Over the past 10 years, tens of thousands of people have relocated to the Las Vegas Valley—and many of them are doing so at retirement age. For some retirees, it’s a time for downsizing their homes. And with less space for cherished items, many are discovering the benefits of renting local self-storage units.
In fact, Greg Welsh, vice president of the nonprofit Nevada Self Storage Association, estimates that eight to 10 percent of storage space rentals in the Las Vegas area are for retirees. “These retired individuals go to live with relatives, or move from a house to an apartment,” he says.
If you fall into that group, consider these tips from the nonprofit Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), which explains how your renters or homeowners insurance impacts the personal property you may be storing in one of these units:
Off-premises protection. Personal property coverage, as part of a homeowners or renters policy, typically extends protection for your belongings when they’re off-site—in a storage unit, for example.The I.I.I. says that storage facilities often require you to maintain insurance for the full replacement cost of the contents in your storage room (vs. actual cash value, which would pay to replace the possessions minus the cost of depreciation). Many storage facilities offer insurance, but, since a typical homeowners policy often includes off-premises coverage, your insurance might already cover the contents in storage. In this case, the storage facility may ask to see a copy of your policy.
Covered losses. A typical homeowners insurance policy may offer protection against theft, as well as damage from fires, tornadoes, and other disasters listed in the policy. Policies normally do not cover damage from earthquakes, flooding, mildew and mold, poor maintenance, or vermin, according to the I.I.I.
Potential coverage limits. Many storage facilities limit the value of property that you can store there, up to an assigned value of $20,000, according to the I.I.I. If your property is worth more than that, ask the storage facility about increasing the assigned value. Also, the I.I.I. says your insurer may limit off-premises coverage for personal possessions to 10 percent of your overall homeowners coverage. Check with your agent to determine the amount of coverage available for your belongings when they are located in a storage unit.
Additional coverage for high value items. An endorsement, or floater, can be added to your standard policy to offer additional coverage for items such as antiques, jewelry, furs or works of art. Some items’ storage options or requirements may have insurance implications. For example, the I.I.I. says storing jewelry in a bank safe deposit box, instead of a storage facility, may lower the cost of insuring that item. For items such as works of art that need specific humidity and temperature levels, specialized storage facilities may offer the best protection.
Once you’ve decided on the best coverage for your items in storage, make an inventory of the belongings. Knowing exactly what you own can help the claims process in the event of a loss. Using a digital tool or checklist can help keep track of pertinent information, such as the purchase date, price and serial number, and can help streamline the process if you ever have to make a claim.