Finding a self storage facility is easy. There are a large number of secure, convenient, and well-maintained properties for you to choose from. However, finding the right facility for your specific needs takes a bit of research. Ask the right questions, look for layers of security, and make sure you tour the property. It’s vital that your belongings are well-protected from theft, vandalism, and other unforeseen events.
That being said, even with the most secure, amenity-rich facilities, the unexpected happens. Be prepared to mitigate your risk with self storage insurance and a tenant protection plan. A Storage Shield tenant protection gives you the peace of mind that you’ll be reimbursed for the cost of replacing your damaged or stolen items up to the dollar amount you choose. For more detailed information read The Benefits of a Tenant Protection Plan.
Your self storage facility will have the systems and protocols in place to safeguard your possessions. However, there are things that you can do to proactively protect your belongings. It’s a team effort.
What You Can Do to Keep Your Belongings Safe in Your Self Storage Unit
Despite everyone’s best intentions, sometimes a customer can mistakenly do things that make their storage unit more vulnerable to theft and vandalism.
Purchase the Best Lock That is Within Your Budget
The purpose of a lock is to deter a quick, unplanned theft. This type of criminal will look for subpar locks that are easily snipped with bolt cutters. Look for a strong lock that is resistant to cutting and does not have a long shackle (the loop that goes through the lock hardware).
A disc or cylinder lock is recommended.
Don’t Share Keys or Access Codes
Unless it’s a trusted family member or spouse, think carefully about sharing your access codes or keys with anyone. When there is a theft, occasionally a friend or even a family member can be the culprit. Even with keyless Bluetooth access, it can be tempting to give a friend temporary access to drop off or retrieve something from your unit. Think twice about doing that, and don’t discuss the contents of your unit with anyone except close family.
Keep a Current Inventory of Your Stored Items
Think about whether you’ll remember every item in your storage unit a year from now. You probably can’t even remember what you had for lunch today. An accurate inventory of your stored items, along with clear photographs, will be invaluable to you, your insurance company, and the self storage facility if an item is missing or destroyed. Remember to add the serial numbers of any electronic equipment to this list.
Choose Indoor Storage
If it fits your space and budget needs, consider choosing a unit that is located inside a storage building. This gives you the benefit of an extra layer of protection because these buildings are typically protected with keypad access.
Don’t Keep Prohibited Items in Your Storage Unit
Items that you are not permitted to store are threats not only to the security of your personal belongings but the contents of the entire facility.
Hazardous, flammable, and explosive items are prohibited. The following list provides some examples.
Perishable items, including pet food, are not permitted in your unit. They will attract bugs and rodents and encourage mold and mildew growth.
Check Insurance Coverage
At many facilities, you’ll need to show proof of homeowner’s or renter’s insurance that explicitly covers the contents of your storage unit. Check with your agent to be assured that you have “off-premises” coverage for your belongings. If not, you may need to purchase self storage insurance.
Add a Tenant Protection Plan
A tenant protection plan gives you an extra layer of protection. It’s not insurance but a contract between you and the self-storage facility. There are no deductibles, and protection plan fees are conveniently collected along with your monthly rent. Talk to your facility manager for more information and check Storage Shield for details.
The Bottom Line
Most storage facilities are safe, secure and do a thorough job of protecting your possessions, but it’s a team effort. Doing your part to keep your belongings safe will lower the risk of an unexpected loss and the regret that comes with it.