It’s not every day that you decide to rent a self-storage unit. In fact, it’s not until moving day that most people realize the value of having one! They rush out to find temporary storage before they start moving boxes and usually end up choosing a facility that’s nearby and affordable. Unfortunately, cost and proximity aren’t the most important aspects to look at when choosing a storage facility. Hands down, the number one most important aspect of choosing a storage facility is security.
Think about it. When you rent a storage unit, you’re going to pack it full of your worldly possessions: clothes, furniture, decorations, documents, home décor and just about anything else—maybe even a vehicle! These are things you cherish. They have value—both real and sentimental. Leaving them at any old storage facility could mean leaving them open to damage or theft without proper security. Security is paramount!
When it comes to choosing a secure storage facility, there are a few important tips to keep in mind. Here are nine important ones that can have a big impact on the security of your belongings:
- Look for CCTV: First things first—is there an eye in the sky? CCTV is the simplest indicator of a self-storage facility that values security. Closed circuit monitoring systems not only keep wrongdoers away, they capture evidence of any misgivings that might’ve occurred on-site. If there’s an incident, you want to be covered with video evidence.
- Ask about on-site staff: Is there someone at the facility during the day? Overnight? Staff are the simplest deterrent to any vandalism or theft because they’re present. Even better than desk staff are security guards on-site—especially if they patrol.
- Check for gated entry: If there’s drive-up storage or a parking lot on-site, make sure there’s also gated access. The last thing you want is for someone to drive up, break in, load up and drive off with your stuff! Keypad entry is pretty standard for most gate systems, and each tenant should get a unique access code.
- Consider security levels: One of the best indicators of a security-conscious self-storage facility is layers of security. CCTV overhead. Gated access. Padlocked units. Front desk admission. These are all great features by themselves, but together, they’re a recipe for total security.
- Ensure fire protection: It’s not just wrongdoers you need to beware of. Fire is one of the top concerns at a storage facility because it can wipe out your entire unit and everything in it. Look for facilities fire safety standards built in, including fire suppression systems, sprinklers, cinderblock unit construction, extinguishers and more. The more fire safety is prevalent, the better you can feel.
- Ask about break-ins: Don’t be afraid to ask the facility manager if there’s a history of recent break-ins. Police incidents are public record, so you can easily look this up. Don’t let break-ins rule out a facility, but definitely rule out the facility if the manager tries to hide recent incidents from you.
- Read customer reviews: it never hurts to go online and read reviews about past customers’ experiences with the facility in question. If you’re seeing reviews about break-ins or vandalism, it might be smarter to look elsewhere for storage. On the other hand, if you see positive mentions about security, it’s a good sign and you should feel safe choosing this facility.
- Inquire about insurance: What happens if something does go wrong at the storage facility? You can’t predict or prevent everything, so you need to prepare for it. Ask if the storage facility offers third-party insurance for damaged items or break-ins. If they do, it’s a sign they take the integrity of your items seriously. If there’s no insurance option, it’s a good idea to find your own.
- Go with your gut: Sometimes, the best thing you can do is listen to your gut. If you get a bad vibe from the facility or the neighborhood it’s in, you’re not wrong to keep looking. Your gut might know more than you do! You can’t put a price on peace of mind.
While location and price are both important to consider when choosing a self-storage facility, nothing quite comes close to security as the most important variable. If you’re on the hunt for a secure storage facility in New York City, match it above the nine criteria above and make sure security is as big of a concern for the storage provider as it is for you.