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Adding Automatic Insurance Sign-ups [Self Storage]

September 20, 2022

self storage leases
5 min

More paperwork?

Many self storage operators want to require renter’s insurance - it can protect their tenants and their business from many unfortunate circumstances! But getting people to sign up for it and pay extra is its own challenge.

In this article, we’ll show you the benefits of adding automatic tenant insurance to your website.

If this isn’t your first StoragePug blog, you’ll know how we feel about automation.

Not only is automating stuff like this great for you, the operator, but it’s also better for your guests, too! No one wants to fill out extra paperwork in your office. If you can get your new tenants to sign up for self storage insurance online, as part of their rental, they’ll be much more likely to go along without complaint.

Want to up your game with the latest software? Learn more about software with  our Self Storage Software Playbook.

There are many good reasons to require tenant insurance - your tenants will have some recourse if a disaster does happen, for one thing. Many operators can turn a profit on their renters' insurance programs while reassuring their tenants that they’ll be protected if something goes wrong. 

But these benefits disappear quickly if every sign-up takes an hour and an argument. If you’re using SiteLink or other comparable PMSs, renters insurance can be just another step in your online rental process!


Can My PMS Automate Renters' Insurance?

Not every PMS can integrate with your tenant protection program, and not every protection program can talk to your PMS. 

SiteLink has a list of tenant protection programs that it can integrate with. If you’re using SiteLink, choose one of these plans unless you have a very good reason to choose a different one. 

Other PMS, such as Easy Storage Solutions, offer a tenant protection program of their own. Check with your own PMS provider to see if there’s any way to connect your existing online rental program with a tenant protection plan.

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If the PMS you’re using can’t connect with a protection plan provider, there are other options you can explore. Some tenant protection plans may offer an online sign-up process that’s quick and easy - you could send tenants a link and let them sign up that way.

The most steps you have to go through, though, the less valuable your tenant protection plan will be. You won’t make any more money (or save any more trouble) with a long process than you will with a short process. 

We recommend using whichever process you can automate with your existing PMS. And, if you really want to require tenant insurance but your PMS can’t automate it, maybe it’s time to upgrade to one that can!

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Choosing a Tenant Protection Plan Provider

Once you’ve got a PMS that will allow you to connect a tenant protection plan to your rental process, you’re ready to start picking a plan.

Tenant protection plans and renter's insurance aren’t exactly the same, but the differences are mostly in licensing, so you don’t need to worry about it too much.

Instead, you should analyze the protection plans by how much coverage they offer against how much they cost! You’ll probably want to offer your tenants a bunch of different tiers, if possible - someone storing old clothes won’t need as much coverage as someone storing all their best furniture. 

Want to up your game with the latest software? Learn more about software with  our Self Storage Software Playbook.

Consider what your tenants are usually storing and how valuable it is. If you’re serving a wealthy set of tenants, extra cost won’t be as important as extra coverage. If you’re offering bargain-rate self storage units, any extra cost might drive tenants away, as they’re looking for the cheapest option.

Choose a plan that covers all the likely emergencies your facility will face. Any good plan should cover most major emergencies, but if your facility is in a flood plain, you may have trouble getting coverage for that. 

Of course, if you’re in an area like that, you probably need coverage even more!

There are a million little things that go into choosing a tenant protection plan, from company reviews to payout rates to the vibe you get from their representatives, and we can’t cover them all here. 

One thing to always keep in mind, though, is how your new mandatory coverage program will impact your customers.

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Communicating Automatic Insurance Sign-ups to Your Tenants

The point of all self storage software is to make the every step of the process easier. Sometimes that means freeing you up to clean the units - sometimes it means ensuring every tenant is covered by a protection program.

If you’ve linked your PMS to your tenant protection program, getting your tenants registered won’t be a problem - instead, you’ll need to worry about educating them. 

People hate hidden fees. If you advertise a certain rate, and your customers end up paying far more than that, this can create a negative customer experience. And bad customer experience can drive your business into the ground.

If you’re going to require tenant protection, include that in the cost of the unit. When the advertised price matches the total price, and the customer learns they’ve got insurance on their unit without paying more, it’ll seem like a perk!

Sometimes, the higher sticker price could mean fewer rentals, especially if you’re in a race to the bottom with local competition. In this case, adding the tenant protection cost later in the process could lead to more rentals overall, and would give you a chance to explain why this cost is mandatory.

Either way, be clear with your tenant. Let them know what they’re paying for, and why they should pay for it. You may want to consider allowing them to purchase their own renters' insurance, or allowing the coverage of their homeowner's insurance to take its place.

Whatever path you take, try to make it as easy for your customer as possible. Today’s customers will pay good money for convenience - DoorDash isn’t the cheapest way to get food, but it sure is the easiest. 

If you can make it easy to sign up for tenant insurance, you’ll find far fewer complaints, better compliance, and better protection for your customers!

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Check out these other great posts for advice on creating a great customer experience!

At StoragePug, we build self storage websites that make it easy for new customers to find you and easy for them to rent from you.

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Download our Self Storage Software Playbook.

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