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Is Indoor RV Storage the Best?

Today you can find a lot of indoor RV storage facilities. The question is, are these types of RV storage facilities the best? There are a lot of issues with indoor RV storage. You will find some good points and some bad points that should be considered.

Here are the bad points to consider

First, many of these operations are temporary. As soon as the building owners can get their full leasing price for their building the RV storage goes away. Another problem occurs when they get caught by the city for illegally operating without an occupancy permit. Many businesses cannot get the permit because the buildings fire protection is not rated for all the gas, diesel and propane tanks of the stored RV’s.  Unfortunately, the storage facility will not tell you it’s closing up shop until they collect every last dollar they can get from you. Then it’s a mad rush to find something else. On one occasion, an RV storage owner pocketed all the money and never paid the building owner. The owner locked up his building denying access to the RV owners, even though they paid their rent. The police had to get involved and there were a lot of very upset RV owners.

Here is the second issue. You will rarely find any of these RV storage operations having the proper insurance policy for taking custody of your coach. That is why they make sure there is a clause in the contract holding them harmless for anything. You are held responsible and you must carry your own insurance. Most people do not realize that when you give custody of your vehicle to someone else, the liability shift to them. That leaves the RV owner in limbo because he signed away his rights to the storage business. By California law, when a business is taking custody of your RV (that is where they move, park and keep the keys), they should carry a Garagekeepers insurance policy that protects the RV’s in custody. So far, most indoor RV storage businesses continue to operate without the correct insurance, leaving their customers exposed to all the risk.

The third issue is important also. Most indoor RV storages use a stacking storage method, where the RV’s are parked in tightly, sometimes four to five even up to eight rigs deep.  The problem is that the RV’s are constantly being moved around to get someone’s RV that is parked in the back. Every time your RV is moved around there is the risk of getting it scratched or damaged. If this happened to your RV, how could you prove that they did it? Do you think they will actually claim responsibility? Who is stuck with the repair bill?

With all the excitement about indoor RV storage facilities, they offer a wonderful list of things they check for you, free of charge as part of the storage services. This makes indoor RV storage look very attractive.  Unfortunately the list is never complete so here is the complete list of checks you get for free from the employee’s. You will find the list in red not so attractive.

Our employee’s will do the following:

  • Free wash before and after every pickup
  • Check batteries and charge as necessary
  • Check and fill fresh water tank
  • Check tire pressure
  • Check and turn on refrigerator
  • Dump holding tanks on return

Our employee’s will do the following:

  • Try not to damage your RV when moving it
  • Snoop thru your drawers and personal effects
  • Check for any private photos or adult material
  • Check the fridge and pantry for alcohol
  • Check for firearms, cash or any other valuables
  • Check to see how loud your stereo works
  • Make sure you sign your rights away, from
  • holding the storage responsible or suing them for ANYTHING

The last drawback from considering indoor RV storage is that you have to give them notice when you want your RV pulled out.  Any last minute decision to leave town on Friday afternoon may not be possible as most indoor RV storage facilities require a minimum 24 hour notice to shuffle enough rigs out to get to yours.

Here are the good points to consider

Most everyone would agree that being out of the elements is a good thing. Protection from the sun can make the paint job last longer and you won’t have to worry if your roof leaks from rain. If they do offer free services, that is nice because it can save you time and be convenient.

Most people do not realize that there are a lot of issues with indoor RV storage facilities. Perhaps, the best RV storage is where you park your rig, you lock it and you take the keys with you. You will likely be less frustrated and the wife will be a whole lot happier knowing that things that are supposed to be private stay private You also want peace of mind that your rig is safe, returning to find it in the same condition you left it and insured properly for the “what if’s” in life. Everyone has to weigh the good points versus the bad points and come to their own decision.

5 Things You Need to Know About RV Storage Gate Access

A good tip for finding the best security system at an RV Storage facility is to look at the gate access controls.  Most storage operations use one of the following:  a padlock, combination lock, a key pad, or a proximity card reader.  Some may even offer a security guard for a personal identity check before allowing you to enter.  Here are five of the best and worst.

#1  BEST

Proximity Card Reader:  It allows access by reading the embedded code inside the card.  The entries and exits are documented, photographed, and can be monitored in live action. The code can be manipulated by the facility staff to manage customer access dates/hours.  Additional cards can be issued for additional drivers within the household or to commercial customers that grant access to several employees.  These additional cards can be managed and controlled as part of the customer’s account.  The access card(s) can also be instantly turned off in the event of a security breach, customer abuse issues, or if the card has been lost or stolen.  The card can be loaned and returned to the customer, but duplicates cannot made or issued.  This is an extremely effective technology and used by many Police Departments and other secure facilities.


