ST. LOUIS ( -- Many people in the st. Louis area rely on public storage units to keep excess belongings and sometimes valuables safe. But if weather, fire or break-ins happen, the insurance the storage facility has only covers damage to their property, not your belongings.

Within st. Louis city limits alone, we counted 14 public storage units and that number certainly grows when you include the county.

The self storage association estimates 10 percent of households use a storage unit.

If you have homeowners or renters insurance it may cover your storage unit items but you need to make sure you specifically have "off premise coverage" included.

This kind of coverage will protect your storage unit items lost to theft, damage in fires or tornadoes.

However, it often doesn't cover items damaged in floods, earthquakes, mold and mildew, vermin or poor maintenance.

If you have items of value in your storage unit insurance agencies will likely recommend what they call a floater or rider, which is coverage for specific items outside of homeowners or renters insurance.

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