Preparing for a storm is an important part of being a responsible homeowner, but it's not just your home you have to take care of. You may also have a storage unit you need to protect before the bad weather arrives. If so, you'll want to make sure you have everything done quickly and efficiently, so you aren't trying to seal up a door or change out a lock at the very last minute. In some cases you also can't get insurance coverage once a hurricane is close to your location, so you want to be sure your policies are up to date, too.
During calm, clear weather is the best time to start preparing your hurricane storage plan. You'll be able to figure things out without the stress and worry of a storm bearing down on your location. One of the first things to do is make sure you have adequate insurance coverage. Check with your homeowners or renters insurance policy and the company that provides it, in order to see if off-site items are also covered. If they aren't, you'll know you have to have additional coverage.
Depending on the storage facility where you're keeping your things, you may be able to get insurance coverage through them. If you're going to use storage insurance, though, you'll want to be careful that you read the fine print and see what's really being covered by that policy. In some cases, the policy may not protect the renters' belongings, and may only cover the facility's actual, physical structure. You may need to get additional coverage from the facility for your belongings to be protected, and even then you could still need to have an additional rider or policy that will protect your storage-based belongings from a hurricane.
As hurricane season gets closer, verifying your coverage and making sure it's up to date should be the first step. Additionally, you'll want to make sure everything in your storage unit is If you are a general contractor you may also know more about the structural integrity of the storage facility and the likelihood of it holding up properly when the storm hits. That can affect what you leave in the unit and what types of precautions you take to protect your things.
You may want to board up your unit's door, especially if it's an outside-facing unit instead of one that's located inside a large facility. Since storage units don't have windows you won't have any risk there, but the door is a lot like a garage door and may have vulnerable points. It should seal well, but in wind-driven rain it's possible that it would leak or even start to buckle. Boarding it up will reduce that risk, and you'll need to check with the facility to find out what precautions they're taking and what you're allowed to do. For example, the storage facility may not want you to drill any holes to secure plywood or other types of protection.
Even though preparing for a hurricane should be the main focus of your efforts, you also want to check after the storm and see if there's been any damage. Not only can this help you with needed insurance claims and other issues, but it can also give you an idea of what you'll need to change before the next storm arrives. That can greatly reduce your risk of future problems or damage to the items you have in storage, and help ensure that anything you leave in a storage unit is going to be properly protected for the future. It's not really possible to guarantee item safety, but there are ways to make the risks smaller.
When you check for damage after the storm, though, you'll be setting yourself up for a better understanding of what you might need to change before another hurricane arrives. Take a look at how the facility survived and whether there was any damage to it, so you know if it's secure or if moving to a different storage facility would be a better option. In some cases, it may be wise to take your items to a different facility that has better protocols for incoming storms or hurricane issues. If your items were well-protected, though, leaving them in your current storage facility may be the choice that continues to keep them in good shape for the future.
A storage unit that's designed to protect your items the right way is worth a lot, because living in a hurricane-prone area means finding important ways to cover what matters most to you. But sometimes there just isn't room to have everything you want to keep in your current residence. That means a storage unit can be the right choice for your needs. When you have a different place to live in the future, then those items can be moved. For some people, though, off-site storage is a long-term plan for business supplies or other items. In those cases, choosing a quality unit where your items are protected properly is going to be a very important part of keeping your business successful.
Preparing yourself and your storage unit before a hurricane can go a long way toward protecting what you value from an upcoming storm.
By: Lee Preston
Lee is the Director of Marketing and Promotion for EZstorit.com. When she is not working with our storage facilities partners, she is writing about topics that affect our daily lives.