We’ve all seen the commercial showing Victor and Cheryl standing outside watching Cheryl’s She Shed burn to the ground. Cheryl’s on the phone with Zachary, her State Farm agent, waiting to find out if her building is covered. Thankfully, it is.
What about your She Shed? Or garage, garage, pool house, or plain ol’ storage building? Are you doing all you can to protect your investment in a sound structure, whatever you may use it for? Whether fire, storm, or flood, here are a few ways to protect your outdoor storage building.
Know what the warranty covers
The first line of defense when it comes to protecting your outdoor storage building is your warranty. Shed warranties vary from one company to the next and cover everything from nothing to, well, everything. And all that’s in between.
When you’re shopping for a new shed, ask questions. Does the warranty cover materials and workmanship? What about accidents? If it were hit by lightning, as Cheryl’s She Shed was, would your warranty cover it?
You also want to know how long the warranty lasts. If the siding started buckling after a year, you need to know if the company will fix it. What about three years? Is it still covered? This may vary not just from company to company but from one building line to another within the same company. For instance, Ulrich Lifestyle offers a longer warranty period for their Limited Series buildings than they do for their Select Series.
Properly maintain your building
The second best way to protect your outdoor storage building is proper maintenance. Make sure the ground drains properly so that water doesn’t enter the building. If hail tears the shingles, replace them. Wash the vinyl siding, fix the torn screen, do the things that responsible homeowners do.
Shed maintenance will include different tasks depending on the season of the year. For instance, in the fall you’ll want to remove any wet or damp recreational equipment like life preservers and fishing poles. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to empty all the contents and sweep out the inside. You’ll also want to rake leaves and debris away from the building, inspect the roof before the first snow, and check the doors and windows for gaps or leaks.
In spring, you’ll again want to inspect for leaks in the roof, give it a fresh coat of paint inside and out or scrub the siding, and repair any tears in your screens.
Protect your outdoor storage building with homeowner’s insurance
Many homeowners never give their insurance a second thought after purchasing it. Yet, unless you update your policy when you make home improvements or add items like a woodstove, you may find yourself underinsured.
“When you make significant improvements to your home,” says Stacy Webb, sales executive with Bankers Insurance in Staunton, Virginia, “it’s always a good rule of thumb to let your agent know.” The same goes for adding or replacing an outdoor storage building.
Webb says that most people have coverage that includes extras like private structures up to 10 percent of the coverage for the home. For instance, if your home is covered for $300,000, your contents and outdoor buildings would be covered for up to $30,000. The contents of your shed are covered under the policy’s provision for the contents of your home, according to Webb.
“There’s an exception to that,” he says, “that you need to check on. That is the limits for one particular item.” If your policy sets limits on the coverage of any one particular item, and you own something that exceeds those limits, then you need to have them added, or scheduled to, the policy. An example often found in outdoor storage buildings would be a zero-turn lawnmower. If your ‘one particular item’ limit is $2,500 and your mower cost $6,000, you want to schedule it separately on your policy.
Renters face a different set of circumstances. You may rent your home and the landlord gave permission for you to erect a She Shed in the backyard. Just as the landlord’s insurance won’t cover the contents of your rented home, it won’t cover your shed either. “If you have a renter’s policy,” says Webb, “let your agent know you’re adding a shed.”
Adding an outdoor storage building, gazebo, or garage to your property is a big investment. Protect that investment so you can enjoy it for years to come. Whether you use it as a garage, to store lawn equipment, or as a She Shed getaway, you’ll be glad you did.
If you have any questions on shed warranties, contact an Ulrich Lifestyle storage professional. Whether potting shed or She Shed, they have the options to suit your needs.