Does renters insurance cover storage units?

Renters insurance covers possessions in storage units up to your policy's off-premises coverage limit. Get a free renters insurance quote to protect your belongings today.

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Kristine Lee

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Kristine is a licensed insurance agent who joined The Zebra in 2019 as an in-house content researcher and writer. Before joining The Zebra, she was a…

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Does renters insurance cover personal property in a storage unit?

Yes — renters insurance typically covers any personal property stored in a storage unit, up to 10% of your total personal property limit, with some exclusions. Depending on the type and value of the property you're storing, you might also need to add an endorsement or opt to purchase storage unit insurance from your self-storage supplier.

Read on to learn about the nuances of renters insurance and storage units.

Key Takeaways:

  • Renters insurance usually covers up to 10% of your total personal property coverage amount
  • Consider additional storage unit insurance if your renters policy excludes risks like fire or if your stored items exceed coverage limits
  • Some storage facilities may require added insurance for your items' protection
  • Calculate how much extra coverage needed by gauging the gap between your renters insurance off-premises limit and the value of your stored belongings

Renters coverage and storage units

Renters insurance typically includes "off-premises coverage", which means your belongings are protected not only within your home but also when located elsewhere, such as in a storage unit. However, most policies limit coverage for belongings outside of your residence to a set dollar value or to 10% of your total personal property coverage.

Example: If you have $25,000 of personal property covered by your renters insurance policy, coverage for items outside of your residence would total $2,500. The maximum amount you would recoup for a total loss of your storage unit's belongings would be $2,500, minus your deductible.

A few other factors to consider include:

  • Does your renters policy cover only theft from storage units? It is not uncommon for your non-residence personal property coverage to be limited to theft only. If this applies to your belongings, you would not receive coverage for fire, vandalism, or other perils unrelated to theft. 
  • What is your liability sub-limit? This is how your insurance company may limit coverage for valuable items. Insurance companies may cap coverage for valuable items unless you add — and pay for — a special endorsement. Below are typical examples of items with limited coverage.
two guys moving boxes into storage unit

Your options if your valuables exceed your off-premises limit:

1. Raise your personal property coverage limit. This raises your off-premises coverage limit which is often a percentage of your overall personal property coverage limit.

2. Add an endorsement for off-premises coverage. This may raise your premium but could be worthwhile for valuable items.

3. Get storage unit insurance. This is offered and sometimes required by storage companies.

Personal property sub-limits
Sub-limit Property Limitations
$200 Money, coins, gold  
$1,500 Jewelry, watches, furs Theft only
$1,500 Watercraft, trailers Theft only
$2,500 Firearms  
$2,500 Silverware  
$2,500 Business property On-premises
$500 Business property Off-premises
Varies Electronics

If you’re storing items like the above, speak to your insurance company to confirm coverage. Depending on the insurance company's policies, you might be able to add an endorsement for off-premises coverage. Otherwise, you should explore the specific storage coverage below.


The Zebra's recommendation for storage insurance

We partner with Lemonade to provide affordable renters policies starting at only $5 per month. If you reside in California, Connecticut, Florida, New York or Virginia, they will cover your storage unit property at 10% of your policy's personal property coverage limit (up to $1,000). In the other 23 states they cover, the amount is limited to $1,000.

Lemonade also advises policyholders to document all items in storage with photos and details for potential future claims. See below for more specific details about Lemonade's coverage for storage units.

How does Lemonade cover stored personal belongings?
Coverage Aspect Lemonade's Approach
Basic Coverage Lemonade's renters insurance provides coverage for items in storage units, but it might not cover their full value.
Coverage Limitations - NY, CA, CT, VA, FL: Coverage is up to 10% of the policy's personal property coverage or $1,000, whichever is higher.
- Other states: The coverage limit is strictly $1,000.
Perils Covered Items in storage are protected against the same risks as items at home, such as fire, theft, vandalism, and certain types of water damage.
Moving or Renovating If you're moving and your Lemonade Renters policy for the previous address is still active, it may cover items in storage during the transition.


Need a Renters Insurance Quote?


Of course, The Zebra partners with many other companies that sell renters insurance. Our in-house agents would be happy to talk you through your options. Feel free to call us at 1.888.255.4364 for assistance. 


Do all storage units require insurance?

