When you get into the details on every single industry, you’ll find that there are quite a few details to think about. For example, when we talk about the running of a storage facility; the operational logistics and bureaucracy can be quite overwhelming. And one of the things owners of said facilities sometimes forget about is - you need to protect your storage facility from lawsuits. Remember - running such an operation can be lucrative, but the worth of your business may be turned against you if you end up entangled in a costly lawsuit. That’s why we’ve prepared a reminder on some of the things people forget to do to prevent lawsuits against their businesses!
Misunderstanding Insurance Coverage
In this day and age, insurance is something everyone needs to think about. Whether you’re just moving in Garland area and looking for storage options, or you’re the owner of a self-storage facility; you want to think about different kinds of insurance. But as the owner of a business who’s looking to protect your storage facility from lawsuits, coming to terms with the details of your business insurance policy is extremely crucial. For example - do you completely understand the coverage of your insurance policy? And what do you know about the insurance providers?
The latter is especially important because you only want to get insurance from a company that specializes in representing storage facilities. Otherwise, your business insurance may contain gaping holes that leave you open to lawsuits down the line. And unfortunately, business owners only tend to learn of these holes once the lawsuit happens.
You’ll find that the storage and moving industries are extremely closely intertwined; people mostly look for temporary storage while they’re relocating to new homes. That’s why the volume of business that companies have directly affects the number of customers storage facilities have. And sure, more clients means higher profits, but depending on how much you’ve done to protect your storage facility from lawsuits, it may also mean higher lawsuit risks.
Generally, storage facility owners can be in a situation to defend against a lawsuit for damages or losses a couple of times a year. And this is especially true if the aforementioned owners don’t have an insurance policy with components on disposal and no wrongful-sale. Without having such coverage, you’re simply not managing your business responsibly.
"We’d recommend considering other types of coverage, such as those for cyber liability, employee dishonesty, and possibly business interruption. "
Seeing as every single business is different, even in the storage niche, it would be best to just hire a reputable insurance company that has experience with the storage industry to conduct an insurance review.
Accidental Bailment Creation
Many storage companies offer self-storage options, which are very practical for both parties. The beauty of such an agreement is that you, as a store owner, are just renting the storage space to your tenant, while they lock the storage unit using their own locks, and they keep the keys. And if something goes awry in the unit itself, you’ve got no liability as the owner of the storage, since you had no way of influencing the conditions inside.
However, if you don’t take precautions to protect your storage facility from lawsuits, there are problems that can appear in this scenario as well. That’s why we recommend thinking through all of the possible lawsuit scenarios; zero liability is one of the great myths about self-storage. Possible liability can occur with:
- Alleged business negligence
- Accusations of theft
- Vehicle storage issues
Troubles for the operators can first happen due to the place where the key for a storage unit is kept. There is more than one way in which issues may happen in this scenario. Firstly, a tenant of a storage unit may allege that the operator had knowledge of some unit malfunction or of something going wrong inside, like a leak, and that the operator should have made a bigger effort to correct the issue - the basic premise of business negligence.
On the other hand, a tenant may make an accusation that the storage operator has taken something from the storage unit; seeing as they believe something is missing, and only they and the operator have the key to the storage space.
" When you, as an operator, are the only person other than the tenant who has access, you won’t be able to do much to protect your storage facility from lawsuits."
That’s something you’ll want to avoid, as it won’t be easy to stay ahead of your competitors if you’re constantly waist-deep in negligence lawsuits. And seeing as some customers may have lapses in judgment and/or memory, you’ll only be creating an unneeded bailment.
Thirdly, if your company offers services for outdoor storage of vehicles, you could end up in a similar predicament. With this in mind, you should draw up a different rental agreement for such a specific service. And make sure that your insurance provider knows about you offering such services, so they can adjust your coverage accordingly.
As you can see, there are plenty of things you can do to protect your storage facility from lawsuits. But it’s pretty crucial to realize one important aspect of this - these aren’t just things that you can do, but things you absolutely must do. Lawsuits can cost any business a lot of money and, perhaps even more importantly, time. And that’s the time you could otherwise spend doing many other things to improve your business. So, take all the needed precautions to keep lawsuits at bay right from the start.