Updated: March 2017
A storage facility can be a great way to free up space in your home while keeping your belongings accessible. Storage facilities are popular — the Self Storage Association reports that about 10.85 million U.S. households rent storage space.
But even when your belongings are under lock and key, you may want to have additional protection in place. Even though belongings in a storage facility are not in your home, your homeowners insurance policy may help protect those items from certain perils.
Homeowners insurance typically includes personal property coverage. Personal property coverage helps protect your belongings, which may include clothes, appliances, electronics and furniture, from certain risks up to the coverage limits in your policy. This type of protection may help cover your stuff even while it's away from your home, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
However, there are some important things to keep in mind.
Personal property coverage may help protect belongings — whether they are on your property or away from home — against certain risks. Covered perils typically include fire, lightning, theft and vandalism, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). Check your policy to determine what types of risks may be covered.
Sometimes, however, coverage limits are set lower for belongings located away from your home — described in most policies as "off-premises coverage." For example, if you have $75,000 in personal property coverage under your homeowners policy, coverage for belongings kept off-premises may be capped at $7,500. Check your policy or contact your agent to learn how much coverage you have for these items.
Many homeowners insurance policies have lower limits for off-premises coverage, including belongings in storage. Generally, the limit on personal property coverage is up to 50 percent of the policy's dwelling coverage limit, says the NAIC.
If the value of your stored items is greater than your off-premises coverage, you may want to consider options that may help further protect your belongings in a storage unit.
- Increased coverage limits: If your off-premises coverage is a fraction of your personal property coverage, you may wish to increase your personal property coverage limit in your homeowners insurance policy. That may result in an increased limit for belongings while they are away from your home.
- Increased coverage for high-value items: If you intend to place highly valuable items, such as art or jewelry, in a storage unit, the III says you may want to purchase scheduled personal property coverage to specifically protect those items.
- Self-storage insurance: Some storage facilities may offer insurance that may help protect your belongings, either as part of your contract or for an additional cost, the III says.
To help decide whether you may benefit from additional coverage for items in a storage facility, read your policy or contact your local agent to determine how your belongings may or may not be covered while in storage.