Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Storage Units?

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Updated: 05 May 2024
Written by
Cara Carlone
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If you have sustained loss or damage to a storage unit away from your home, you may be wondering if homeowners insurance provides coverage for storage units.

The answer is yes, ordinarily it does, with a few exceptions. For more handy details and information about home insurance for storage units, read on. With over 20 years spent assisting consumers to gain a better knowledge of how homeowners insurance works, I’m here to help you understand your coverage.

Key Takeaways

  • Homeowners insurance typically provides coverage for storage units away from your home, with some exceptions

  • Insurance coverage for off-premises storage units might only be  10% percentage of your personal property coverage, so you may want to invest in additional coverage

  • If you’re interested in checking your insurance policy for coverage of storage units, it’s listed as “Off-Premises Storage.”

Does Your Home Insurance Provide Coverage For Storage Units?

Storage units are usually covered by homeowners insurance, with some exclusions.

In general, if the contents of your storage unit is damaged or destroyed by a covered peril such as those shown below, you’re covered.

  • Fire and Smoke
  • Wind
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Lightning
  • Snow and Ice
  • Hail
  • Water Damage
  • Tornadoes
  • Falling Objects
  • Explosions

Off-premises coverage limits refer to the extent of protection provided by homeowners insurance for belongings stored outside of the insured property’s premises, such as in a storage unit. Typically, homeowners insurance policies include coverage for personal belongings stored off-premises, but this coverage is often subject to certain limitations and conditions.

Off-Premise Coverage Limits

Here’s how off-premises coverage limits generally work:

  • Coverage Limit: Homeowners insurance policies usually specify a maximum amount of coverage for personal property kept off-premises. This limit can vary depending on the insurer and the specific policy. It’s important for policyholders to review their coverage limits to ensure they have adequate protection for their stored belongings.
  • Types of Covered Perils: Off-premises coverage typically extends to the same perils that are covered for personal property on the insured premises. Common perils include fire, theft, vandalism, and certain types of water damage. However, coverage may vary depending on the specific policy terms and conditions.
  • Deductibles: Just like with on-premises coverage, homeowners insurance policies may have deductibles that apply to off-premises coverage. Policyholders are usually responsible for paying the deductible before the insurance company covers any losses.
  • Exclusions: Certain types of property may be excluded from off-premises coverage or have limited coverage. For example, valuable items such as jewelry, fine art, and collectibles may have sub-limits or require additional coverage through endorsements or separate policies.
  • Proof of Loss: In the event of a claim, the insurance company may require proof of ownership and documentation of the items stored off-premises. It’s important for policyholders to keep detailed records of their belongings, including receipts, photographs, and inventory lists.
  • Notification Requirement: Some insurance policies require policyholders to notify the insurer when storing belongings off-premises, especially if the items exceed a certain value. Failure to notify the insurer could result in coverage limitations or exclusions.

It’s essential for homeowners to carefully review their insurance policies and discuss any questions or concerns with their insurance agent or provider. Additionally, if storing valuable or high-risk items in a storage unit, homeowners may need to consider purchasing additional coverage or a separate insurance policy to ensure adequate protection.

High-Value Item Limits

High-value item limits refer to the maximum coverage provided by homeowners insurance for specific valuable belongings, such as jewelry, fine art, antiques, collectibles, and other items of significant worth. Here’s how high-value item limits typically work within a homeowners insurance policy:

  • Coverage Limit: Homeowners insurance policies often include coverage for personal belongings, but they may have sub-limits or separate limits for high-value items. These limits dictate the maximum amount the insurer will pay for the loss or damage of each high-value item. The limit can vary significantly depending on the insurer and the specific policy.
  • Types of Covered Items: High-value item limits apply to a range of valuable possessions that may exceed standard coverage limits. Common examples include engagement rings, watches, fine jewelry, artwork, silverware, firearms, and musical instruments. Policyholders should check their policy documents to understand which items are subject to high-value item limits.
  • Appraisal Requirements: Insurers often require appraisals for high-value items to determine their current market value accurately. Policyholders may need to provide documentation, such as appraisal reports or receipts, to verify the value of these possessions. Accurate appraisals help ensure that policyholders have adequate coverage for their valuable items.
  • Scheduled Personal Property Coverage: To adequately protect high-value items, policyholders can typically opt for scheduled personal property coverage. This involves listing each valuable item individually on the insurance policy along with its appraised value. Scheduled items are typically not subject to the standard coverage limits of the policy and may have broader coverage against various perils, including theft, loss, or accidental damage.
  • Premium Costs: Adding scheduled personal property coverage for high-value items usually results in an increase in insurance premiums. However, the cost may be justified by the enhanced protection and higher coverage limits provided for these valuable possessions.
  • Deductibles: Just like with other types of coverage, deductibles may apply to high-value item coverage. Policyholders should review their policy documents to understand the deductible amounts that apply to their valuable possessions.
  • Exclusions: Certain perils or circumstances may be excluded from coverage for high-value items. For example, coverage may not apply to loss or damage caused by wear and tear, gradual deterioration, or intentional acts.
  • Periodic Reviews: It’s essential for policyholders to periodically review their scheduled personal property coverage for high-value items. Changes in the value of possessions, such as appreciation or depreciation, may necessitate adjustments to coverage limits or appraisals.

