January 14, 2013
Tips to Avoid Storage Unit Woes
*By John Voket, RISMedia Consumer Confidant
I know from personal experience that there are many reasons to rent temporary self-storage space – like emptying overflowing garages and basements, stashing possessions while remodeling or moving or storing business supplies for future use.
My friends at Connecticut Better Business Bureau recommend carefully checking out a self-storage business before handing over your precious belongings. In 2011, BBB received more than 1,000 complaints against storage unit companies.
To help protect yourself and your possessions, we’re passing on the BBB’s 7 things to consider before selecting a temporary storage facility: â€¨â€¨
Cost – Obtain written cost estimates from at least three facilities that include the monthly rental fee, storage preparation, transportation fees and charges for extra options you may choose, such as electricity, pest control and insurance.
Size – What size storage units are available? Is there a maximum weight limit for unit contents? Can you jam-pack the entire unit from floor to ceiling? â€¨â€¨
Climate – Consider the general climate and whether your belongings might be subject to mold or water damage. If so, you may want to consider an environmentally-controlled unit. â€¨â€¨
Insurance – Make sure your items are insured from theft, fire and other damage. Some homeowners’ policies cover self-storage risks. Check with your insurance agent to see if you are covered.
Safety – You will need a secure, heavy-duty lock to protect your storage unit. Ask if the facility has surveillance cameras on the property and if a system is in place to restrict access by strangers.
Contract – Get everything in writing such as the size and location of the unit, available options, termination regulations, insurance coverage and payment terms.
Access – What are the hours and are there are related charges for accessing your unit?
Is there adequate room for parking and is the distance from your car/truck to the rental unit acceptable? Does the facility offer dollies or hand trucks to help you move your belongings in and out?
Finally, make sure you are up-to-date on your payments and not being charged for unauthorized charges. You don’t want your storage unit to be labeled “abandoned” and your possessions put up for auction. â€¨â€¨