Hurricane season can begin as early as June and last beyond October, and if you live in an area that has a high chance of tropical weather impact, it is always a good idea to have a plan in place. Storage facilities often see more business after a hurricane hits, so prepare yourself early at the first sign of a tropical storm.
Prepare: Rent early.
In higher risk areas you may want to start the search for a storage unit (and possibly rent) the month that large possible storms start showing up. For instance, when Hurricane Michael hit the Florida Panhandle in October of 2018 Spacebox Storage was only at 75% occupied. But when it was over and families could finally take account of their possessions, Spacebox Storage hit maximum occupancy mid to late November. Searching early will get you ahead of the game and you can secure a good deal. Prices for storage facilities fluctuate when occupancy increases, although Florida law protects consumers from any facility to price gouge during or right after a hurricane. Also, take inventory of all property stored.
Protect: Insurance and Photos.
Get insurance before the storm hits. Spacebox Storage requires every unit to be insured either by the tenant or through StorSmart Insurance. But keep in mind some other storage facilities may not have this requirement. This doesn’t mean that if you’re not required to have it you don’t need it, because the facility itself covers the building and not the property inside. Also, once a storm is named most insurance agencies won’t sell insurance in the “Storm Zone”. If you already have your property secured and insured, double check what insurance you do have. Does it cover Hazard, Flood, or if you’re a business storing business goods, Business Interruption Insurance? Lastly take pictures of what you have inventoried. “Before” pictures can help if there are any damages to what you have stored.
Postliminary: Assess the damages.
Just because the storm is over doesn’t mean it is safe to access the property yet. Our facility managers will be the first on the property with emergency services to assess the integrity of the facility and if it is safe for you as the tenant. Once you can safely access your unit make sure to take “After” photos immediately. Take inventory of any damaged property and separate damaged property from secure property, but do not dispose of any damaged property until an insurance adjuster is able to come out and assess. Assess value of your property, damage related costs, and impact of business interruption costs.
Spacebox Storage has a facility hurricane plan which includes a thorough walk through and around of the property. We backup and secure all tenant files in a safe location and secure the facility on a timeline based on the severity of the incoming storm. This means that our facility will be locked down and no one will have access on the day of the storm (we want our employees safe as well). We will keep tenants up to date on our timeline through email, social media, and specific calls to tenants who may be affected.