You’ve done your due diligence and found a safe, secure storage facility in an area convenient to your home. The staff is professional and friendly, the amenities suit your needs, and the property is clean and orderly. You’re almost finished packing, and you’re thinking about loading the truck. Not so fast…you still have some issues to resolve. Have you established that your valuables will be as safe as possible? Have you asked the right questions and received the right answers? Have you tackled all the details? Even with the best of intentions, we sometimes overlook important matters.
Check the following list to be sure that you’re covered (literally and figuratively) in every area.
1. Search for a facility with multiple layers of protection.
The first thing you should notice is perimeter fencing. Be sure that the fence surrounding the property and the access gate are strong enough to prevent entrance by anyone who isn’t renting or working at the property. The access gate should be equipped with electronic key pads for ingress and egress. Twenty-four hour video surveillance is critical. If there is a security breach, it will be easier to identify and apprehend the intruder. If you’re storing costly items and security is of major concern, choose an indoor unit in a building with keypad access. On site and resident managers add another layer of security; a physical presence can deter potential illicit activity. Finally, check to see that there is a maintenance staff to attend to cleaning and appropriate maintenance.
2. Purchase the best lock you can find.
This sounds obvious, but many people are unaware of the importance of a high-quality lock. A lock is meant to deter a quick, unplanned theft. For the best protection, purchase a disc or cylinder lock that is resistant to bolt cutters and tampering.
3. Keep a current inventory of your belongings.
Think about whether you’ll remember every item in your storage unit a year from now. You probably can’t even remember what you had for lunch today. An accurate inventory of your stored items, along with clear photographs, will be invaluable to you and your insurance company if an item is missing or misplaced. Remember to add serial numbers of any electronic equipment to this list.
4. Only give a trusted family member access to your key code.
Be careful and be sure that you can fully trust the friend or family member with whom you share this information. Don’t advertise where and what you are storing to anyone except close, trustworthy friends and family.
5. Be aware of what not to store in your unit.
The following items are threats not only to the security of your belongings, but to the entire facility.
Hazardous Materials: Gasoline, propane, oil, grease, chemicals, paint, fireworks, explosives, biological waste, fertilizer, and asbestos are prohibited. These items are either flammable or toxic and not allowed in any unit under any circumstances. They present a danger, not only to your belongings, but to the entire facility.
Perishables: All food items, including pet food, are not permitted in your unit. These items can attract bugs and rodents and encourage mold and bacteria.
6. If you aren’t already covered, purchase storage insurance.
If not offered at the storage facility, contact your insurance company and check with your agent to be assured of coverage. If your policy doesn’t cover stored items, you’ll need to purchase storage insurance.
The bottom line is that nothing is guaranteed. Most storage facilities are well-intentioned and do a thorough job of protecting your possessions. However, life happens, and you need to be prepared for anything.