Storage unit insurance a wise investment


    By Sara Israelsen

    After flames destroyed more than $125,000 of personal property in a Stor-N-Lock storage unit facility in Riverdale, Utah, students are starting to think twice about insuring items that are out of sight.

    The fire, started by undetermined causes, burned through 14 units Monday night, and was finally contained Tuesday at 4 a.m., said Riverdale Fire Chief Doug Illum.

    “Basically all the contents on the building were either completely destroyed by fire, or they”re non-useable,” Illum said. “We”re calling it a total loss.”

    This was the first fire of this type in Riverdale and a rare occurrence in Provo as well, said Sheree Cardon, resident manager for Lockbox Self Storage in Provo.

    She said their company has never experienced a fire or other elemental problem in their storage units. She cited the cinderblock and metal walls – non-flammable construction materials – as possible reasons for the lack of flames.

    “I know our storage units don”t have electricity inside them,” she said. “[That] deters them of a probable cause of fire.”

    But when a fire does happen, the storage company is only responsible for the physical buildings, not the personal belongings inside. This is the protocol of almost all insurance policies.

    “The facility is insured … [but we] do not coverage any damage that happens inside of a storage unit,” Cardon said.

    Concerned students can protect themselves against possible problems by purchasing renter”s insurance.

    Lynzi Huber, head sales representative for State Farm Agent Lance Wilson, said most students are in the dark about storage-unit insurance

    “I don”t think people realize [they need insurance],” Huber said. “If more people knew, they”d definitely do it.”

    Sean Neal, a senior from Yakima, Wash., said he uses a storage unit at his apartment complex, but hasn”t looked into who is responsible for insuring the stuff inside.

    “If something were to happen, someone stole our stuff, I don”t know what would happen,” he said. “I”m pretty sure it would be my loss. The complex doesn”t care about my personal belongings.”

    To get renter”s insurance, students can contact agencies like State Farm and fill out papers listing their personal property on financial scales.

    Huber said these policies can offer $10,000 coverage for $10 a month, or as much as $15,000 coverage for $11 a month. The policies protect against water damage, fire and theft, which is the most common claim.

    Once the renter”s insurance is in place, students faced with a disaster would make a claim and list the value of things that were lost.

    Yet despite the scare in Riverdale, storage-unit fires are rare and most students will probably never get a phone call about a charred storage unit.

    “We”ve never had any flooding or any fires, as far as I know,” Cardon said. “People just get it [renters insurance] as a precaution, in case something does happen.”

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