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September 18, 2009

Inside Insurance: Insurance protection reminders

Do you own too much “stuff” for safe storage in your home or apartment?

With the growth of the public storage industry, many of you may be renting a self-storage unit to stow away those items you don’t want to keep at home. If so, remember that your belongings need to be properly covered by insurance while in storage. Keep these tips in mind:

• Before signing a rental agreement, make sure you know what type of losses will be covered by the storage facility, and most importantly, whether supplemental insurance may be needed. Check with your insurance agent or company that provides your renters or homeowners insurance to see how much coverage you already have and if is enough should the storage facility have a fire or your belongings are stolen.

• Make sure you understand what you are covered for regarding off-premises belongings. As a reminder, the typical off-premises coverage does not cover damage from flooding, earthquakes, mold and mildew, vermin or poor maintenance of the facility and may have only a limited dollar amount.

• As with homeowners or renters insurance, coverage can be for either actual cash value where depreciation based on the age of the item is a factor, or replacement cost value where the damaged or lost items can be replaced for an item of like value.

• If you plan to store valuable property such as art, antiques, furs, jewelry or similar items, check for dollar amount restrictions on your homeowners or renters policy. You may have to obtain what is called a “rider” or “floater” to your policy to cover higher-priced items.

• An itemized list of all your possessions is highly recommended in case there is loss from a fire, theft or natural disaster. See the home page of the GIIS Web site at www.giis.org for a link to free home inventory software. When your belongings are separately stored, as in a storage unit, the inventory becomes even more important to support your potential claim.

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