Do I Need Insurance for My Storage Unit?

At a glance

Storage unit companies almost always require insurance, but coverage options can vary from one company to another. The most common ways to gain coverage are to:

  1. Purchase insurance from the storage facility.
  2. Use your own coverage.
  3. Go through a third party.

Do I need insurance for my storage unit?

Yes, most storage unit companies require insurance to rent a storage unit. However, there are rare exceptions. For example, Public Storage told us insurance requirements vary depending upon the specific unit you rent. But in most cases, you must have insurance to rent a unit.

Insurance requirements by storage unit company

CompanyInsurance required
CubeSmart✔ Yes
iStorage✔ Yes
Life Storage✔ Yes
Simply Self Storage✔ Yes
Extra Space Storage✔ Yes
Public StorageSometimes
U-Haul Self Storage✔ Yes
Company
CubeSmart
iStorage
Life Storage
Simply Self Storage
Extra Space Storage
Public Storage
U-Haul Self Storage
Insurance required
✔ Yes
✔ Yes
✔ Yes
✔ Yes
✔ Yes
Sometimes
✔ Yes

Data as of 2/1/21. Availability and requirements may vary by location.

Why do I need storage unit insurance?

You need storage unit insurance (sometimes called tenant insurance) for the same reason you need homeowners insurance: things can go wrong. Insurance protects you against things like floods, fires, and break-ins. Plus, most companies won’t let you rent a storage unit without it.

Megaphone

BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY

BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY

While it’s a hassle to replace personal property like furniture and artwork (and no amount of money can replace grandpa’s antique stopwatch), insurance helps with the sting if your stored belongings are stolen or damaged.

What does storage unit insurance cover?

What is covered?

Storage unit insurance coverage varies from place to place, so it’s essential to ask for details. Most policies generally cover your personal belongings against several kinds of loss or damage:1

  • Explosion
  • Fire or lightning
  • Riot or civil commotion
  • Smoke
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Windstorm or hail

What isn’t covered?

Standard policies do not typically cover your belongings in the case of floods, earthquakes, or mudslides. Consider purchasing additional insurance for natural disasters if you live in an area where these things are more likely to happen.

Little pin

PRO TIP: ASK ABOUT EXTRA INSURANCE

PRO TIP: ASK ABOUT EXTRA INSURANCE

Be proactive when it comes to insurance. Storage unit companies don’t always ask if you want additional insurance for natural disasters.

What about coverage limits?

The coverage limits on your storage unit insurance aren’t always the same as your homeowners insurance or renters insurance. Pay attention to three basic issues:

  1. Your personal insurance. While your insurance often covers stored belongings, the coverage limit can sometimes be lower than it is for belongings at your home. For example, your homeowners insurance may provide $20,000 worth of coverage for items at your home, but only $2,000 if you keep them at a storage unit. Check with your insurance agent for more info.
  2. Your storage unit insurance. Most storage unit companies offer different levels of insurance protection. For example, while a storage facility may cap your coverage at $10,000 for $10 per month, you can often increase the coverage limits by paying a higher monthly fee.
  3. Additional insurance. A storage unit probably isn’t the best place for a million-dollar Van Gogh painting. But if that’s your thing, don’t expect basic insurance to meet your needs. It’s a good idea to purchase additional coverage if you plan to store high-value items.

What are my storage unit insurance options?

Almost all storage unit companies require you to insure your belongings. Your options vary from company to company but typically boil down to three choices:

  1. The storage unit company’s insurance. Most of the storage unit companies we talked to offer in-house insurance. That means you pay the storage unit company to store your belongings—and insure them.
  2. Your own insurance. Many storage unit companies allow you to use your personal homeowners insurance or renters insurance. Just be aware that you’ll need to provide proof of insurance (your insurance agent can send you another copy if you can’t find it).
  3. A third party’s insurance. Sometimes a storage unit facility can connect you with a third party for your storage insurance needs. You usually see this only when the self-storage facility doesn’t have an in-house insurance option.

Should I buy the storage unit company’s insurance?

