- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Some upfront must-dos for anyone considering renting a self-storage unit:

• Do check your homeowners’ insurance to see whether the policy covers goods stored or used at another location. Trolleys are provided for moving goods in and out of the facility, but most firms do not offer insurance unless they have contracts with outside companies as a courtesy for clients, who then sign a separate agreement.

• Do check Web sites because most reputable companies have one and will give consumers useful tips on how to pack their goods and estimate the size storage space needed. Security Public Storage advises that a 6-by-5-by-10-foot unit normally can hold the contents of one to two rooms. Door to Door Storage and Moving, which delivers and picks up containers that a customer fills at leisure, suggests detailed packing methods for common household goods.

• Do ask whether the facility is a member of the U.S. Self Storage Association and whether managers on-site have taken the association’s training program. This ensures a certain amount of professionalism and trust.

• Do inquire whether a deposit is required, whether there is a climate-controlled facility available, and the size of the building’s elevators.

• Finally, do inspect the unit before signing and read the contract carefully. A valid photo ID may be required as well as a fixed address. Most facilities will not rent to anyone using a post-office box number for a return address — an indication of transiency and even possible insolvency.

Ann Geracimos

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