During your move, you may decide to temporarily place some of your belongings in storage. Perhaps you have to be out of your old residence before your new home is available, and need lodgings for your possessions. Or maybe your new home is smaller than your previous place, and you will need to stow some of the stuff you've accumulated until you can figure out what to do with it. In any case, finding a place to stash your things requires careful research and consideration. You want to be sure that any storage facility you are shelling out a couple hundred bucks to each month is going to be safe and secure.
The following is a list of important safety features any storage unit should be equipped with to ensure that your belongings are protected.
When choosing a storage facility, make sure that they have an adequate alarm system. There should be alarms not only for burglar and intruder prevention, but fire alerts as well. The alarm system should be connected to a monitoring service that will contact emergency personnel, such as the police and fire department. For optimum security, each unit should have its own alarm system, which is linked to the main security system.
Many storage facilities will have only one camera at the main gate. However, there should be multiple security cameras that provide an unobstructed view of any entrance or exit on the property. If the facility is more than one level, each floor should also have its own camera. Security cameras should be monitored 24-7.
When choosing self-storage, you should look for a property with restricted access. You should not be able to simply sign in to visit the facility. Any secure storage center will have some type of controlled entry at the gate. You may be given a unique pass code that you enter on a keypad to gain access. Some facilities utilize a keycard that you swipe to obtain entry to the property.
Additionally, the most secure storage centers will provide a keypad entry on each individual unit for added security.
When you rent a storage unit, you are responsible for providing your own lock. The best type of locks to use are cylinder-type locks without an exposed hasp. Padlocks can easily be broken into with bolt cutters.1
You should also be the only person with a key to your storage unit. If you will be getting frequent deliveries to your storage unit for any reason, you may want to ask the facility manager to keep a copy of your key on file for you so deliveries can be received in your absence.
Thieves are not the only thing you will need to protect your belongings from. Extreme temperatures, humidity, and destructive pests can do serious damage to your treasures while they are in storage. Using a climate-controlled storage unit will keep your belongings from sustaining damage due to: the growth of mold, the infestation of mice, termites, and other vermin, rust, corrosion, or warping and cracking from intense heat.
Regardless of how secure and safe a storage facility appears, break-ins are always a possibility. If you have taken every precaution and chosen a facility that meets each and every one of the aforementioned security measures, the final step you can take to protect yourself is to buy insurance. Most facilities offer some kind of insurance coverage for your belongings while they are housed there. Ask the company about the costs for their plan and the extent of its coverage before you purchase. Sometimes homeowner's or renter's insurance covers your belongings while they are in storage at no extra charge.Photo by: Chanpipat (Freedigitalphotos.net)