Self Storage Nightmares

Self-storage break-ins are a staple of local news for a reason: They happen all the time and usually involve big numbers. An Atlanta facility, for example, had 50 units broken into in a single night. A man broke into a Montana self-storage unit filled with gold bars and collectibles and promptly started fencing the loot all across the Northwest, only to be caught and made to pay $1.18 million in restitution.

It sounds unlikely, but your business’ records could be worth far more than $1.18 million, depending on what those records are and how they’re distributed. HIPAA violation fines and damages related to identity theft could devastate your business if you use self-storage for your records.

Break-ins aren’t the only thing to worry about when it comes to self-storage, though. Here are a few self-store horror stories to get you shivering.

Got Insurance? You’re Not Covered!

You might think that an insurance policy or even just a “protection plan” purchased from a storage facility will protect you in case anything happens to the things you put in a public storage facility. There are two problems here: The first is that the self-storage company’s “protection plans” aren’t actually considered to be insurance by the state of California.

The second is that even a more traditional rental insurance policy can have some massive coverage holes. Take New Jersey resident Scott Packwood. Packwood had a rental policy that covered damage to his belongings caused by fire or theft. When his unit was flooded, he was informed that this policy didn’t actually cover water damage.

Flooding, landslides, and fire are big problems that every California company must prepare for. Unfortunately, public storage facilities are often ill-equipped to handle this kind of damage.

Public Storage Security Goes Unattended

Perhaps the biggest problem with public storage is that security is often limited to locks and cameras—and even those aren’t much of a deterrent, according to numerous local news reports. This lack of security can result in huge losses.

In the Chicago-adjacent neighborhood of Lincolnwood, a man storing a case of $1,200-a-bottle wine found his investment totally wiped out after theft. That’s a loss of $14,400—and some primo vino.

In California alone, a study conducted by CBS 5 showed the number of break-ins that occurred in Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose at self-storage facilities like Public Storage, Extra Space Storage and A-1. Over the course of two years, 27 Public Storage facilities experienced 43 break-ins, 6 Extra Space facilities experienced 6 break-ins, and 5 A-1 Storage facilities experienced 7 break-ins.

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A Soldier’s Stolen Valor

It can take weeks or months for victims of self-storage break-ins to even find out they’re victims of a crime.

Alabama resident Matthew Causey discovered this the hard way when he visited his storage unit after returning home from a National Guard stint in Germany. The decorated veteran’s unit had been broken into on Labor Day weekend, and he wasn’t informed until his visit to the location more than a week later. The thieves took not just the ammunition and certificates of training, but Causey’s book of combat medals he earned while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan—items that were truly irreplaceable.

Museum Loses Everything

After heavy rains caused a flood in Mankato, The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota, The Star Tribune sadly announced that they, “will have to throw out most of its inventory after the stored items were inundated with stormwater, museum officials said.” Beautiful pieces of artwork and historical artifacts have been destroyed, and even though the museum has insurance, it did not cover flood or water damage. Had the artwork been stored in plastic containers in a secure facility, all of this could have been avoided; which is one of the many unfortunate details of this unforeseen tragedy.

Prevent Storage Nightmares

Because of poor maintenance, lack of security and safety, negligence, and constant break-ins, self-storage is not a viable option for businesses. Ensure that your data, records, and “extra stuff” are properly stored, managed, and organized with professional records storage services that offer top-level security to avoid these nightmares from happening to you and your business in the future. Here’s your chance to share your self-storage nightmares.