What Happens if Your Storage Unit is Affected by a Natural Disaster

Jon Fesmire |

If you live in an area prone to one type of disaster or another, you’re probably well-versed in what it takes to keep yourself safe. In a tornado area, you know where to shelter yourself when the siren goes off. If your area gets occasional earthquakes, you know to duck and cover under a table or desk, or to go outside away from buildings and power lines. But what happens to your storage unit in the event of a natural disaster?

Here’s a look at the effects of natural disasters on your storage unit, how to protect your items, and how insurance can help.

Types of Damage

When a disaster does hit a self storage facility, what sort of damage might people’s belongings take? That partly depends on the type of disaster.

Flooding and huge snow storms can cause water damage, the former as the waters rise, the latter as the snow melts, both as water gets into ground-floor units. Damage from earthquakes will mostly be from items falling, since these days, buildings in earthquake areas are built to hold up even with severe shaking. Should a facility catch on fire due to dry brush in the area or another reason, people’s belongings may burn up in the conflagration or take smoke damage.

Hurricanes and tornadoes can completely destroy all or part of a facility. We’ve all seen footage of people outside their leveled homes after such disasters. When a building gets leveled, the things inside get destroyed, too.

Protecting Your Things

Not all disasters are equal, and in some cases, a person’s belongings will get wrecked and need to be completely replaced.

You can protect some things from some types of natural disasters, though. You can protect furniture and large items somewhat in case of a flood by storing them on wooden planks a few inches off the ground. True, if the water goes higher than that, the bottom parts can take damage, but it offers at least a little protection. Any items that can go in boxes can also go in airtight plastic bins that should keep any water from seeping in and harming your goods.

To protect things from possible earthquakes, keep your stacks of bins or boxes packed tight, and don’t stack them too high. That way, if they do fall over, your belongings will take less damage.

Disaster Insurance

When you sign up for a unit, you’ll be offered insurance. Actually, most facilities require that you purchase a certain level of insurance through them, and that will add a bit to your monthly rent.

It’s important to know what sort of disasters can happen in your area, and to be sure that your stored belongings are covered. If the insurance offered by the facility doesn’t include what you need, they get a second policy as well, on your own. Make sure it covers your stored belongings for the most likely disasters.

Also, learn how to file a claim in case of a disaster. Then, if one occurs, you’ll be prepared to file a claim with your insurance company, so you can receive the money you’ll need to replace your lost items.

Chances are your storage facility will never fall victim to a serious natural disaster. We hope we’ve helped prepare you, just in case.