If you rent your home, you probably know that renters insurance can help protect you and your belongings from the cost of an accident. The protection from your renters insurance policy doesn’t always stop at your apartment door. It usually covers your belongings even when you’re away from home—such as if you’re traveling or leave an item in your car.
If you need some extra space at home and decide to rent a storage unit for some of your belongings, are those items still covered by your renters insurance?
In most cases, yes. However, you should expect limits on the amount of coverage offered on items in storage units. Learn more about renters insurance coverage for stored items and what options are available to protect your belongings in storage.
- Renters insurance provides coverage for personal property, loss of use (such as having to move during home repairs), and personal liability.
- Personal property coverage protects items both in your home and elsewhere, including belongings you keep in a storage unit.
- Your renters insurance may have coverage limits for property stored outside your home. These limits are usually a percentage of your personal property protection.
- Commercial self-storage facilities often offer insurance policies specifically for the items stored there.
- You can protect your belongings in storage by increasing your total renters insurance coverage or purchasing a separate self-storage tenants insurance policy through a third-party provider.
What Does Renters Insurance Cover?
Insurance for renters is designed to protect people who rent their homes from financial loss after certain accidents. It works a lot like homeowners insurance, except that it doesn’t cover the physical building where you live—your landlord’s insurance covers the building itself.
A common renters policy includes three main coverage types:
- Personal Property: This coverage helps cover the cost to repair or replace your belongings that are lost in a covered accident. For example, if a fire in your apartment destroys your TV, your renters insurance should help cover the cost to buy a new one.
- Loss of Use: Most renters insurance helps cover your living costs if your home is no longer habitable, such as needing repairs after a fire. Also called additional living expenses coverage, it helps cover costs like temporary lodging or food while you’re unable to live in your home.
- Personal Liability: This type of liability coverage protects you from the cost of injuries or property damage if someone is hurt at your home. It also helps cover the costs of legal defense if someone sues you after an accident.
Items outside your home, such as possessions in your car or luggage while traveling, are usually covered by the personal property portion of your renters insurance. This coverage also generally includes the belongings you keep in a storage unit. However, coverage for items outside your main residence has limits.
Storage Unit Property Coverage Limits
Renters insurance policies limit the coverage of items lost, stolen, or damaged outside your rented home. The coverage limit is usually a dollar amount or percentage of your total personal property coverage, whichever is higher.
Let’s say your renters insurance covers up to $1,000 or 10% of your personal property limit (whichever is greater) on a policy with $50,000 of coverage. A thief breaks into your storage unit and steals everything inside. The value of your stolen items was $10,000, so you file a renters insurance claim. Your policy will only pay up to 10% of your policy coverage, or $5,000.
Like other types of insurance, you’ll have to pay a deductible before your renters insurance will help cover losses.
Coverage for Other Types of Storage
What if your personal property is stored outside your home but not in a self-storage facility?
The good news is renters insurance generally covers your belongings anywhere in the world. You should still expect a coverage limit for items not stored in your home.
If you’re keeping items in an on-site storage area—like a garden shed or apartment complex basement storage—you should check your policy to determine if coverage limits apply. Your policy may consider these areas as part of your residence premises, which is the place where you live as defined by your policy, and not impose coverage limits.
Is Your Storage Unit Covered?
Although many renters insurance policies cover your belongings anywhere up to a certain limit, it’s always a good idea to review your policy. Carefully read your renters policy to look for information regarding the insured premises, residence premises, and personal property protection.
Your insurance agent can help you with specific answers to what is and isn’t covered by your renters policy.
Alternative Options for Storage Unit Insurance
You have other options if your basic renters insurance doesn’t have enough coverage for the items you have in storage. Two common alternatives to basic renters insurance for storage units include:
- Self-storage tenant insurance
- Increased coverage limits
Self-Storage Tenant Insurance
Your storage facility might offer you an insurance policy when you sign up to rent a unit. You can also purchase self-storage tenant insurance from third-party insurance providers specializing in storage unit insurance.
These policies are completely separate from your existing renters insurance. Like any insurance policy, you’ll want to consider the costs and coverage, such as deductibles, monthly premiums, and which accidents are covered by the policy.
Increase Personal Property Coverage Limits
The easiest way to increase your storage unit coverage using your current renters policy is to increase your policy limit. If your renters insurance will cover your belongings in storage up to a certain percentage of your limit, increasing that limit also boosts the amount of coverage for stored items.
For example, let’s say your policy covers belongings in storage up to 10% of your coverage limit. Your coverage limit is $50,000, so stored items are covered up to $5,000. If you increase your policy limit to $100,000, your items will then be covered up to $10,000.
High-value items you may have in storage—such as jewelry, collectibles, or expensive camera equipment—may not have adequate protection under your basic policy limits.
Do I Need Storage Unit Insurance?
Your renters insurance policy should cover your belongings in storage—up to a certain limit. Depending on what you keep in storage, your renters policy may be sufficient. You can determine how much your stored items are worth by including them in your home inventory.
If your stored items are worth more than your current policy covers, you should consider looking into additional coverage.
Be aware of policy limits when shopping for storage unit insurance. Some policies may offer less coverage than the limited coverage from your renters insurance policy.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How much is storage unit insurance?
Renters insurance policies average between $15 to $30 per month, which usually includes coverage for your items not stored at home. Storage unit insurance from a private storage insurance carrier can vary between companies, but many cost about the same as a renters insurance policy.
What if my property in a storage unit is damaged and I don’t have insurance?
Without insurance, your stored items are likely unprotected. Your storage facility contract should specify how much risk you assume when you store your items at the facility. Read your lease contract carefully to figure out if there are scenarios in which your items are covered by the storage facility’s insurance or if you assume all risks of storing belongings on the property.
Where do I purchase storage unit insurance?
If you have a renters insurance policy, your stored items may already be covered up to a certain limit. Storage facilities also commonly offer tenant insurance when you first sign up to rent a storage unit. If your facility does not, you can ask them if they have any recommendations for storage unit insurance providers.