Couple carrying storage boxes

Storage units can be a renter’s best friend. But what’s protecting all your belongings that are kept in a storage space? The answer, in part, is the very same renters insurance policy protecting your belongings at home. How much is protected depends on what you’re keeping in storage, and ultimately your protection is subject to the terms and conditions of your policy. We’ll discuss that and more in this article.

What does renters insurance cover in storage?

If you thought you needed specific storage unit insurance, good news - renters insurance may cover some of the belongings in a self-storage facility. Specifically, renters insurance covers your personal possessions if a covered event damages, or destroys them. This includes possessions in storage, but only up to 10% or $1,000 (whichever is greater) of the personal property value covered by your policy. Here’s a list of some of the most common events covered by renters insurance (for items both in your home and in your storage unit):

  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Windstorm
  • Hail
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Impact by a vehicleK

Keep in mind, without additional coverage, your insurance may place limits on the amount you can be compensated for certain valuable items like jewelry, money, firearms, and silverware.

How renters insurance may cover property in a storage unit

When you purchase renters insurance, you need to know the value of your possessions. Knowing the approximate value of your property helps you determine how much coverage you’ll need to replace it.

Once you have your policy, it continues to protect the possessions within the value you calculated, even if some of those possessions aren’t physically in your home. This coverage limit for property at other locations, like self-storage facilities, extends to possessions you are keeping in a storage unit, subject to the terms and conditions of your policy.

But remember there is a percentage limit. Up to 10% of the value protected by your renters insurance will be covered in “self-storage facilities.” For example, if your renters policy covers $50,000 of personal property, you will potentially have $5,000 of coverage for property kept in your self-storage facility. You’ll need additional coverage if you want to protect items in excess of that $5,000.

Does homeowners insurance cover storage units?

Don’t worry, homeowners, off-premises coverage isn’t just for renters. Most homeowners insurance policies cover personal property using the value of your possessions you calculated before purchasing the policy. And, as with renters insurance, up to 10% or $1,000 (whichever is greater) of the value your homeowners policy covers property kept in self-storage units. Keep in mind that certain personal property items may have special limits in the policy in addition to the terms, exclusions and conditions outlined.

Should you also buy storage unit insurance?

So, now you know your renters insurance is doing more for your belongings than you might have thought. But should you still purchase additional insurance for your stored possessions? There’s coverage designed specifically for this situation. Storage unit insurance covers the value of the items that are physically inside your storage unit, making it a very specific kind of insurance. Whether you need it depends upon the type of items you are storing and the value of those items.

You know that your renter’s policy may provide up to 10% of the value of your personal property while it is in a self-storage facility. So, if the value in your unit exceeds that, you may want to purchase additional coverage. You can purchase this insurance from the storage facility (if it offers such coverage) or from your insurance provider. Keep in mind that all policies have terms, exclusions, exceptions and conditions to coverage. That’s why it’s important to understand your policy and ask your agent any questions you might have about your coverage.

Storage unit packing tips

In addition to having the right insurance coverage, properly storing your belongings is important for their protection. When keeping your personal possessions in storage, remember these tips:

  • Choose the right unit - Not all belongings can be stored the same. Some require climate-controlled environments and others need more space than others.
  • Wrap fragile items - If a stack of items tips over inside your unit, you don’t want fragile items to pay the price. Carefully wrap anything that could crack or chip in bubble wrap or newspaper.
  • Take things apart - Disassembling items like furniture can help ensure they aren’t damaged and also help you fit more inside the space you have.
  • Stack based on fragility - You don’t want to put that expensive family heirloom on the bottom of a 200 lb. stack of boxes. Keep more durable items at the bottom of stacks, with more fragile belongings at the top.

Now you know more about the protection your renters policy can offer your belongings in storage. But keep in mind that your policy is tailored to the needs you expressed when you purchased it, so review your policy and your needs with your insurance provider from time to time to ensure you’re adequately protected. And remember, depending on the items you have in storage, you may need to add storage unit insurance to be fully covered.

If you’re a new renter wondering how to get renters insurance in the first place, we’ve got you covered. Nationwide offers renters insurance plans designed to fit your unique needs and possessions.

The information included here is designed for informational purposes only. It is not legal, tax, financial or any other sort of advice, nor is it a substitute for such advice. The information may not apply to your specific situation. We have tried to make sure the information is accurate, but it could be outdated or even inaccurate in parts. It is the reader’s responsibility to comply with any applicable local, state or federal regulations. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, its affiliates and their employees make no warranties about the information nor guarantee of results, and they assume no liability in connection with the information provided. Nationwide and the Nationwide N and Eagle are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2023 Nationwide

Each claim is considered based on the facts and circumstances of the loss in light of the policy in force on the date of loss, terms, conditions, exclusions etc.