storage insurance coverage up to a certain percentage (often 10 percent) of your total personal property coverage. So, if you’ve insured your stuff for $30,000 and your policy gives you ten percent off-premises coverage, you’re only covered for $3,000.
To determine if your renters insurance offers you enough protection to double as storage insurance, calculate the value of everything you’re keeping in your storage unit. If it’s worth more than 10 percent of the personal property coverage listed in your policy, you’ll need supplemental coverage to fully protect it.
How much is covered in off-premises coverage?
Calculating your off-premises coverage is the first step. As you total up the value of the items you’re keeping at your storage unit, make a note of any high-value items. Then, review your policy.
Some insurers have a per-item coverage limit based on a percentage of your policy. Again, let’s say you have $30,000 of personal property coverage and your insurer places a 5 percent limit on per-item coverage. Your provider is only going to reimburse you $1,500 for any single item.
Your insurer might also outline per-item payouts for specific item types in your policy. Review your policy for clear limits. Here are some of the common limits for certain items.
|Jewelry (including watches)|
|Stamps, passports, securities|
If you’re storing any of these high-value items in your storage unit, talk to your insurance agent about how your off-premises coverage limit and per-item coverage limit affect one another. You may be able to purchase an endorsement, also called a rider, to fully insure individual items. The endorsement attaches to your renters insurance policy to expand your protection.
Maximum coverage for personal property in storage units
All told, your renters insurance does protect your belongings while they’re in a storage unit — but only to an extent. Review your policy and look at any special limits or exclusions on individual items.
Also, make sure you have enough off-premises coverage to fully protect your belongings. If the maximum coverage your renters insurance can offer isn’t enough, it’s time to shop insurance policies from your storage company.
If you don’t mind the expense, you can also check into the maximum amount of coverage a provider is willing to let you add to the policy.
Buying insurance from the storage company
When you’re considering how much storage units cost, there’s more to consider than just the rental of the unit. As you shop options, look not just at the cost of storage units but also the cost of the insurance the storage company offers.
Don’t just ask, “How much does a storage unit cost?” Also ask, “How much does storage insurance cost?” Getting info on the available self-storage insurance can help you make the right choice to store and protect your stuff at the lowest overall cost.
Usually, storage companies offer a certain amount of storage insurance per square foot you’re renting. In other words, the bigger your storage unit, the more you’ll pay for storage unit insurance. Review the coverage potential storage companies offer and check for exclusions. You can review these options with your insurance agent to make sure the policy from the storage company you choose will sufficiently safeguard everything you plan to keep in the storage unit.
The bottom line
Ultimately, the only way to know if your renters insurance policy gives you enough protection is to review it. If not, when you’re considering the cost of storage units, check out the offered self-storage insurance too. Putting this supplemental coverage in place gives you peace of mind that your belongings are protected even when you can’t keep an eye on it.