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Self-Storage Tenant Insurance: Understanding Its Value to Customers and Your Bottom Line

Offering tenant insurance to your self-storage customers not only provides peace of mind if a loss occurs, it’s an opportunity to generate more business revenue. Here are some considerations for implementing a profitable program.

Bryan Mosser

April 13, 2022

5 Min Read
Understanding the Value of Self-Storage Tenant Insurance

There are many aspects to self-storage that make it a great business. For one, operating expenses are well fixed, with typically few surprises. Second, there are ample opportunities to increase revenue and asset value through ancillary income streams. The even better news is some add-on profit strategies require little effort or upfront cost.

One proven way to generate additional revenue is to provide your customers with a value-add product like tenant insurance. You might grimace at the thought, but a program like this is easier to implement than most people realize. Let’s look at the benefits it can yield for your self-storage operation and what it takes to succeed.

Primary Benefits

Without tenant insurance, your self-storage customers are vulnerable. A typical homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy may not cover stored belongings. Even if it does, it may only cover a fraction of their value. And let’s face it: Despite taking every possible precautions, no self-storage operator can guarantee that a customer’s goods are fully protected from events like fire, flood or burglary.

Though your lease relinquishes you from liability stemming from these types of losses, tenant insurance will protect your customers from the unexpected. It’s a legitimate, state-regulated product that offers full protection for stored items. Users have access to licensed agents to report claims, which are then processed and paid. It’s a win-win for the self-storage customer and owner.

Tenant insurance is also a smart way to gain recurring monthly revenue for your business. If you’re only selling boxes, locks and other moving supplies during the rental process, you’re missing out on additional income. Don’t leave money on the table! When properly executed, a tenant-insurance program can bring in thousands of dollars per year in additional monthly revenue.

Implementation

There are many tenant-insurance providers from which to choose in the self-storage industry, which gives you the flexibility to pick the program that best suits your needs. Most offer competitive pricing along with attractive revenue-sharing opportunities. Just keep in mind that not all programs are compliant with state laws and insurance regulations. It’s critical to conduct research and select a trusted, fully compliant program that’ll protect your business.

Once you’ve chosen a program and provider, update your self-storage rental agreement to include an insurance provision. It should explain that the facility operator does not insure the tenant's property and renters are required to provide proof of insurance on all stored property as a condition of tenancy. Not all tenant-insurance programs are the same, so have your provider supply you with the appropriate lease language to coincide with the one you offer.

Consider offering tenant-insurance limits that correspond with the limitation-of-value provision in your rental agreement. Your lease verbiage should state that the occupant agrees the storage unit isn’t appropriate for storing jewels, furs, heirlooms, works of art, collectibles, or other irreplaceable items that have special sentimental or emotional value. This provision should include an acknowledgement by the tenant that they agree not to store such items.

At the end of the rental process, give the customer a copy of their lease and tenant-insurance policy. Also give them a program brochure, which should outline coverage and exclusions.

Training

For your tenant-insurance program to succeed, there must be buy-in from the self-storage facility owner and managers. Everyone must fully understand the benefits and do their part to ensure the program works.

The manager has the responsibility of educating tenants on their self-storage needs, especially at move-in. It’s important to discuss tenant insurance and its benefits at the time the lease is signed. To ensure this happens, all staff need to be trained on what’s being offered, why and how. Make sure all current employees and any new hires who interact with customers are properly trained on the program and its advantages.

Most insurance providers will offer various kinds of materials to help with this process. For some, annual training may be required. Once your program is up and running, make sure your team stays current on any updates.

Marketing

You also need to draw attention to your self-storage tenant insurance through good marketing practices. Keep plenty of brochures and other promotional materials on hand and put them on display. Many providers will give you tools like posters, counter maps, window clings and stickers.

With the proper training and materials, marketing your program is as easy as asking for a driver’s license at the time of rental. Completing the lease addendum with the customer should take less than two minutes. It’s a small time commitment that delivers big benefits.

Keep in mind that as a self-storage operator, you’re required to display your tenant-insurance limited-lines license. Make sure it’s displayed neatly and is current. If you need an updated copy, contact your provider.

Peace of Mind

If there’s ever a loss at your self-storage facility, your tenant-insurance provider is the quarterback for the claims process. They’re licensed and familiar with the statutes applicable in your state. They’re also trained to gather all documentation, evaluate the evidence and determine any payout. Claim resolution is handled by licensed insurance adjusters through a regulated process that provides consumer rights to the insured.

Your self-storage customers trust you to keep their treasured belongings safe. With the right tenant-insurance program, you can maintain a positive relationship with them, even when the unexpected occurs. When a there’s a loss, the process provides peace of mind for all parties.

Bryan Mosser is senior vice president for SBOA Tenant Insurance, whose program is created by and for self-storage owners. The company’s insurance products are compliant with state laws and administered by Cornerstone Insurance Producers. For more information, call 800.792.0345; email [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Bryan Mosser

Senior Vice President, SBOA Tenant Insurance

Bryan Mosser is senior vice president for SBOA Tenant Insurance, whose program is created by and for self-storage owners. The company’s insurance products are compliant with state laws and administered by Cornerstone Insurance Producers. For more information, call 800.792.0345; email [email protected].

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