Services vs. Bailment
Once you start providing additional services such as parking, fueling or washing, you assume care, custody and control of the vehicle. Therefore, if you decide to perform additional services, contact your insurance advisor about additional liability coverage.
Liability and Responsibility
Ask your insurance agent about increasing the limits on your customers’ goods and the sale and disposal legal liability coverages, particularly because RVs are valued higher than the items in a typical unit.
Seasonal heavy rain, snow, hail, severe windstorms, tornadoes and drought are occurring more frequently across the United States. Outdoor storage does not provide much protection from weather elements, and tenants’ vehicles might be damaged. Canopies and sheds are susceptible to damage and, in the event of collapse, could damage vehicles underneath. Make sure your structures are built to withstand weather conditions and your insurance coverage is sufficient.
Is Your Security Adequate?
Adequate security is necessary to attract the right tenants, and to protect their vehicles and your facility. At a minimum, your site should be fenced and well-lit with a gate-access system and surveillance cameras.
Some facilities are using individual security systems attached to the vehicle. These systems will sound an alarm when the vehicle is moved or even shaken, and can be disabled in the office when the tenant claims his vehicle. Be aware if your facility is in a higher than normal crime area. Vehicle storage is more susceptible to crime.
Hazardous Cleanup Coverage
Boats and RVs carry large quantities of diesel fuel, gasoline and hydraulic fluids. A slow fuel leak occurring over the term of a lease can seep into and contaminate the property. This contaminant can also migrate to nearby units and adjacent properties.
Cleanup costs and property damage for your or your neighbor’s property and tenants’ stored goods can be substantial. If you have a dump station, you further increase your exposures to vandalism, carelessness or deliberate actions of contamination. Even if you contract with a professional waste haul and disposal service to remove and dispose of the material, you still may be partially financially responsible for the clean up and remediation of the site.
If you are already storing boats and RVs, or if you are considering adding this service to your storage offering, these guidelines will provide a checklist of liability items to consider and help keep your business as safe as possible. Your attorney and insurance agent will guide you through the process.
Randy Tipton is the owner of Universal Insurance Facilities Ltd., which has provided specialized insurance coverage to the self-storage industry for more than 12 years. Universal has clients in 49 states, with a commitment to providing A-plus-rated service; fast, fair claims handling at an affordable premium; and agents trained specifically in self-storage. For more information, call 800.844.2101; e-mail email@example.com; visit www.universalinsuranceltd.com.