Storage units have become so important during the pandemic. In a world of supply-disruptions, self-storage looks more and more attractive. The rush to find storage solutions led one man to invest in a storage facility in Durham, Canada. Unfortunately for him, that storage facility was broken into an incredible 76 times through the course of this year. As Toronto-based CTV News reports, this led to quite a battle over who would meet the costs.
The latest break-in into the Valiant Mini Storage facility saw a suspect being caught during the crime and arrested. One of the reasons that self-storage facilities have grown in demand is because during the pandemic, there has been an incredible boom in housing prices. With prices reaching all-time highs, many homeowners have cashed their chips in and sold their homes. During the sale process, many homeowners choose to place their belongings in rented storage units. This is because it makes it easier for buyers to assess the property without the interference of the homeowner’s property. Unfortunately, these storage units are often targets for opportunistic thieves.
The question is, if your storage facility is robbed, who covers the costs? The storage company you rented the storage facility from, or you? It’s this question that is at the heart of CTV News’ piece. The question is fundamentally a question of insurance. When Brian Scholz, featured by CTV News, rented a storage unit to store his goods while his house was being sold, he did not anticipate that it would be broken into. Nevertheless, it was and $1100 worth of belongings were stolen. Since then, he has been in a legal battle with the storage company regarding who pays for what. In his view, the storage company should cover the costs because the property was entrusted to them. In their view, they are not responsible for the costs of any stolen property. Scholz’ case is that the storage company made it easy for his storage facility to be robbed. The thieves unscrewed hex bolts, pushed back the back, got in and stole his belongings. Because, for him, the safety standards were not up to scratch and the storage company was responsible for his belongings, the burden of the costs should be theirs.
Now, when he rented the storage facility from StorageMart in New York, he did not take out corresponding insurance to cover his belongings. So when he reached out to the company, they rejected his claim and said that losses would have to be met by his home insurance policy. Considering that his belongings were no longer “home”, and that his home was being sold, that was clearly a stretch. Even if his property could plausibly come under his house insurance plan, his policy only allows for a $5,000 deductible. This worries him because making a claim might trigger higher premiums.
StorageMart points to their video surveillance, gated properties, and individual locks, as proof that they did everything that could be reasonably expected of them, as proof that the storage facility was indeed adequately protected. They claim that they are following industry-standards. In the end, determined thieves will find a way. It seems that as heart-breaking as Scholz’ claim is, that he failed to properly understand the importance of getting additional insurance to cover his storage facility. Whether you’re renting a fixed storage facility or getting Go Mini’s portable storage container, it’s important to assess your insurance coverage so that you know where you stand in the event that you are robbed.