Policyholders should consult with their insurance agent or provider to ensure they have adequate coverage for their high-value items and understand the terms and conditions of their insurance policy. Periodic reassessment of coverage needs can help ensure that valuable possessions remain adequately protected against potential risks.

Theft-Only Coverage Limits

Theft-only coverage limits pertain specifically to coverage provided by homeowners insurance for theft of personal belongings, both on and off the insured property’s premises. This type of coverage focuses solely on theft-related incidents and may have different limitations compared to broader coverage for other perils. Here’s how theft-only coverage limits typically work:

  • Scope of Coverage: Theft-only coverage protects against the theft of personal property, including items stored off-premises, such as in a storage unit. This coverage applies specifically to situations where belongings are stolen, and it may not extend to other perils like fire or vandalism unless specifically included in the policy.
  • Coverage Limit: Similar to off-premises coverage for personal property, theft-only coverage also comes with a maximum coverage limit. This limit varies depending on the insurer and the specific policy. Policyholders should review their coverage limits to ensure they have sufficient protection for their belongings against theft.
  • Types of Covered Items: Theft-only coverage typically applies to a wide range of personal belongings, including but not limited to electronics, furniture, clothing, and appliances. However, certain high-value items like jewelry, fine art, and collectibles may have sub-limits or require additional coverage through endorsements or separate policies.
  • Deductibles: Just like with other types of coverage, theft-only coverage may have deductibles that policyholders are responsible for paying before the insurance company covers any theft-related losses.
  • Exclusions: While theft-only coverage is designed to protect against theft, there may be certain exclusions or limitations outlined in the policy. For example, coverage may not apply to theft resulting from negligence or intentional acts by the policyholder.
  • Proof of Loss: In the event of a theft-related claim, policyholders may need to provide proof of ownership and documentation of the stolen items. This could include receipts, photographs, serial numbers, or other evidence of ownership.
  • Notification Requirement: Policyholders should be aware of any notification requirements specified in their insurance policy. Some insurers may require policyholders to notify them promptly in the event of a theft loss to initiate the claims process.

As with any type of insurance coverage, it’s crucial for homeowners to carefully review their policy documents, understand the terms and conditions of their coverage, and discuss any questions or concerns with their insurance agent or provider. Additionally, homeowners may need to consider supplementing theft-only coverage with additional protection if they have valuable or high-risk items that require specialized insurance.

What Events Provide Home Insurance Coverage For Storage Units?

There are a lot of possible situations in which storage units may have coverage from your home insurance policy. Here are some examples::

  • Theft: Even though most storage have decent security, theft is still a problem. If someone breaks into your storage unit and steals any of its contents, your home insurance should cover it.
  • In case of fire that destroys the personal belongings in a storage unit, or if smoke damage leaves these items damaged beyond repair, your insurance should provide coverage.
  • If a tornado destroys your storage unit, you have coverage.
  • This holds true for almost any extreme weather event unless specifically excluded in your policy.

Note: Some homeowner insurance policies have a separate deductible for hurricanes or wind storms. The deductible might be a percentage of your dwelling amount, so check your deductible before you file a claim. You don’t want to file a claim if your deductible is going to be more than the amount of the damage.

When Are Storage Units Not Covered By Homeowners Insurance?

