Arlene Beasley is warning others to pay attention to their insurance policy when storing items in a storage unit.
She just moved into a new home in Rockwall, but most of the furniture inside is second hand.
“My brother gave me the table and chairs," said Beasley.
Most of Beasley's furniture had to be thrown out after it was damaged in a storage unit at Public Storage on Kingsley Road in Garland.
“The first time I checked on it, I could tell that there were lots of vermin in there, feces, rodents, feces, urine on everything,” said Beasley.
She submitted documentation of everything she said was damaged to her insurance company Orange Door, a subsidiary of Public Storage. She detailed urine on mattresses and upholstered furniture. She said wiring was chewed out of her refrigerator and even her clothing was ruined.
“Now clothing, you can wash those, but as far as the furniture and the piano, there’s nothing you can do with the piano. It has rat feces all over and they urinated on it. There’s nothing you can do with that piano. It’s in the garage now,” said Beasley.
She also showed us a bedroom set where the wood drawers had been chewed up and that piano with what she says are urine stains and keys that didn't work.
Beasley's policy with Orange Door covers all sorts of perils, including rodents, but it said right in the contract that no matter how much coverage you buy, if your items are damaged by rodents the most they will pay is $250 and there’s a $100 deductible.
The most Arlene could get for all her items is $150 which they offered her.
“I was just devastated. I could not believe it. I said this is not true,” said Beasley.
Public Storage is the largest storage company in America. It's right in their in-house insurance company's contract that the max award for any type of vermin is $250.
Competitor U-haul offers no rodent coverage at all on their SafeStor in-house insurance.
Extra Space storage, the nation's second largest storage company, tells NBC 5 they do cover damage from vermin up until the max amount of the policy. You just can’t have any food inside your unit. They said they're one of the only companies to do it but added the coverage about a year ago to provide more peace of mind to their customers.
Beasley filed complaints and tried to get Public Storage to reconsider her case, but said she was denied.
NBC 5 reached out repeatedly to the manager of the local Public Storage on Kingsley Road to ask about their pest control practices and insurance policies.
We also called and emailed several representatives at Public Storages corporate offices for weeks and never received a call back.
Insurance agents said outdoor storage units are especially vulnerable to rodents which is why many policies don't offer coverage.
It does exist and is out there, but you have to ask to see if you're covered. In fact many renters and homeowners policies will cover items in storage automatically.
First, check to see if rodents are covered under your policy.
Next, don't be afraid to ask storage companies about their efforts to fight rodents.
We checked with several self-storage places around the area and many were willing to show us their pest control contracts showing the steps they take to protect your items.