An Insurance Perspective on Upgrading Older Buildings

Written by: Mike Schofield Posted: 10/31/2018
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As the self storage industry ages, upgrades are becoming a key topic among facility operators and vendor companies specializing in the market. The primary purpose of upgrades is definitely to enhance rental revenue and property valuations. A secondary consideration, however, is how the upgrades impact your insurance costs and improve your location from a risk management perspective. From an insurance underwriter’s view, building and security upgrades for structures and premises of older locations is considered a positive action and will be reflected in the premium analysis.

Innovative technology and more durable construction materials are changing our self storage landscape not only for new facilities being constructed but also the operations that are electing to upgrade. Insurance agents who provide documentation of upgrades to an underwriter may help secure premium credits for the self storage operation.

Keep in mind that upgrades are not the only consideration when it comes to rating a risk. The primary rating elements are geographic location, building value, construction type and the operation’s three to five-year loss ratio. Operational policies such as requiring tenants to provide evidence of insurance and including a value limitation in the lease agreement are also risk management elements considered by the underwriter.

When it is time to make improvements at your facility, be sure to do your due diligence in selecting reputable vendors that are licensed and insured and come with impeccable references from previous clients. Finally, schedule a policy review with your insurance agent to discuss any planned upgrades and identify exposures that may need to be addressed through changes to your coverage, limits or deductibles.

About the Author

Mike Schofield is the president and CEO of Phoenix-based MiniCo Insurance Agency, a provider of specialty insurance products and publications for the self storage industry since 1974. MiniCo has partnered with London-based Lloyd’s to offer specialty property and deductible buy-back solutions for insuring the most challenging self storage properties. MiniCo Insurance Agency, LLC, is a member of the Aran Insurance Services Group. For more information, visit

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