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Protecting your stored items

Protecting your stored items
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Operations - Store and Insure

What are the biggest concerns for goods in self-storage?

When you insure your stored goods with Store and Insure, you can rest assured that you will be protected financially should your things get damaged in storage. But of course you’ll want to avoid such damage in the first place, as many stored things are irreplaceable or have sentimental value.

So what are common causes of damage to stored goods?

  • damp, mould and mildew
  • pests and moth
  • rats, mice and squirrels
Stop damp, mould and mildew from ruining your stored domestic goods

Moulds and mildew degrade natural materials derived from plants or animals, such as leather, paper, and textiles. Mildew spots are unsightly and can make books and documents difficult to read.

Moulds produce dusty spores that cause disease or allergies, rendering mattresses and upholstered furniture useless. Mould may also have a musty odour. Mould and mildew also spread. Once an item becomes mouldy, it is likely to spread mould to other items.

Your first line of defence against mould is to ensure that everything you store is completely clean and dry. Check that clothes and linens have been aired, preferably in a sunny location. Food residue should be removed from kitchen appliances. Learn more about preventing mildew in stored goods with our blogpost.

If you discover mould on an item, consider discarding it rather than attempting to store it. If left untreated, mould will spread to your other possessions.

Keep moths out of your stored clothing

Clothes moths and their larvae are small and drab, and you often find out about them when you pull out a cashmere sweater at the start of winter and find it full of holes.

Only certain fabrics are susceptible to moth attack. The larvae, not the little brown moths, are responsible for the holes. They mainly eat silk, wool, fur, feathers and leather. Use sticky moth traps to see if there are any adults flying around. If there are any, you should take action to eliminate them.

We have a blogpost about eliminating moths from your stored goods.

Avoid rodent damage in your stored goods

You would have to be really unlucky to accidentally bring a rat or a squirrel into your storage unit among your domestic goods – but rodent infestations do happen at storage centres, as described in this BBC news story. Reputable storage companies will always take steps to keep pests under control, and you may see rodent traps around the site. It’s good practice to keep stored goods in sturdy lidded plastic crates rather than cardboard cartons.

How to protect your stored goods

The first thing we need to say is that your Store and Insure self-storage insurance will cover you if your goods get damaged by a leak or a flood in a storage unit, or a pest infestation that spreads from someone else’s unit. But if your stored goods were infested with moth or mould when you moved them into the storage unit, you won’t be covered by self-storage insurance. So check your possessions before storing and make sure you store only clean, dry goods.

Always thoroughly inspect your unit or locker before accepting it. If there is a musty odour or any sign of water leakage or pests, request a different room or go to a different storage provider.

Climate-controlled storage offers good protection against mould and pests. It may be slightly more expensive than storage that is not climate controlled, but when you are working out how much it is to rent a storage unit by getting quotes from different storage providers, weigh up the peace of mind you’ll get from storage that is climate controlled against any savings.

We also recommend checking your stored possessions every few months. That way you’ll quickly identify any problems and can take action before they get worse. This includes letting your storage company know, as they will have protocols for pests.


Question and Answer


Am I insured against damage to my stored goods caused by mice and rats?

Your Store and Insure policy will cover you against pests as long as the infestation comes from outside the stored property.


Do I need to have climate-controlled storage if I am storing natural fibres like wool and silk?

Natural fibres may react to sudden changes in temperature and humidity. Climate-controlled storage will keep your stored yarn and fabric in ideal conditions. Climate control also suppresses pests like moth.


Do you include loss or damage arising from mould or mildew?

Loss or damage arising from mould or mildew is included if it is caused by an insured peril. For instance, there is ingress of rainwater but this is not discovered until some time later. The wet goods have partially dried but mould or mildew has appeared. The proximate cause of the loss was as a result of the rainwater which is an insured peril, therefore this would be covered under the Policy.

If mould or mildew appeared after a period of time and there was no clear evidence of an ingress of water, but this was simply due to the storage unit being damp or the goods damp at the time storage commenced, then any loss or damage would NOT be covered under the Policy.


Does my self-storage insurance cover me against moth damage?

If the moth infestation that has damaged your craft materials originated in your storage unit, you are covered by your self-storage insurance. But if the moth infestation came into your storage unit with your stored fibres, then you will not be covered by your insurance policy with Store and Insure.


Is it safe to store wool blankets in plastic boxes?

Some people say that plastic boxes don’t allow natural fibres to breathe. But as long as your blankets are completely dry and clean when you store them, there is no reason not to store them in a tough plastic box. Plastic boxes are lightweight and cheap, and if you choose heavy duty boxes they can protect your stored goods from rodents, too. Avoid plastic containers and bags containing PVC as it can go sticky over time.


What is the best way to clean a fridge before storage?

To clean a fridge or freezer for storage, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Use a non-abrasive, non-scented cleaning product and be sure to dry your fridge before it goes into storage.