Storage Guide: Insurance

By Staff

Any reputable warehouse operator will insist you have some insurance coverage for your goods while they are in storage. Most but not all warehouse operators will offer liability insurance and it is generally included in the rental charge. In some states such as New York, insurance is required by the warehouse operator and is included in the rental charge. The insurance offered, however, is the very minimum allowable and is approximately $0.30 per pound per item.

This offers very little protection. For example, the replacement value on a 20 pound television set will be more than the $6.00 covered by the insurance policy i.e. 20 X $0.30 = $6.00. For comprehensive insurance you will need to look at alternative options. Your homeowner's insurance policy may cover your household goods while they are in storage so check with your insurance company before accepting any additional insurance offered by the warehouse operator. If your homeowner's insurance policy will cover your goods while they are in storage it is also very important to also check what you will need to do when you add or remove items from the storage space.

No matter what insurance policy your goods are covered under it is very important to check upfront if it is okay with the insurance company to add or remove items from the space. Your insurance needs will change as you add or remove items from the space. You do not want to find out that the antique sideboard that you added to the storage unit recently and was damaged while in storage was not covered by insurance. Warehouse operators who offer extra insurance may require that you accept their insurance coverage if you want to store your goods with them. Others offer you several options with outside insurance companies with competitive rates due to the bulk discount they receive The bottom line is that you absolutely need to have your goods insured.

Accept coverage that actually covers the entire value of our goods.

If you decide to take out extra optional insurance against negligent loss or damage to your goods you will need to take out adequate insurance. For example, if you have a $20,000 dining room set insured for 20% of its value you will receive only $4,000 in the unfortunate event it becomes damaged beyond repair while in storage. If you have $100,000 worth of goods in storage and they are insured to $20,000, you will receive one fifth of the value of each item in the event it becomes damaged beyond repair. Damage such as moisture damage due to high humidity levels or due to vermin may not be included in any standard policy and if you want this coverage you will pay extra. To manage this risk effectively only use a storage company.

Are my goods insured while in transit to storage? Well, it depends!

Your household goods will need to be insured and many trucking companies do not offer protection or if they do it is minimal. If you are planning on renting a truck and driving your goods to the warehouse you will most likely be working with a trucking company and will need to thing about additional insurance. Full and self service movers offer insurance with better protection and even if you need additional insurance an insurance company will have better rates for full and self service movers.

A full service move is where the moving company sends a truck to your home, packs up your household items, loads them on the truck and delivers them to your home. This is an excellent way to move the contents of your entire home without the headaches of packing.

The "You Load We Haul" alternative or self service move as it is commonly known is very popular with people trying to save money but who do not wish to have to go through the hassle of renting a truck and driving it to their destination. Instead, the moving company or trucking company drops off the trailer portion of the tractor trailer to your home before the move, you then load up your household goods on to the trailer with the care and attention they deserve and the trucking company's professional drivers haul the load to your destination where you unload the trailer. You do not have to worry about driving a large unfamiliar truck for many miles and can take your preferred mode of transport to your new home.

You may think everything is covered by your household policy however when exactly does that policy end?

Does it end the minute your household goods leave the home or go over state lines or worse again when your old home is sold and you are planning on storing your good until you find a new home? Some homeowner's insurance policies do cover household goods while in transit. Check with your homeowner's insurance company to find out what coverage you may have and be sure to check out when this ends. If the policy is void once you close on your old home it may be of little use to you as this is most likely when you will be moving and will need storage.

If you are fortunate enough to have coverage make sure you contact the insurance company and ask them to explain the level of coverage and what exactly is covered. In the event you need to file a claim with the insurance company you will need to prove that the loss or damage is due to the mover's negligence or if you are packing up the goods yourself and renting out a truck you will need to prove negligence on the part of the truck rental company. No money will be paid out due to any items damaged due to poor packing by you or your family.

It is fair to say that most mom and pop rental truck operations do not offer many extras such as insurance or roadside assistance. Price alone should not be the only consideration when examining the estimates you have requested for truck rental.

For personal insurance you will also need to find out if your auto insurance policy protects you while you drive the truck. You may be protected however it is not common. Contact your auto insurance office and find out how much extra it will cost to insure you and the truck. Also check to find out if roadside assistance is provided by the company renting the truck. Your own auto insurance policy may also offer roadside assistance to you even if you are in another vehicle but you will need to talk with them first to confirm this and provide details on the truck you will be driving, when you will be driving, where you will be driving it and for how long.