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Do I need insurance for my storage unit?

Consumer Reports News: April 01, 2013 12:38 PM

Q: A storage-company rep told a friend that he had to purchase storage insurance to cover what he keeps there. But his agent says he's covered by his homeowners policy. Does he need the extra coverage? —J.F., Dumont, N.J.

A: It depends. Homeowners and renters insurance typically protect possessions outside the home for up to 10 percent of your total coverage, though deductibles and policy limitations apply. Storage insurance, offered by the storage facilities themselves or by third parties, might provide additional coverage, which is why your friend might want to compare his homeowners insurance policy with several storage plans, not just the one his storage facility may be offering. The ones that we reviewed pay the replacement value for items that are damaged or stolen, but there are limitations and restrictions in the plans.

Naturally the cost of a storage plan varies by the amount of coverage you choose. One we looked at charged monthly rates of $5 for $1,000 of coverage, or $240 for $75,000. Before buying any plan, your friend should check online for customer reviews and find out if the plan provider has a report at the Better Business Bureau.

Check out Consumer Reports' buying advice on homeowners' insurance to find the best policies for your needs.

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