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Do I need storage insurance for my contents?

Home contents insurance is designed to cover everything you keep at home, but what about possessions you’re keeping in storage? Read our guide to storage insurance to find out whether you need a specialist policy.

Home contents insurance is designed to cover everything you keep at home, but what about possessions you’re keeping in storage? Read our guide to storage insurance to find out whether you need a specialist policy.

Written by
Anna McEntee
Insurance comparison expert
Reviewed by
Rachel Lacey
Insurance and money expert
Last Updated
14 AUGUST 2023
6 min read
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What is storage insurance? 

Storage insurance is a specialist contents policy designed to cover belongings that you keep away from home.

It could cover items including furniture, household appliances and collectibles against risks like fire and theft while they’re being stored in a dedicated unit. It could also cover your possessions while they’re in transit to and from a storage facility.

Common reasons for taking out storage unit insurance include needing somewhere to store goods in between moving house or after a death in the family. You also might want to put some of your belongings in storage simply because of limited space or because you’re carrying out renovation work.  

Does my home insurance cover contents in storage? 

It’s possible that your home insurance policy gives you some level of cover for ‘items away from home’. But, even if it does, there will usually be limits to how long you’ll be covered for.

Depending on your policy, you might be covered for at least one or all of the following:

House removals 

This protects your items while in transit between your old and new house, but it might also include up to seven days of storage insurance in a temporary storage facility. If your policy offers this type of cover, you’ll most likely only be protected if you use a professional, licensed removals company. 

Contents temporarily away from home 

Some policies will cover you if, for instance, you need to put your furniture in temporary storage because your house move is taking longer than planned. Just make sure you check any monetary or time limits that may apply to the storage contents insurance. You might also find that valuable items classified as ‘high risk’ aren’t covered. This could include jewellery, money or deeds and documents. 

Alternative accommodation cover 

Your belongings may be covered in temporary storage if your home isn’t fit to live in following a so-called insurable event, such as a fire or flood. If you’re expecting to keep your belongings in storage for a while, you’ll probably need a more comprehensive policy.  

Do my contents need to be insured if they’re in storage?

Although not compulsory by law, storage insurance could be useful. As trade body the Self Storage Association UK (SSA UK) says: ‘If your goods are worth storing, they are worth insuring.’  

In any case, most storage and self-storage companies will insist you have storage insurance in place before they’ll let you leave your belongings. Their insurance only covers their liability if they’re found to have damaged your goods.

Remember, though, that storage contents cover isn’t always provided as standard with many home insurance policies. So, make sure you find the right cover for your goods.  

Can I get specialist contents in storage insurance? 

If your home insurance provider doesn’t cover contents in storage, or you’re looking for long-term storage cover, there are specialist companies that offer storage insurance policies (sometimes called self-storage insurance).

They’ll also cover single valuable items – typically up to £1,000 if the item hasn’t been declared separately on the policy – but limits can vary, so be sure to read the policy carefully before you buy.  

You can often take out contents insurance for your storage unit via your storage firm, but it may not be the cheapest option. Shopping around gives you the opportunity to see if you can get a better deal. 

What does storage insurance cover? 

Storage insurance typically includes cover for: 

  • Water damage from burst pipes or escape of water
  • Theft
  • Moth, insect and vermin damage (at some but not all locations)
  • Fire
  • Storm and lightning
  • Flooding
  • Falling trees, telegraph poles and lampposts
  • Vandalism and malicious acts
  • Sprinkler damage
  • Collapse of the premises
  • Subsidence
  • Impact from vehicles or aircraft 

If you’re using a self-storage unit, you should check whether there’s a ‘how to store your items’ stipulation in the insurance policy. For example, you may be required to lock the unit with a particular type of padlock or store your contents in plastic, damp-proof boxes, rather than cardboard.

Make sure your goods are stored correctly or you might find your claim is rejected. The insurance provider might also have minimum security requirements – for example, CCTV or security on the premises – so be sure to check this too.

Does storage insurance cover vehicles in storage?

Most self-storage insurance policies only cover household or business goods. Cars, boats, motorbikes and caravans are usually excluded. However, there are insurance providers who specialise in car storage.

If you need to put your car or motorbike in a storage facility, you can apply for a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN), which means your vehicle won’t need to be taxed or insured while in storage. If you want to make sure it’s protected from fire, theft, vandalism or damage while in storage, it’s a good idea to keep it insured.

Will my wine collection in storage be covered?

