Avoid a Storage War: How to Find the Right Long-Term Storage

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A Norman Rockwell painting worth $1 million was recently stolen from a storage unit in New York City. Before you pack away your most treasured keepsakes and family items, take a look at our Frequently Asked Storage Questions to help you choose the right storage company:

Is long-term storage right for me?If you are making a long-distance move or an International move and cannot take everything with you, long-term storage is perfect for you because it provides the greatest level of security and maximum protection. For example, professionals pack your items and position them in such a way to prevent damage. Additionally, the long-term storage company monitors your items regularly to make sure they are safe, providing a greater level of peace of mind when you cannot check on your things yourself. Long-term storage is also ideal for someone storing valuable art or antiques, who wants to make sure they are in the best hands possible.

How can I make sure I’m choosing the right storage company? Look at online reviews. Check the Better Business Bureau.  Make sure the company is an AMSA ProMover (The American Moving and Storage Association). An AMSA ProMover has been vetted by AMSA, which means that the company has met stringent guidelines. Finally, ask the company if you can take a look at their facilities. It may seem a little extreme. But a few hours out of your day is nothing—especially when you’ll have the peace of mind in knowing exactly where and how your belongings are being handled and stored. While on your visit, take note of the cleanliness of the facilities, and the diligence of the storage team. In this case, you’ll want to judge a book by its cover.

I am storing really valuable items. What questions should I ask the storage company? Ask about their security system – make sure it’s 24-hour monitored. If you are storing artwork or antiques, ask your storage company if they have a temperature or climate-controlled room. Ask what the protocol is in case of an on-site fire, or a hurricane or tornado. Finally, ask the company what their experience level is with handling high-value items. Don’t be shy about asking for references.

How else can I ensure my belongings will be safe? Buy insurance (or “valuation” as it’s called in the moving world!) Moving companies are required by law to provide a certain level of coverage. But it’s only 60 cents on the pound, or $50 per article (whichever is less), AND you have to pay a $100 out-of-pocket deductible on all claims you make. This is a great option if you are storing things that aren’t very valuable. If you are storing items such as electronics, furniture, art, and antiques, you’ll want to purchase Full Valuation from your moving and storage company. Should something happen to your belongings while in storage, your storage company will have to a. repair it b. replace it or c. provide you with a cash settlement for CURRENT market value. Talk to your mover/storage company about your options.

Is there anything I cannot store? Avoid packing anything hazardous or perishable. Things like paint, paint thinner, nail polish remover, common household cleaners, and oils are all things that cannot be stored. Packing and storing these types of items limit your moving and storage company’s liability if anything happens to your belongings while in storage.

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