By David Wilhite
As you may know, every self-storage facility operator may be subject to litigation from tenants who have suffered damage to their goods. The good news for facility owners is that our courts have generally held that facility operators cannot be held liable for damages as long as they have made customer storage insurance (CSI) available to their tenants. That's why most savvy self-storage operators offer a CSI insurance program, which can help reduce or eliminate a major insurance exposure at zero cost to you while providing a valuable service to your tenants.
What exactly is CSI insurance? It is an insurance policy specifically designed for tenants of self-storage facilities. It provides short-term, low-cost coverage for specified perils such as fire, hail, wind, lightning and other covered causes of loss. Normally, it also provides a limited amount of burglary coverage. Note that while most homeowner policies will provide a limited amount of off-premises coverage, most self-storage tenants are transient by nature and do not have homeowners policies.
CSI insurance can protect your tenants' stored goods while ensuring your peace of mind. By simply making CSI insurance available, you can help eliminate the threat of litigation for damages to your tenants' stored goods. Remember, if your facility does not offer CSI, you could be held liable for negligence and/or damages to customers' goods.
It Pays to Know the Facts About Customer Storage Insurance
Fact: Every self-storage facility operator is subject to litigation from tenants who have suffered damage to their goods.
Fact: The key element in any legal defense against claims of negligence or liability (on the part of the operator) is whether or not CSI insurance was made available to the tenant while renting.
Fact: Tenants don't sue the facility operator for losses or damages when they can sue the operator's insurance company.
Fact: Today's judges are far more likely to uphold limits of liability contained in a self-storage rental agreement when CSI insurance is offered to customers.
Fact: There are precedent-setting court cases in which the self-storage operator was found to be not liable for damage to a customer's goods because CSI insurance was made available.
Fact: Customer storage insurance should be considered a necessity and must be made available at every self-storage facility.
Tip: Low-cost CSI insurance provides peace of mind for you and your tenants. Why risk the hassle and expense of litigation when you can protect yourself and your facility so simply?
What Does Storage Insurance Cover?
The availability of a comprehensive CSI insurance policy is the easy, low-cost way to protect your tenant's stored goods from loss or damage from a wide variety of perils. Tenants valuables can be protected for amounts usually ranging from $2,500 to $20,000, and polices can typically be written or renewed in three-month or six-month periods. Standard covered perils generally include: fire, lightning, smoke, burglary, water leaks, hurricanes, explosions, tornadoes, building collapses, wind, hail, earthquakes and vandalism.
David Wilhite is the marketing manager of Universal Insurance Facilities Inc. Universal offers a complete package of coverages specifically designed to meet the needs of the self-storage industry, including loss of income, employee dishonesty, comprehensive business liability, hazardous-contents removal and customer storage. For more information, contact Universal at Box 40079, Phoenix, AZ 85067-0079; phone (800) 844-2101; fax (602) 970-6240; Web: www.vpico.com/universal.