There are many good reasons to keep personal items in an off-site storage unit: you may need extra storage, be in the midst of a move, need to store items for a child in college or a number of other possibilities. But when your valuables are not under your roof, you may wonder whether your homeowners insurance policy still covers them. Before getting into the details, we can let you know that most policies will, in fact, have at least some coverage for these items kept in storage units.
Personal Property coverage
The reason your belongings kept in storage units off site are still covered is because homeowners insurance policies cover “personal property.” In a breakdown of the typical policy, put together by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, they listed personal property as one of the six covered areas.
The definition of “personal property coverage” that they give even specifically states that this covers off-site storage units, saying it “Reimburses you for the value of your possessions, including furniture, electronics, appliances and clothing, damaged or lost even when they aren’t on your property, such as those at an off-site storage locker or with your child at college.”
Off-site claims are lower
While your personal property is covered, it isn’t covered at the same level as the home itself. In fact, it is usually covered at 80% of the dwelling coverage limit. So, if your home itself has a $100,000 coverage limit, your personal property would only be covered up to $80,000.
Then, if that personal property is off-site, not in your home, that $80,000 of coverage is dropped further, often to one-tenth of the usual personal property coverage. This means a person with a $100,000 dwelling coverage limit may only have a $8,000 coverage limit for personal property being stored off-site.
It also depends what the “peril” (which is the insurance term for “what went wrong”) was that caused the loss of the property. Certain perils, like theft and fire, are generally covered; while others, like flooding or neglect, will not be.
Getting more coverage
If you have items in storage that add up to more than what off-site personal property coverage from your homeowners insurance will pay for, you can choose to get more insurance to cover them. If you don’t, realize that that hypothetical $8,000 limit, which is a fairly typical amount, can very quickly be reached if you have expensive jewelry, designer clothing, hi-tech gadgets and other high-price items in a storage unit.
One type of extra coverage for this is called scheduled personal property coverage, also sometimes called itemized personal property coverage. With this coverage, you itemize each piece of property you want covered, telling your insurance company how much it’s worth and other information about it.
Another way to get extra coverage is through the storage facility itself. Some storage facilities actually require that you have some kind of insurance covering the items you store. And if you don’t have any, or enough, they are often happy to provide some. These policies may not be as favorable as ones you can find yourself, though, so it’s always smart to speak to an insurance agent who can lay out your options more fully.
One trusted insurance company where you can get more information about homeowners insurance, scheduled personal property insurance and many other policies, is Winstead Insurance in Elkton, Maryland. We can be reached at (410) 398-6700 and are always ready to help you find the best coverage for your needs.