Why choose Self Storage insurance London Blog
Attic Self Storage
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This thread was brought to our attention by a client, after they had encountered similar problems and then came to us. They suggested we post something so here we go!
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Attic Self Storage is an independent self storage operator, and we are a member of the Self Storage Association of the UK (SSA UK). We regularly compete against the well-known brands, so here are a few home truths when it comes to insurance:
1. It is indeed a requirement of membership of the SSA UK that all client's belongings be insured while in storage
2. It is not obligatory to sell insurance to clients, or for clients to take out the member operator's insurance; but the client MUST be insured, one way or the other
3. All insurance companies despise what they call "uninsured losses", which means losses that occur to people who are not insured. Believe it or not, even though they are not insured, these losses result in claims that the insurance companies then have to spend money fighting off... far better to have the client insured in the first place, and simply assess the claim & then pay out
4. Many of the main multiples insist on clients using their own insurance. They can do this as it is a contract between you & them; you don't have to store with them, if you chose to do so, you will have to abide by their terms & conditions, which means using their insurance
4. Some self storage providers offer you the choice of using their in-house insurance or an external provider. If they do this, they will usually insist on seeing proof of cover, in order to ensure they are abiding by the terms of membership of the SSA UK & the terms of their own insurance cover
Now this is the thing; everyone says their belongings aren't worth much, until there is a claim. Then all of sudden, everyone discovers the contents of their unit are suddenly valuable... Suddenly Great Aunt Mable's vase was in that unit & it's irreplaceable!
Some people ask why are you not covered by the self storage company's own insurance, or indeed why a claim might arise - after all, this is secure storage, right?
Well the answer is that our own insurance will cover clients goods for any loss caused by our direct negligence or wilful neglect, but it won't cover their losses if the building floods, catches fire, or falls down for some other unknown reason. Trees can fall on buildings, cars or trucks run through walls, fires be caused by any number of things, hurricanes or storms rip roofs off, etc etc. We actually include terrorism cover in our client contents insurance as well, so whatever happens, clients are safe in the knowledge that they are covered.
One of the reasons why self storage operators insist on clients taking their in-house insurance is to make sure that clients are properly covered, and to avoid lengthy legal battles between insurance companies and loss adjustors in the event of a claim. Here at Attic, we like to leave the option with our clients, but not all operators will do this, and if they don't I can understand why.
Clients also sometimes ask why they need insurance at all; well, if it's worth storing, it's worth insuring, and as I have written above, in order to avoid uninsured losses, it's better to be covered than to be sorry. This is partly down to the "claim culture" that has developed, and operators need to be careful to make sure they have their backs covered against any potential claims.
What about the cost of the insurance, why is it so much more than quotes from online brokers etc? Well there are one or two new online brokers who are looking to capitalise on this market space and are operating loss-leaders to grow their business and compete with the self storage operators. In addition to that, if we administer the policy and any potential claim that may result, that takes time and administrative hassle and understandably we need to cover our costs in that regard.
Think of it like this; you are spending potentially thousands of pounds on a house move, hundreds (if not thousands) of pounds on self storage, and you aren't happy because someone wants to make sure you are covered if anything happens, and charges you £10, £15, £20 for the privilege? That just doesn't add up.
In the final instance, the best thing to do is to educate yourself on the right questions to ask when you are calling around asking for quotes, and make sure you are comparing like with like. We often get clients who simply don't understand that we are cheaper than our competitors, once you take account of the insurance position, and they go with someone else... only to find they are getting stung for a little more than they had anticipated.
Always ask the following:
1. what is the special offer rate per week, and how long does it last?
2. what is my ongoing rate per week after that?
3. how much will the insurance cost me?
4. do I need to pay a deposit?
5. how do you take payment?
Here's a tip: negotiate. If you are taking a small unit, there isn't much room for manoeuvre but if you rent 100sq ft or more, you might be able to get the insurance thrown in the deal... I shouldn't say this but many people don't ask for a deal
And finally, please remember that 4 weeks is not the same as a calendar month... there are 12 months and 52 weeks in a year, giving you 13 periods of 4 weeks. I've lost count of the number of people who compare a "monthly" rate with a "4 weekly" rate - for the avoidance of doubt, stick to the charge PER WEEK!
I hope that's helpful for people, even if only one person does find this post helpful it will have been worth the time to register & write it!
Good luck all with your various moves etc.
(Managing Director, Attic Self Storage Limited)
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