When searching for a storage company, most people tend to base their decision on the features, services, and cost. These are all important considerations to be sure, but there are other factors to consider as well.

One particularly important consideration is the license. A reputable storage company should be duly licensed according to local, state, and federal regulations. This certification will indicate a certain level of professionalism and signifies that the company in question conforms to laws regarding the operation of such facilities.

A storage company is only as good as its reputation and you can do some research into its background in order to determine its feasibility for your particular purposes. Ask your friends and family for recommendations and/or feedback on storage companies you are thinking of hiring. In most cases, this should give you a good idea of the type and quality of service that you can expect. For more established storage companies, you can also check on their standing with the Better Business Bureau in your city.

Most companies will provide you with a free estimate, although you should make a distinction between “binding” and “non-binding” estimates. A binding estimate means that you will be required to pay the exact amount specified in the contract regardless of whether or not your items actually weigh the same as the weight estimated. With a non-binding estimate on the other hand, you only get a “placeholder” established, with the amount that you have to pay being based on the actual weight of your items. In most cases, it would be best to go with a non-binding estimate, as this will help you save money off space that you won’t actually be using.

The type of insurance offered by the storage company is another important consideration. There is always a risk that your items may be damaged, and insurance is your best protection against any untoward incident. Most storage companies will offer you standard insurance coverage, with the option to add more insurance as you see fit. Even if the cost of insurance adds a bit more to the storage fee, the cost is generally worth it for the piece of mind that comes from knowing that your items are protected from any theft, loss, or damage.

Liability insurance offered by storage companies typically come in two flavors: Full Value and Alternative Value. With a Full Value plan, you will generally receive compensation in the equivalent value of the item that was lost, stolen, or damaged. Some companies may also offer to repair whatever was damaged or compensate you for repair costs. In the event of a lost item, the storage company may replace the item in question or compensate you for the cost of purchasing the same item. This plan typically requires an additional fee on top of the storage costs.

An Alternative Value plan is generally offered at no cost. However, this plan provides only minimal coverage. If you plan on storing only non-valuable and/or easily-replaceable items, this type of insurance should be sufficient.