There are several things to consider before purchasing a storage facility’s insurance. We recommend you go through this basic list of questions to see if you should consider the storage facility’s insurance:

Is it required?

Some storage unit companies insist you use their insurance and put up a fight if you try to use your own. Your choice may come down to purchasing their insurance or finding another company. While you should do what you feel most comfortable with, we think it’s a sign of poor customer service if the company doesn’t allow you to use your homeowners insurance or renters insurance.

Is the storage unit company’s insurance better than your personal insurance?

Compare your personal insurance with the coverage offered by the storage unit company. Shop around. If you’d go to two or three stores to find the best deal on a pair of pants, you probably want to do the same for tenant insurance. Look for the option that has the most coverage at the lowest price.

Is it affordable?

Check to see if the storage unit company’s coverage sounds reasonable. If you’re not sure what a good rate is, call up your insurance agent. A quick, five-minute phone call can help you determine if the insurance is affordable—or a ripoff.

Is it adequate?

Make sure the storage unit company’s insurance meets your needs. Pay attention to what’s covered—and what the coverage limits are. For example, if a storage unit company doesn’t cover jewelry (or has a low jewelry coverage limit), then it’s probably not the best option for your necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.

Is it sketchy?

Sometimes a storage unit’s insurance will leave out important coverage options like items that go missing or belongings damaged by rodents. If the details of your coverage plan seem terrible, they probably are.

What else should I know about storage unit insurance?

The best storage facilities keep your stuff so safe that you never have to file an insurance claim. Be on the lookout for a storage unit company that makes safety a priority. You can check out Move.org’s Best Self-Storage Companies if you need a place to start.

The Insurance Information Institute also has a checklist to help you find a safe storage facility:2

  • Basic security. Theft can be a concern for storage unit renters. Look for a storage unit company with fencing and an electronic keypad at the entrance. Ask the on-site manager whether the company uses surveillance cameras. It can be easier to file a successful insurance claim if you have video proof of what went wrong.
  • Climate control. Not everyone needs a unit with heating and air conditioning, but extreme temperatures can damage items like furniture and appliances. Climate-controlled units take this off your list of things to worry about.
  • In-house insurance. It’s a good sign if a storage unit company accepts your personal insurance and sells its own coverage. Avoid companies that make you jump through hoops to insure your belongings.
  • Cleanliness. Security probably isn’t top-notch at a company that doesn’t even clean up its trash. If a storage unit facility looks like a dive, it’s probably best to head on down the road and find another option. Dirty facilities are also more likely to have pests that munch on clothes and cardboard.

Storage unit insurance FAQ

Do storage unit companies offer insurance?

Yes, most storage unit companies offer insurance. However, policy details and storage coverage limits vary, so be sure to check your contract before signing on the dotted line.

Does my homeowners insurance policy cover storage units?

Your homeowners insurance policy often covers storage units, but it’s important to check with your insurance agent to be sure. It also helps to know that your homeowners insurance policy sometimes has lower coverage limits for stored belongings.

What is renters insurance?

Renters insurance protects you and your belongings if you rent (rather than own) the place where you live.

What is tenant insurance?

Tenant insurance is another name for renters insurance. It applies both to a place you rent to store your personal belongings (like a storage unit) and a place you rent to live (like an apartment or condo).

Does storage unit insurance cover my personal property?

Yes, storage unit insurance covers your personal property. However, details vary from one storage company to another. Check with your storage unit company or insurance agent to see if your particular belongings are on the list.

Can I purchase insurance at a self-storage facility?

Yes, you can purchase insurance at most self-storage facilities—including companies rated highly by Move.org like Extra Space Storage and CubeSmart.

About Kurt Manwaring

Kurt Manwaring
Kurt Manwaring brings nearly a decade’s worth of research experience as a business consultant to the Move.org team. He specializes in taking complicated issues (like moving) and presenting them in a way that everyone can understand. His writing has been featured in hundreds of publications, including USA Today, Country Living, Good Housekeeping, Heavy, Slate, and Yahoo! Lifestyle. He would love to hear about your moving experiences and questions at kurt@move.org.