Most standard home insurance policies won’t cover valuable possessions in storage, such as a wine collection, but it’s best to check with your particular provider. Make sure any storage facility used will keep your wine at the right temperature.

Some storage facilities offer wine storage insurance. Otherwise, you’ll need to look for a specialist wine insurance policy that covers your valuable collection while it’s in a dedicated storage facility.

What to look for when choosing a self-storage facility 

When choosing a self-storage facility, you might want to ask yourself these questions to help you find the most suitable one for your needs:

  • Does the storage facility offer temporary or long-term storage?
  • Are there restrictions on what you can store?
  • Is there an option to share a unit with family or friends?
  • What security features does the facility have? For example, CCTV, security guards, unit structure, PIN code access?
  • How much does it cost?
  • What sizes of storage room are available? 
  • Is the unit well-ventilated? It shouldn’t be stale or stuffy, or show signs of damp or mould
  • What are the opening times?
  • Can you access your items at short notice?

Top tip

Choose a storage facility that’s a member of the Self Storage Association UK (SSA UK). This will ensure it meets the European Standard for security and customer protection. The SSA UK estimates that there are more than 1,400 self-storage facilities in the UK to choose from. Use the Storage Facility Locator to find an SSA UK member in your area. 

Where can I get storage insurance?

Whether you use insurance provided by your storage facility or a standalone specialist policy, for peace of mind it’s worth knowing your belongings are protected.

And don’t forget, if you’re moving home or need temporary storage, your home insurance might already provide the cover you need.

Compare the Market doesn’t currently compare specialist self-storage insurance, but we can help you find home insurance policies that may cover your items while they’re in temporary storage.

You’ll be able to find specialist insurance for storage units online. As always, though, just remember to check the policy details when comparing policies to make sure you have the right cover for your needs.

Frequently asked questions

What items does storage insurance typically cover?

It depends on the policy you choose, but most storage insurance providers will typically cover personal goods including:

  • Furniture
  • Electronic equipment and computers
  • Personal documents
  • Soft furnishings
  • Home appliances
  • Hobby supplies and collectibles
  • Sports and outdoor equipment
  • Stock, machinery, tools and plant
  • Valuables up to a certain limit – typically, £1,000.

What items aren’t covered by storage insurance?

There are certain items that won’t be covered by storage insurance. And for safety and security reasons, you won’t be allowed to store them in a storage facility. These include: 

  • Living creatures
  • Combustible or flammable substances like paint, gases, petrol or oil
  • Firearms, explosives, weapons and ammunition
  • Hazardous substances like chemicals
  • Items that emit strong smells or fumes
  • Illegal substances, items or goods
  • Any type of currency including money, credit cards, lottery tickets and deeds 
  • Food or perishable goods. 

What storage types does storage insurance cover?

Storage insurance generally covers a wide variety of storage types, including:

  • Outdoor metal shipping-style containers 
  • Indoor units accessed from the outside 
  • Indoor metal containers 
  • Small indoor lockers 
  • Individual indoor lockable rooms 
  • Warehouse crates. 

Some insurance policies specify that you must use a purpose-built storage facility with adequate security and climate control, so make sure you meet the required conditions. 

Do I have to take out insurance with the storage company?

Storage companies will most likely recommend you buy their insurance, but it’s not compulsory. However, they might insist any policy you take out offers the same level of cover as their own.

Will my items be covered by my home insurance if I store them in a shed or outbuilding?

Sheds, outbuildings and their contents are usually covered by home insurance if they form part of the main property. However: 

  • Ensure your total sum insured is enough to cover the items in your outbuilding as well as your home. 

  • Certain high-value items like bikes and power tools may not be included under a standard home insurance policy, unless they’re individually added. 

  • You’ll need to make sure that security measures are in place, for example, a proper lock and secure windows. You could also consider security lights. 

  • Your contents may not be covered for ‘gradual or preventable damage’ caused by damp, mould or vermin infestations, for example. 

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Anna McEntee - Insurance comparison expert

Anna’s all about delivering fantastic insurance products at a great price. Value is the most important thing for Anna, as she cuts through the jargon and finds what’s most important and worth your hard-earned money.

Learn more about Anna

Rachel Lacey - Insurance and money expert

Rachel’s a self-confessed money nerd who’s been writing about personal finance for more than 20 years. She spent 17 years writing for Moneywise, including a few years as Editor, and likes making complicated subjects like insurance, pensions, investing and tax, easy for people to understand.

Learn more about Rachel

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