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Does renters insurance cover storage units?

Fact-checked with HomeInsurance.com

Many people don’t have room in their home to store everything they own, so they put items in a storage unit. If you have a renters insurance policy, it will cover your items while they’re stored. 

However, storage unit insurance isn’t unlimited when it’s part of your renters insurance. For adequate protection of your stored belongings, you may need to increase your coverage.

Does renters insurance cover belongings in a storage unit? 

Yes, a renters insurance policy does cover belongings kept in a storage unit. In fact, renters insurance covers your belongings anywhere in the world. If you live in one state and store your items in another, you’ll still be covered.

A renters insurance policy covers the belongings in your home from certain perils. The same coverage applies to items being held in a storage unit. For example, if a fire breaks out at your storage facility and damages items inside your unit, your insurance company would help you pay to replace them.

Are there coverage limitations?

Renters insurance gives you peace of mind knowing your items are covered anywhere in the world. For belongings in a storage unit, there are coverage limitations to know. Most renters insurance policies will only cover items outside of your home for up to 10 percent of your personal property coverage.

Let’s say your total personal property coverage is $15,000. All the items in your home or on your property will be covered up to that limit. For items outside of your home, including items in storage, your coverage limit would only be $1,500.

While renters insurance can be beneficial if you have items in a storage unit, the coverage limit for stored items is significantly lower than your standard limit. Because of that, you may need to raise your coverage limits, add endorsements to your policy or purchase storage unit insurance.

If your items in storage get damaged, lost or destroyed, know what your policy does and doesn’t cover. Your renters insurance policy is either a named-perils or open-perils policy. With an open perils policy, you’re covered by any situation that is not explicitly excluded from your policy. 

A named-perils policy covers your items from a specific list of events, such as:

  • Fire
  • Wind and hail
  • Snow and ice
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Explosions
  • Damage from cars
  • Falling objects
  • Accidental water damage

If you have an open perils policy, there are some caveats and exclusions. For instance, general wear and tear, gradual damage, pest and rodent damage, rust, mold and corrosion are usually not covered. 

Flood and earthquake damage is not covered by renters insurance policies without an endorsement. Check with your insurance provider to see what your renters policy covers for your items in storage.

How to add additional renters coverage

If you have items of value in a storage unit, you’ll probably need extra coverage. One way you increase your coverage is to purchase an endorsement. 

Endorsements are special add-on policies that raise your personal property coverage level. It’s common to purchase endorsements for specific purposes, like to raise your coverage for valuables or collections. 

Adding an endorsement to your renters insurance policy will increase your rate, but the added level of coverage is usually worth the cost. If you don’t have enough coverage from your standard renters policy, you would likely have to pay some money out-of-pocket to repair or replace damaged items. 

The most common renters insurance endorsements are:

  • Scheduled property coverage: Scheduled property coverage allows you to increase your coverage limit for certain items, particularly valuables. For instance, you could purchase scheduled property coverage for electronics or antiques.
  • Replacement cost coverage: With a replacement cost coverage endorsement, your insurance company will reimburse you for the original amount you paid for an item if it gets damaged or destroyed. Most renters policies reimburse with actual cash value, which factors in depreciation and results in a lower payout.

Check with your provider to see if it offers other helpful endorsements. 

Should you get storage unit insurance?

Another way to increase your coverage limit is to get storage unit insurance if your storage center offers it. 

Storage unit insurance acts similarly to an endorsement. The storage company will usually require that you have renters or homeowners insurance but will sell you storage unit insurance to raise your coverage limits. 

The price and coverages for storage unit insurance vary by company, so check with your storage center for more information. Self-storage centers that sell storage unit insurance usually partner with an insurance provider to sell the policies. If you have to file a claim, you would deal with the insurance partner, not the storage center. 

If you’re thinking about getting storage unit insurance, do a price comparison with your renters insurance company. You may be able to raise your renters insurance coverage limit or purchase an endorsement for less money than buying storage unit insurance. 

Tips for keeping your items safe in storage

To avoid filing a claim for your stored items, keep them safe. Some best practices you should consider include:

  • Store items properly: Avoid putting your items in plastic bags, where mold and mildew can grow. Make sure everything has proper ventilation so it doesn’t get damaged.
  • Keep valuables at home: It’s not recommended to store valuables, like money or jewelry, in a self-storage unit. Those items may not be covered by a renters or storage unit insurance policy, and the risk for theft is high.
  • Organize items strategically: Try to avoid randomly stacking things in your unit. If you can, store items on pallets where they are off the ground and more easily visible.
  • Know what’s inside: It’s easy to fill up a storage unit and forget what’s in there. Keep a list of the items in the unit, so you can stay organized. If you have to file an insurance claim, knowing what’s inside will help speed up the process.

It’s wise to evaluate your storage situation every so often to see if you can reduce your storage needs and, as a result, your add-on coverage or self-storage insurance needs. 

The takeaway

  • Renters insurance does cover items in a storage unit, but the coverage limits are low.
  • Insurance covers your items from common perils, like fire, theft and vandalism.
  • Endorsements or storage unit insurance can help you get the most protection.
  • Claims are easier to file if your unit is organized and you know what is in it.

If you have items in a storage unit, a renters insurance policy will cover your belongings from common perils like fire, wind and accidental water damage. However, most renters insurance policies only cover stored items for up to 10 percent of your standard policy limits. Your renters insurance might not offer enough coverage for adequate protection. 

To increase your coverage, purchase an endorsement or see if your self-storage center sells storage unit insurance. To purchase storage unit insurance, you might need an existing renters insurance policy. Compare the price of storage unit insurance to the cost of adding an endorsement or raising your coverage limits through your renters insurance company.

Elizabeth Rivelli

Elizabeth is an insurance writer for coverage.com, where she covers insurance providers and reviews policies to help consumers find comprehensive and affordable coverage for every area of their life. She has more than three years of writing experience for top online insurance and finance publications.

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