Consumer demand for self-storage has been on a sustained high, with many facilities sitting at well above 90%. While high occupancy is often considered to be positive, it can also limit sales growth, and the last thing an operator wants is for their business to stagnate. Of course, you can always raise your rental rates, but you can also leverage the power of add-on sales. Products like tenant insurance, for example, can make an excellent addition to your revenue-management strategy and help you improve facility income.
Tenant insurance is an effective way to mitigate the risks associated with underinsured self-storage customers. These programs not only reduce liability for facility owners, they offer renters a way to recover financially if their stored goods are lost or damaged. Let’s examine them more closely, from benefits and coverage to implementation and staff training.
One of the key concerns of any self-storage operator is legal liability. When your tenants are uninsured, it exposes you to greater risk. Most rental agreements state that the customer assumes full risk for loss or damage to their stored goods and is responsible for their own insurance coverage, which is good news. But while this is important verbiage to have in your lease, it doesn’t always hold up in court. Tenants can still file claims against you, exposing not only your finances but your business reputation.
Self-storage owners and managers want to spend their time and energy driving business value, not resolving issues with angry customers or responding to negative online reviews. Thankfully, an effective tenant-insurance program is one of the easiest ways to mitigate risk. These plans reduce your liability while providing a safeguard to the renters. No matter how many precautions you implement at your property, you can’t always protect stored belongings from a catastrophic event. Your lease language may release your facility from responsibility for losses, but tenant insurance can offer protection and peace of mind to customers.
A good self-storage tenant-insurance policy will offer comprehensive coverage for a wide range of incidents. For example, it should cover damage from:
- Smoke damage
- Ice, snow or sleet
- Water damage (except flooding)
- Building collapse
- Malicious mischief
When researching programs, it’s important to know what is and isn’t covered to ensure the needs of your business and tenants are met. Also, confirm that the product you’re considering is compliant with your local state laws and insurance regulations.
The easiest way to offer tenant insurance to self-storage customers is through a program that integrates directly with your facility-management software. This allows staff to offer your plan during the rental process, which makes it seamless for new renters and increases their likelihood of participation.
You can also offer the program to existing tenants who didn’t purchase insurance from you at the time of rental. Simply run a campaign to promote awareness and sign-up. This can be done through email, letters, phone calls and even text. If your program of choice integrates with your management software, you should even be able to pull data to track sales performance.
It’s important for your self-storage team to understand the tenant-insurance program being offered, and training doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, many providers offer customized training once you’ve agreed to sell their product, so your staff can learn directly from the experts. Before long, offering the product should become just another step in the rental process.
One way to ensure your training yields the best results is to provide supplemental sales and promotional materials that highlight the benefits of your tenant-insurance program. Ask as your program provider if they offer tools that can help reinforce best practices. However you manage it, team training is worth the time and effort to ensure a smooth implementation, so employees feel comfortable answering customer questions, and signing up new tenants becomes second nature.
By following the above advice, you’ll be able to grow your revenue stream, even during times of high occupancy. If your self-storage facility isn’t already offering tenant insurance, take the time to look at your options and evaluate the benefits this service can provide.
Kyla Kane is a content marketer at Storable, an Austin, Texas-based supplier of cloud-based access control as well as management software, marketing services, payment processing, website development and other services. She has more than 10 years of marketing and communications experience, including working with several agencies prior to her current role. She believes clear, compelling communication is the cornerstone to any successful business. For more information, call 888.403.0665; email [email protected].