What’s in Store for the Stuff You Store?

It’s a kickback Wednesday night. Relax, grab the Oreos you hid from your kids behind the flour and watch some mindless TV. Next thing you know, you’re checking out A&E’s hit show, “Storage Wars.”  What a wacky idea—people buying stuff out of abandoned storage lockers almost sight unseen.

But you’re hooked and can’t wait to see what the “winners” get for their investment. It could be an ugly, green couch circa 1979. Or a monstrous, antique lamp like the one your grandmother left you. Then it hits you: How much is my stuff worth? Am I protected if it’s damaged or stolen?

You never know what’s in store for the stuff you store. Let’s face it—many of us have more things than places to put them. It’s hard to part with those stacks of disco-era records or boxes of dog-eared comic books and magazines. Stuff doesn’t just “happen”—it seems to magically reproduce over the years, filling nearly every nook and cranny of your home (let’s not even bring up that other show on hoarding!).

If you don’t like all of this stuff cluttering your home, you might already have a self-storage unit. You may be surprised to know that you’ve got a lot of company, figuratively speaking. The Self Storage Association reports that one in 10 households in the U.S. rent a self-storage unit. Here’s another thing you probably aren’t aware of: Storage facility owners aren’t obligated to provide insurance coverage. Think of it like leasing an apartment—the landlord simply provides the space for you and your belongings, but it’s on you to insure them.

The Self Storage Association reports that one in 10 households in the U.S. rent a self-storage unit.

Here’s the good news: Your existing home or apartment insurance policy may cover the things you store off-site, but check with your agent to be sure. You may even find out your auto policy will cover storing that old clunker you’re convinced will be a collector’s item if you just hold onto it long enough.

If you’re curious to know what your stuff is really worth, here’s a cool tool to help you find out. And, you can use this mobile app to create an inventory of your stuff. You never know—Grandpa’s collection of old bottles and cans you’ve got stored away could be worth thousands. Remember, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!

Kerri Nguyen is a contributing blogger and Marketing Manager at Allstate Insurance Co.