SALEM, Va. – Many are left picking up the pieces after a fire ripped through a self-storage facility in Salem on Monday night.
With nearly 11 million U.S. households renting storage space these days, WSLS 10 wanted to take a closer look at how you can keep your belongings safe.
Varsity Storage is right down the road from Apperson Self Storage. Staff say the fire there hit home. Now they're hoping more renters will play it safe and get insurance.
"If the stuff is worth storing, then it's worth a little extra to have it insured," said Andrea Minnick, general manager for Virginia Varsity Self Storage.
More than 60 Apperson Self Storage units destroyed by a fire, leave unit renters helpless. And while some units may have been insured or nearly empty, others were full and if they weren't insured...a total loss.
"We do our best to prevent a tragedy like that but bad staff happens and we just really hope that our customers pay attention to the insurance and if they don't have ours, that they do have another form of coverage," said Minnick.
Virginia Varsity Storage in Salem encourages anyone that rents a unit to add insurance coverage to their monthly rent or to their homeowners policy. But like many storage facilities in the area, Varsity does not require an insurance plan.
"A lot of people assume that they will only be in storage for a month or two and it usually ends up being a little bit longer. It's nice to just have the additional coverage, mainly for the peace of mind," said Minnick.
Minnick says Varsity staff do daily walkthroughs of the property and maintenance checks.
Cost-wise, Minnick says Varsity's insurance add-ons start at around $9 a month. Adding a storage unit to a homeowners policy can be reasonable as well, but it's important to make sure coverage isn't capped since your belongings are off-property.
"I think most of the stuff that's stored is of sentimental value. Even if it wouldn't be worth anything to someone else, it's priceless to the person storing it," said Minnick.
WSLS did speak with Apperson management Wednesday. They say they are working to get people back into units but it is a process. They're putting in a perimeter fence to contain the damage in Building B, so it's safe for people to come back on the property.