Key Pad Entry:  With the keypad, the facility manager can manage the dates/hours of access for the customer.  Code entries are recorded and can be monitored in live action.  Additional codes can be issued for additional drivers within the household or to commercial customers that grant access to several employees.  These additional codes can be managed and controlled as part of the customer’s account. The code(s) can also be turned off in the event of a security breach, customer abuse issues, or if the code has been compromised.  But, this method comes in second best because the biggest downside is that customers very often give their code away to multiple family members, friends and service personnel. This issue is grossly magnified every time an “additional User” gives the code away to his/her personal family members and friends.  The result is that the facility is now accessible to a multitude of unknown Users.  As time goes on, access to unknown Users becomes unmanageable for the facility staff to handle and the security is severely compromised.


Security Guard: The success of using a security guard depends greatly on the integrity of the guard himself.  A weak guard that doesn’t perform a proper customer check, or one that can easily be talked into letting someone in, defeats the purpose of having the guard.  Most facilities don’t use the Security Guard method due to the fact that it usually inhibits longer access hours available to the customers and the Guard is not customer service trained to take rent payments or handle customer account issues.  Most facilities will not pay for employees that cannot multi-task and generate income.


Padlock Entry:  Customers have to promise not to make duplicates of the gate key or give out any duplicates.  But, it is impossible to hold the customer to their promise.  The number of keys copied and given out is impossible to monitor.  Entries and exits are not recorded or seen because there is no staff on site.  Staff cannot control customer access hours or deny access when necessary.  Security is dependent on each customer faithfully closing and locking the gate upon exit, which often doesn’t happen.  There is virtually no security, controls or monitoring.  Padlocks only mean that thieves need to bring a pair of bolt cutters with them.  Chances of staff catching and prosecuting an offender is highly unlikely.  Usually there is little or no evidence to turn over to the Police.


Combination Lock:  This poses the same problems as with the regular padlocks.  But in addition, access is even harder for paying customers that don’t access the facility often enough to actually remember the combination.  Facilities that use padlocks rarely have any staff on site, so customers can’t depend on help with the gate when they need it the most.

RV Storage . . . Location Counts

Is buying RV storage like buying real estate, in that location can make or break a deal?  Many would agree.  Storage location considerations have more to do with security than convenience.   Storing close to home is a big time saver.  But . . . just as important, if not more important, is the question of whether or not the storage is in a safe area.

Many new RV storage facilities have opened up in less developed, recessed areas outside of suburbs.  These make attractive properties for land and business developers looking to get in while the land is still cheap, but consumers should beware.  Often these areas are lurking places of criminal activity.  Criminals are often attracted to locations that are full of expensive RV’s loaded with toys and gadgets, stored at isolated, dark, unattended RV storage facilities.  Here are some questions for thought when deciding on a storage facility for a particular location:

  1. What kinds of customers do business at this location and where do they come from?  Are the customers local and visit frequently, or are most of them from afar storing for a cheap price?
  2. What are the hours of operation when the staff will be present and alert to any visitors? This is important to consider if staff is available during reasonable hours so that frustrated, locked out customers don’t attempt to break into the facility after hours.
  3. What security measures are in place to minimize criminal activity?  Does the facility have block walls, or does it have chain link fencing that can be easily cut by thieves and vandals?  What about surveillance and gate controls? Business developers that cut corners on these features are only saving money for themselves, not their customers.
  4. Are there any weak points or flaws in those security measures, such as dark corners, isolated areas with access from other properties, alleys, or driveways?  Are the surveillance cameras real and do they record?  Does the staff appear to be competent and concerned, or just an hourly wage employee paid to answer the phone?
  5. In the event of a security breach, who responds? The manager? Alarm company? Police? All of these above?  Realistically, how long will the response take?
  6. Does the general location within the city show signs of neglect, such as graffiti or gang territory, broken street lights, streets cluttered with junked cars and trash, buildings and homes in need of maintenance?
  7. Will homeless persons find the RV storage facility an easy target for food and shelter?  Sadly, areas afflicted with homeless do experience a higher rate of break-ins from those seeking a warm, safe place to sleep and any available pantry foods.  The cost to repair damaged RV doors and windows can be quite costly.

It is unfortunate that these types of factors have to be considered at all.  But it is better to be pro-active about keeping your property safe.  Don’t hesitate to ask the facility manager about your concerns.  Make it a regular part of your shopping experience.  Most importantly, make a site visit to the facility to meet the onsite manager and if possible, drive by the facility for a night tour.  If you determine that the facility is not in a safe location or not equipped to manage a risky location, listen to your instincts and look for another facility.