Every successful storage facility owner agrees that having the right insurance coverage is the best way to protect your storage business. In this fast-growing industry, new facilities are popping up every day thanks to a high demand. Over the past two decades, the self-storage industry has seen a considerable rise. Although profitable and rewarding, owning a storage business involves various risks. Unfortunately, many facility owners underestimate the importance of insuring storage facilities. Ignoring the importance of insurance in storage facility business can lead to huge financial losses. Therefore, it would be foolish not to protect your investment.
Why should you insure your storage facility?
The owner of a storage facility isn’t directly responsible for the goods their clients store in their units. Still, if your client’s property became damaged or went missing while stored in your facility, they would probably complain and attempt to hold you responsible.
’’Fire, flood, and vandalism are three common risk factors that could result in a liability lawsuit.’’
Unless they are willing to risk their reputation and place themselves in financial jeopardy, storage facility owners must acknowledge the importance of insurance in storage facility business.
Insurance in storage facility business – what are your options?
Due to the specific risks they are exposed to, storage facilities have unique insurance needs. Meeting those needs is of utmost importance.
’’With the help of capable professionals, agents and carriers specializing in the storage industry, you can create a policy to meet your specific needs.’’
The first step to meeting your business’ insurance requirements is getting familiar with your options. These are a few of your basic options.
General types of coverage
Buildings and business-personal insurance
The most well-known and vital types of insurance coverage are buildings and business-personal property and commercial-business liability. These are the pillars of a quality insurance policy. Buildings and business-personal property are basic types of coverage for any property-related insurance claims.
Building insurance insures the physical aspects of your facility. Storage facilities typically consist of multiple buildings; then, there are fences, gates, and other physical parts. This type of coverage protects you from natural disasters, fires, vandalism, and similar factors that might cause serious damage to the physical aspects of your storage facility.
Business-personal property insurance covers the owner’s personal belongings. Computers and other electronics, furniture, paper documents… everything is protected by this type of insurance.
Another important and common coverage is commercial-business liability. Commercial-business liability covers bodily injuries (slips, falls and trips) or property damage caused by facility operation. With the right commercial-business liability limit, you won’t have to pay for the claims that may result from these incidents.
Business-income (business-interruption or extra-expense) coverage is supposed to minimize further risk in the event of a loss. If your storage facility suffers a covered loss, that incident may cause an indirect loss of income or profit. In addition, there will be many ongoing expenses you’ll have to pay for during this period. Getting your storage business back on its feet may incur some additional costs, too. With this type of insurance, you will able to cover these costs and continue operating without any disruptions.
Two valuable types of coverage are specifically designed for storage facilities. They are sale and disposal liability and customer-goods legal liability.
Sale and disposal coverage
This type of coverage protects you in case of wrongfully selling, taking, using or destroying someone’s property. For example, if a tenant of yours is evicted for not paying. You are legally allowed to get rid of their goods. Nevertheless, a lawsuit can still be filed against you. Sale and disposal coverage protects your facility and covers the legal costs a lawsuit involves. Therefore, you should definitely consider adding this type of coverage to your insurance portfolio.
Customer-goods legal liability
This type covers claims arising from loss/damage to the property your renters store. The owner of a storage facility is not responsible for their tenants’ belongings, which should be clearly stated in the lease they sign. Your only job is to provide rental space. Still, you might have to deal with difficult tenants and certain situations might create some liability. In those situations, claims against your facility may arise.
For example, if a tenant’s belongings suffer damage due to the facility’s poor maintenance, which is the owner’s fault. In that case, the owner may be accused of negligence. Or, perhaps your clients were moving all the way from New York to the West Coast and their items got damaged in transit, and now they want to hold you responsible for the damage. This kind of insurance covers your costs in case they file a claim, whether it turns out to be groundless or not.
When thinking about the importance of insurance in storage facility business and the most common risk factors, pollution isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind. Unfortunately, there are many pollution-related risks storage owners aren’t even aware of.
The risk of pollution incidents makes storage owners susceptible to huge expenses. Examples include leaks from vehicles, toxic chemicals and other substances that are stored illegally, and oil drums. Storing such items may lead to a disaster that will cost you an arm and a leg. Pollution is a hazard few standard insurance policies include. Although often ignored, pollution liability is a very important type of coverage that can provide additional security and save your business in case of pollution damage.
There you have it. These were your basic types of coverage.
What you can do to get the most out of your insurance policy is be proactive. The best way to prevent and discourage claims and protect your storage business is:
- Following all state laws;
- Having a well-written lease;
- Following general maintenance procedures;
- Staying up-to-date with the latest developments in the storage industry.
That said, no matter how diligent and proactive you are as an owner, accidents will occur. However, with the right coverage in place, you will always have peace of mind. That says a lot about the importance of insurance in storage facility business.