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Keeping your belongings safe in a storage unit is a team effort. Find out how we reduce the risk of storage unit theft.

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Are storage units safe and secure?

It’s not always easy to know how secure self storage facilities are by doing a quick drive by. Many factors are at play when determining how safe your belongings are in a storage unit, which we’ll talk about in a bit.

So are storage units secure?

The answer to that question lies in what the company and the customer do to prevent theft in the first place.

What can you do and what do storage managers do to make storage units less susceptible to burglary? Here at Life Storage, we take storage unit theft very seriously. Not every self storage facility does. The customer must remain vigilant to know the difference between a well-maintained storage facility and one that could care less about the customer’s safety. Keep reading to find out what to look for in self storage facilities as well as what you can do to keep your belongings safe for the long term.

Important Self Storage Facility Security Features

Almost every one of our storage facilities offers the following security features to help protect your belongings. If we’re not in your area, it’s important that you find a company that also provides the same level of security so you’re not left in the dark, literally.

Are storage units secure - Make sure your self-storage facility has digital video surveillance.

1. A Digital Surveillance System

A digital surveillance system records the activity on our property 24 hours a day. Be sure to ask what kind of surveillance the facility in question provides. Surveillance that is stored digitally is superior to tape storage because the digital option offers the best quality of video with little risk of a coverage lapse.

Are storage units secure - Make sure your self-storage facility has password protected gate access.

2. Password Protected Access

All of our facilities use an access system that requires customers and employees entering the property to enter a unique access code at gates and doors. This security measure greatly limits who can access the storage facility and allows us to review who has entered and exited the property if necessary.

Are storage units secure - Make sure your self-storage facility has efficient lighting.

3. Efficient Lighting in All Areas

No matter where you are at one of our storage facilities, we will most certainly have proper lighting. Life Storage associates walk every aisle inside and outside of each building daily to be sure lighting is functioning correctly. If a light bulb is out, we’ll replace it promptly. Look for facilities that have exterior lighting that will deter trespassing and interior lighting that is either always lit or motion-activated.

Are storage units secure - Make sure your self-storage facility takes good care of their facility grounds.

4. A Well Maintained Property

Thieves are trained to know the vulnerabilities of a property. Maybe it’s the damaged fencing or a broken keypad. When choosing a self storage facility, it’s important to know that if a maintenance issue comes up that it will be addressed promptly. Facilities that are understaffed or lack the proper resources are much more susceptible to theft than a property that is meticulously maintained.

Are storage units secure - Make sure your self-storage facility has rigorous employee protocols to maintain and protect your unit.

5. Proper Employee Protocol

At Life Storage, employees are trained to do a few key things that will greatly reduce that chance of theft. First, they will never keep a key to your unit on hand. You’re the only one who will have keys to your lock unless you authorize a manager to keep one on hand. Second, store associates do daily checks to be sure all occupied storage units are properly locked. If your unit was left unlocked (mistakes happen), you can rest assured knowing you’ll be receiving a call about it.

What Customers Can Do To Keep Valuables Safe

how to protect belongings in a storage unit

Making sure your storage unit is secure is a joint effort. Despite a storage facility’s best intentions, sometimes a customer can inadvertently do things to make their unit more prone to theft. Before you load up a unit, make sure you’re doing everything you can to protect your belongings.

1. Purchase the best lock you can afford.

Life Storage sells the best locks to secure your space in our store offices, but you can also bring your own. A lock is meant to be a deterrent from a quick, unplanned theft. Those types of criminals will likely go after units with subpar locks that are easy to snip off. Opt for a lock that is resistant to bolt cutters and lock tampering. We recommend purchasing a disc or cylinder lock instead of one with a long shackle.

2. Know what not to put in your storage unit.

There are plenty of things not to put into a storage unit, some of which aren’t allowed under any circumstances. As far as security goes, don’t put anything in your storage unit that insurance won’t cover in the event of a loss. For instance, cash is not covered by insurance, so take it to the bank! In some cases, fine jewelry is not covered. Be sure to check with your insurance provider before storing anything extremely valuable in your unit.

3. Keep a current inventory of items.

Many customers make the mistake of not keeping a current inventory of their storage unit. This might seem like a pain, but it will be invaluable to you and the insurance company in the event something is taken. Also, consider that in a year or so, you might forget what is inside your unit. In the event something got stolen or misplaced, you might not even know it without an accurate inventory. Make sure your inventory is accompanied with clear, well-lit photographs.

4. Opt for indoor storage for extra protection.

If security is a large concern for you, consider choosing a unit that is located inside a storage building. This allows for an extra layer of protection because the buildings are typically protected with keypad access.

Helpful Guide: How to Choose the Right Type of Storage Unit for Your Needs

5. Don’t give anyone your access code or key.

Be wary of who you let in your storage units and the facility. Theft tends to happen close to home, meaning that a friend, family member or acquaintance could be the culprit. Don’t advertise where and what you’re keeping in your storage unit to anyone except the people near and dear to you.

6. Purchase insurance even if it’s not required.

At Life Storage, insurance is required for the contents of each customer’s storage unit. We understand that things can happen no matter how many precautions are taken, and unlike other storage facilities that might allow you to take the risk, we won’t. In order to complete a rental, you must show proof of a homeowners or renters policy that explicitly covers the contents of a storage unit. If your current policy doesn’t cover items in storage, a storage insurance policy is needed. Even if the company you’re renting from doesn’t require insurance, we strongly recommend you take out a policy anyway. Coverage is very inexpensive – $10 or less per month for minimum coverage. Also, make sure you review your policy thoroughly so you understand the ins and outs of what’s covered and what is not covered, and be sure it covers the full value of your belongings.

Read Also: 5 Simple Tips for Safe Storage

We hope these tips helped you know what to look out for to help keep your belongings safe. Remember, storage units can be as secure as your home so long as you and the storage facility take all the necessary precautions.

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About the Author

Lauren Thomann

Lauren Thomann is a moving and storage expert. She covers everything from finding a home to settling into one, and all the stages in between, for the Life Storage blog.

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