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Insurance, Security & Storage Wars: Your Self Storage Questions Answered

5th April 2017

Easystore interior photo
Forget the current state of Europe, or the latest political and economic scandal. We know that what the public really wants is answers to the burgeoning questions related to storage!

Our website already has an FAQ (frequently asked questions) section, but we recently had the opportunity to sit down with Brendan – the founder of Easystore Self Storage – who answered some additional questions in more detail.

Of course, if you have any further questions, you can also contact us instead.

Do users need to take out additional storage on their items?

We provide insurance up to £10,000 on every unit. However, if a customer needs a higher value than that, we can refer them onto a broker. It’s something that we include – we don’t sell it as an add-on or anything like that. Should a customer go to any other self storage facility, they will most likely find that buying insurance is mandatory.

They should be conscious of the fact that insurance policies for self storage units are designed to indemnify them on the basis of loss, fire and theft. It’s also on the basis of like-for-like, not new-for-old, so they’d need to take into account depreciated values – a good example is a TV that was worth £1,000s a few years ago might only be worth £100s now. So due consideration has to be given to the ‘true’ total value – in the present day – of all the contents that will be stored.

It’s good practice to take an inventory of everything going into the storage unit, and to take a photo of all your contents in the storage unit (with the storage unit number clearly visible), and that – along with associated storage agreement for that room – should be sufficient to demonstrate what was in fact in the room at the time of storing.

Who’s responsible if something goes missing?

If there is any sort of proof of unit violation (e.g. a lock has been tampered with) or any other obvious attempt at a break-in then the facility owner would be. It’s also our responsibility to attend to an alarm if we know that the customer of that particular storage unit isn’t on-site, just in case it is indeed an attempted break-in.

The first port of call when it becomes clear that something is missing is to consult the access control logs, the individual door alarms, and CCTV footage. That way the storage facility management can try and see when people logged in/out of the facility, when the unit was accessed, etc.

Do you have 24/7 access to your unit?

We offer 24/7 access to our units, which is greatly helped by the use of access control, as it enables an automated system and offers customers ease of use. Without access control in place, it becomes a lot harder for a storage facility to manage who is on and off-site – especially during the early hours or holiday seasons. You would also be reliant on customers to carry out security measures themselves – for example, if access to a unit required unlocking a gate, you’d be reliant on them locking the gate after them, whereas the use of an automatic gate would but much easier (and admittedly safer and less hassle)!

Does the price vary according to the volume of boxes you are going to store?

It works on a ‘price per square foot’ model, so the more space you need, the more it’ll cost. However it’s an industry standard that the cost per square foot comes down as you require more space: the smaller you take, the more you pay, whereas the more you take, the less you pay.

What can you store, and what are some of the most interesting items you’ve stored here over the years?

Anything really, as long as it is not flammable or illegal. Perishables are usually avoided unless they are going to be managed correctly – by that we mean that we have several businesses that operate out of our units, and some of those may store and sell items such as olive oil.

Some of the more interesting items we have had stored over the years are probably two jet engines and a Dalek – though it’s important to mention they weren’t stored together. So no one need fear there is about to be some aeronautical battle between Doctor Who and a Dalek hitting their screens anytime soon.

Has there ever been any stored items you have had to ask be removed?

Yes, the most notable of which started out as a bit of a mystery. I regularly check that all the storage containers are securely locked, and this involves walking up and down the halls in the morning and the evenings. One morning I was walking through the corridor, when I heard a beeping. I checked to see if there was a fire alarm or perhaps some device running out of battery, but couldn’t find anything. Eventually it became apparent that the beeping was in fact a tweeting. When we opened the storage unit, we were greeted by a rather friendly parrot. Obviously, we informed the owner that a storage facility was not an appropriate place to keep his pet!

Can the storage facilities be used as a personal space, rather than specifically for storage?

Yes, in fact many of our clients use the facilities more as dens or ‘man-caves’. The storage facilities are usually nice and quiet so a lot of people use them to read. One tenant used the facility exclusively to store his academic books, and would spend hours reading and researching in the comfort of his unit.

We also tend to get people who like to hold on to items. Hoarders – as some people call themselves – just don’t like throwing some items away as “you’ll never know when you might need it” – the units give them the perfect solution to keep hold of things, without clogging up the house.

We also get a lot of new parents who may have lost a spare room at home, and now need that extra place to keep things.

What kind of security protocol do you have to go through?

Every person who uses our storage unit has to initially provide us with ID. This is to ensure they are who they say they are, but also, if it were found that they were storing illegal items, we would have a record to be able to support the police. We also work closely with HMRC in some matters. For example, in the past there has been an incident where an individual was trying to store counterfeit tobacco.

Discretion is also important when allowing items to be stored. For example, we have had cases in the past where someone has stored old furniture, broken washing machines, etc., then never returned for the items. Essentially, they have tried to use the storage facility as a way of fly-tipping. Again, the ID and our discretion helps to protect against this.

What security measures do you have in place?

We take security at Easystore Self Storage very seriously. What sets us apart from other facilities is that we have high-tech security integrated into all of our units, individually. For example, all of our unit doors are individually alarmed. We also have full monitoring systems, individual log-ins for gates and units, and an uninterruptible phone line, meaning that our systems will never fail.

Finally, Storage Wars… Is there any truth to it?

No… Though it may seem exciting that there are treasure troves out there filled with hundreds of thousands of pounds, waiting to be bought up for pennies, it’s simply not true.

There are cases where – as part of an agreement – if a client does not pay their storage fees for more than 28 days, and is unable to provide a valid reason for non-payment, we are entitled to recoup our loss by selling some of the stored items.

However, the vast majority of the time, if the individual has simply not bothered to pay their storage fee, they are also unlikely to have any really valuable items in storage. Most cases tend to be where there has been a death, and a relative is unable or unwilling to cover the fees. In this case, we endeavour to return any items of sentimental value. But there are never any old chests filled with gold, or lost archives of Beatles records… the shows are simply that – entertainment.

Author: Brendan

Brendan is the owner of Easystore Self Storage.

 029 2046 0066
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Call us for a no-obligation quote:

Cardiff: 029 2046 0066 | Bridgend: 01656 667700