No — not all storage units will require additional storage unit insurance. However, many do. Here's why: requiring storage unit insurance as a rental condition not only ensures the protection of the renter's belongings in case of damage or loss but also clarifies responsibility for accidents or damages, reducing potential disputes between the renter and the storage company.

magnifying glass over question mark
Which storage companies require insurance?

CubeSmart, IStorage, Life Storage, Simply Self Storage, Extra Space Storage, Public Storage, and U-Haul all require insurance. However, the required coverage can vary from company to company as well as from one sized unit to another.


Should I purchase storage unit insurance?

Additional storage unit insurance is usually worth it if your renters insurance doesn't sufficiently cover your stored possessions. You want to make sure your policy does not exclude certain risks (e.g. fire) and that the value of your stored belongings does not exceed your personal property limit or relevant sub-limits (see the above table). This will help you avoid any surprises should you ever need to file a claim.

It's worth noting that additional coverage might not be optional as it is a common practice for self-storage companies to require you to purchase storage insurance. Below are helpful questions worth considering when deciding whether to purchase additional storage coverage.


What perils are covered?

Some insurance policies limit off-residence coverage to theft only. If your storage unit burns down, floods, or is otherwise impacted by something other than theft, you would be left without coverage.

Look for storage facility insurance that covers:

  • Water 
  • Flood 
  • Fire
  • Smoke
  • Hail 
  • Lightning
  • Vandalism 
  • Theft
  • Vermin/insect infestation 
  • Fungus/mold  
  • Business property coverage 

Before buying storage coverage, check the policy details to see what is and is not covered. If your contents will be vulnerable, consider an additional storage policy.

 

How much coverage do you need?

If your off-premises protection is limited to 10% — or an even lower dollar amount — of your total personal property amount, weigh how much storage insurance you need to fill in your coverage gap. For example, your personal property is limited to $5,000 for off-residence contents. If you have $15,000 of personal belongings in your storage unit, you should buy $10,000 worth of coverage.

 

What is not covered by storage insurance?

Check the policy details of your storage coverage. Some policies will exclude coverage of particularly valuable items such as deeds, money, jewelry, watches, furs, and other valuable items. For these items, consider adding an additional endorsement to your renters policy.


Who has the best renters insurance for storage units?

Most renters insurance companies will offer some sort of coverage for items stored away from your residence. However, each will have its own specific requirements — which may also vary by state.

You have multiple options for obtaining a renters insurance policy online. Lemonade, a newer insurance provider in the US, offers customizable coverage without the typical extra fees associated with traditional insurance companies. Get a free quote from Lemonade to get started.


Storage tips and additional resources

Explore the following tips to keep your personal belongings safe in storage units.

woman smelling weird smell
Ensure the storage unit is clean and secure

Opt for climate-controlled units and check for gaps/cracks in the floor. Look for signs of pests such as rodent droppings and visible insects. Check out the locks (disc locks tend to offer more security), ensure the facility is well-lit, and ask about security measures such as on-site personnel and security cameras.

wallet
Do not store high-value items

Avoid storing jewelry, important paperwork, furs, cash, etc. in storage as they are generally excluded from your storage coverage.

rain
Prevent mold and mildew by storing items on a pallet and avoiding plastic bags

Pallets encourage ventilation and protect your items from contaminants on the ground. Avoid plastic bags because they can trap moisture causing mold or mildew growth within the bags.

inventory checklist
Keep an inventory

Catalog the items in your storage unit. This will keep your personal items organized and help expedite claims. See our guide on how to make a home inventory for a list of apps and additional tips that can make the process easier.


Does renters insurance cover storage units FAQs

Yes! Your renters insurance policy's off-premises coverage will cover your belongings in storage units up to the limit stated on your policy, usually 10% of your total personal property limit. If your valuables exceed your off-premises limit, you may need to add an endorsement or purchase storage unit insurance through the storage company.

While not legally required like auto insurance, most storage units will require you to have storage unit insurance before signing your storage unit rental agreement. This not only guarantees the safety of your possessions but also clarifies who is responsible for accidents or damages, thus lowering the likelihood of conflicts between renters and the storage company.

Rodent or pest damage is typically not covered by renters insurance as that is considered preventable damage. It's always a good idea to ensure the storage facility you're using is clean and well-maintained before signing your storage unit rental agreement.


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