Did you know that flooding doesn’t happen only after a massive rainstorm? It can occur at any time due to poor drainage systems, summer storms, melting snow, a large construction project, or a broken water main. It’s hard to believe, but according to FEMA, even one inch of water can cause thousands of dollars in damage.
Flooding can be a concern for some people that keep belongings in self storage. Others are either unaware of the damage that can be caused by flooding or don’t realize that they can take measures now to prevent flood damage later.
If you currently have items in a self storage unit or you’re thinking about leasing a unit, read the tips below to help keep your belongings safe during a flooding event.
Water or Flood Damage Prevention Measures
Store Items in Plastic Bins
Plastic containers will keep your items safe from moisture and the resulting mold and mildew. Try to purchase bins of identical size, and take the time to label your items for easy retrieval. Store important documents and valuable items in watertight containers.
Use Pallet Boards and Tarps
Pallets are a great way to keep your items off of the floor. They are the perfect solution for small businesses that use self storage for inventory, important documents, and office equipment and supplies.
Place pallets on the floor and cover them with plastic tarps before stacking your items. This will protect your bins and containers from sitting on a potentially wet floor. If you’re storing heavy items, check to be certain that the pallets can safely withstand the weight.
Use Shelving for Your Smaller Items
An alternative for storing your smaller items is shelving. There are lots of great options available that will provide you with a safe, convenient way to keep your belongings above the floor. Your storage unit can easily accommodate rack and wall mounted shelving as well as standing and hanging shelving.
When you organize your unit, stack valuable or sentimental items on your highest shelf or on top of items that are less expensive or meaningful to you. This will lessen the risk of damage from moisture to your more important items.
Cover Your Belongings with Nylon
You may not have heard this before, but covering your items with nylon can help prevent water damage that comes from above. You never know when a broken pipe or heavy rains can cause a leaking ceiling. If you wrap or cover your belongings with nylon, your stored possessions will have basic protection. A sheet of nylon is inexpensive and also a great barrier against dust.
Consider Flood Insurance
If you live in an area of the country where natural disasters are common, you might want to consider flood insurance. Standard homeowner’s insurance doesn’t include coverage for damages due to flooding, and federal disaster assistance kicks in only when there is a Presidential disaster declaration. Discuss your flood insurance options and your off-premises coverage with your insurance agent. It’s worth the peace of mind to know that you’re protected.
Does Your Self Storage Facility Have a Tenant Protection Plan
Find out if your self storage facility has a tenant protection plan. If so, discuss coverage options with the manager of your facility. This can be an additional level of protection as many of these plans cover some water damage.
Don’t assume that flooding is something you never need to worry about. It can happen anytime due to unpredictable events. Store your items in plastic, watertight containers. Use pallet boards, shelving, and nylon coverings. Organize your items for safety, and discuss flood insurance options with your insurance agent. Simple, basic prevention strategies are more than worth the disappointment of losing valuable or sentimental items.