Guidelines for Choosing a Self-Storage Tenant-Insurance Partner

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By Larry Friedman

From the perspective of the self-storage customer, having insurance on what he keeps in his storage unit is like having insurance on an automobile: It doesn’t seem all that important until something goes wrong. But when that happens, insurance is the most important thing in the world; and not having it just piles misery on top of misery. In other words, insurance means peace of mind for the tenant.

What many self-storage operators don’t realize is tenant insurance also provides peace of mind for them. After all, it’s a valuable risk-management tool that helps protect your business. Companies that specialize in self-storage coverage know the unique risks owner-operators face—risks posed by lawsuits and other legal action—can cost them their business and life savings.

Tenant insurance can also create a dependable revenue stream and take away the headaches and heartburn of unhappy tenants. Those are very valuable benefits. If operators survey the choices in the insurance industry, they’ll quickly discover firms specializing in self-storage offer programs that are easy to start and manage. It begins with an enrollment process that’s simple for the operator and painless for the tenant.

Meeting Operator Needs

A handful of states—Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Utah and Washington—have licensing requirements, which adds some time and effort to the enrollment process. That’s where insurance professionals can offer a helping hand. Firms with full-service licensing departments can facilitate the process.

What sets a full-service firm apart from other companies is the ability to provide tailored training programs. Just ask a storage owner if training matters. It can make the difference between rolling out a successful program with buy-in by staff and tenants, and wasting a lot of time, money and effort.

That’s why it’s so important for an insurance provider to listen to facility operators and meet them on their terms. For some, that means a top-to-bottom, company-wide, tailored training program. Others need onsite training and workshops. Some may prefer training webinars. Web-based training programs leverage new technology and allow for a free flow of questions, answers, ideas, brainstorming and on-the-fly problem-solving within an operator’s entire team. Plus, they’re cost-effective and time-efficient.

Serving Tenant Needs

Training should be just the beginning of the partnership between the insurer and owner-operator. The real work on the insurer’s end—and the real payoff on the owner-operator’s end—comes when disaster strikes, when the claims pour in, when the questions overwhelm an operator and his managers.

What happens when disaster hits? A quality insurance partner will have a ready-made structure or plan in place to respond. The company may even put a team onsite to process claims and issue settlement checks on the spot so tenants can move on with their lives, and operators can focus on recovery, rebuilding and repairing.

What happens when tenants have hard questions? Your insurance partner will have answers. Having an in-house claims team of licensed insurance professionals makes a big difference for operators and their worried tenants. It means they get answers when they call—not the number to some third-party administrator.

Offering a tenant-insurance program and the peace of mind that accompanies it is only the beginning of a quality tenant-insurance program.

Larry Friedman is president and CEO of Bader Co., a fully licensed provider of tenant insurance. For more information, call 888.223.3726; visit www.baderco.com .


Tenant-Insurance Provider Checklist

  • Does the provider specialize in self-storage solutions?
  • Do you have to be licensed, and if so, where?
  • Who issues the policies, and who do tenants call with questions?
  • Who acts as the licensed agent?
  • What liability will you have?
  • Who settles the claims?
  • What training and support is available?
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