Although most events are covered by your home insurance for storage units, there are exceptions. Here are the main exclusions for coverage of storage units:

  • Earthquakes
  • Floods
  • Mildew or mold
  • Poor maintenance or negligence
  • Infestation by pests, rodents, or vermin of any kind

Another thing to bear in mind is that storage units are normally covered by a home insurance policy provided they’re used for storage of personal property. So, if you’re using a storage unit to house your inventory of business items, that isn’t included in your coverage.

What Should You Do If There Is Damage To Your Storage Units?

Your initial step should be to notify your insurance company. You may contact their claims department, local office or agent and let them know what has occurred to damage or destroy the unit and/or its contents. Notify the storage facility management, too.

Document everything thoroughly. Get clear photos, and possibly videos, showing the damage as well as what caused it, if possible.

If theft or vandalism is responsible for any damage or missing items, notify the police as soon as possible.

Once an insurance adjuster has come and made an assessment of the damage or loss, file a claim.

Are There Ways To  Avoid Damage To Storage Units?

Yes, there are some things you can do to avoid damage or loss to storage units and their contents.

Here are some things you can do to be proactive about safeguarding your storage units:

  • Before you place your belongings in storage, make a list of everything that will be kept in your storage unit, along with its value. Take photos of every item of high value. That way you’ll have a comprehensive list for your insurer if you have to file a claim.
  • Read the storage facility’s contract, especially the fine print. If their negligence leads to damage or loss of the items you have put into one of their storage units, for instance, make sure they have insurance to help defray your loss.
  • Check the security of the storage facility. Make sure there are locked gates, security cameras, security alarms, and that the entire facility is securely fenced.
  • Look around the storage units for signs of insects or vermin like termites, rats or mice. These pests can destroy the contents of storage units in a short period of time.
  • Try to get a storage unit that has climate control. Your belongings will be far less likely to have damage from moisture, such as mold and mildew, in a unit that doesn’t get too hot or too cold.

When Should You File An Insurance Claim For Storage Units?

The decision about whether you should file a claim for storage units might be a tough one, depending on the extent of the damage or loss.

The thing is that there’s sometimes quite a lot to consider. If, for example, the value of your loss or damage is less than your deductible, you wouldn’t gain a thing by filing a claim. In view of the fact that your premiums would probably go up after the claim, you’d be likely to lose a considerable sum of money over the long run.

Do keep in mind that your insurer is not going to pay your claim until you meet your deductible.

You’ll have to look at the big picture and then decide if filing a claim is the right move.

How Do You File An Insurance Claim For Storage Units?

If you need to file a claim for storage units, you’ll find it’s basically the same as filing any other type of claim.

Note: Some insurers have separate deductibles for wind or hurricane losses. These deductibles may be a percentage of your home’s dwelling limit and not a flat amount. Always look at the correct deductible before deciding whether the damage is more than that amount.

Here are 3 simple steps you should take when filing a claim for storage units:

  1. Make a list of the items that were destroyed, stolen or damaged, along with each item’s value
  2. Document and take photos of any damage done to your belongings and if items are missing, make a copy of the inventory list and photos you made when you placed them in storage, marking the ones that are missing
  3. Contact your insurance company and notify them of the loss or damage from your storage unit, along with the police if theft or vandalism is involved

In most cases, your homeowners insurance company will send a claims adjuster to assess the loss or damage. If you have receipts or appraisals of the items you may be filing a claim on, make copies and give them to the adjuster.

Are There Other Types Of Coverage Available For Storage Units?

Yes, and it might be a wise move to take advantage of them. Let me explain why. Most home insurers only cover a small percentage for personal belongings in storage units, because they’re off-premises, away from your home. A ten percent coverage amount–a percentage of what your home is insured for–is pretty common in those circumstances. That isn’t much, depending on what you have in storage.

Many homeowners purchase a separate policy for additional coverage of storage units, or an endorsement, which also pays above and beyond what your standard policy covers.

It depends on the value of what you have in storage, and what it would cost to replace these personal belongings.



Can you buy separate insurance coverage for storage units?

Yes, you can get separate coverage for storage units. You may also be able to purchase an endorsement to your home insurance policy that will cover storage units. You’ll need to weigh the cost of any added coverage to your existing policy and then decide if the additional cost is worth the expense.

For coverage of about $4,000 or less, premiums generally range from $6-$16 monthly. For more coverage of approximately $10,000, premiums are typically between $18 to $38 per month.

Does a standard home insurance policy cover storage units?

Yes, it does, with some exclusions. The main exclusions are floods and earthquakes, which are not covered by most standard home insurers.

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