Self-Storage Customers Should Plan for the Unexpected

May 18, 2017

New Yorkers know that when living space becomes cramped due to an overabundance of stuff, it’s not always an affordable option to find a bigger place to live. Self-storage is an easy solution to add more square footage to one’s lifestyle. According to the Better Business Bureau Serving Metropolitan New York, a little research and planning can help save money and avoid unpleasant surprises for self-storage users.

Renting a self-storage unit is a convenient way to store furnishings temporarily when moving or renovating a home, or if hobby or sports equipment is taking up too much space. Some consumers may think fitting their belongings into the rented space will be their biggest challenge. But another pitfall that consumers may not have considered is the possibility of damage to, or loss of, their property at the chosen facility. 

Destructive events like a flood or fire, or even property theft or pest infestation, can ruin or wipe out the contents of a storage unit. The results of such a catastrophe can be devastating and expensive, especially if the consumer doesn't have the appropriate insurance to cover the loss of the possessions.

According to the Self Storage Association, 10.85 million or 9.5% of U.S. households rented a self-storage unit in 2013, and there are approximately 49,000 such facilities in the U.S. at this time. Before making the commitment to house one's belongings at a self-storage facility, Metro NY BBB recommends doing your homework, offering these tips to help protect the value of your property:

  • Ask your insurance company what is covered under your homeowner or renter's insurance.
      - Be sure to note what deductibles and policy limitations apply.
  • Consider an umbrella policy for valuable items not sufficiently covered.
  • Find out if the storage facility is acting as an agent for an authorized insurer to offer personal effects insurance. 
      - You are entitled to receive written materials which should provide the name of the authorized insurer and clearly spell out the material terms of coverage.
      - Be aware of any caps in the coverage offered through the self-storage facility.
      - Self-storage customers may cancel this type of personal effects insurance at any time and receive a refund of any unearned premium.
      - To learn more about your legal rights in New York State regarding self-storage insurance, contact the New York State Department of Financial Services.
  • Request a full explanation of the storage company's security procedures and monitoring systems.
      - Be sure the facility can demonstrate how they are compliant with fire and safety regulations.
      - Ask about any prior flooding or other damage problems in the facility.
  • Inquire whether the company provides pest/extermination treatments of its facility.

Before choosing a self-storage facility, check out the company’s Business Profile at to help find a trustworthy business.

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping consumers find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 170 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 106 regional, independent BBBs across North America, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution and industry self-regulation.  The BBB Serving Metropolitan New York was founded in 1922.  Please visit or for more information.