Yet more flood misery in London – and this time the rain’s not to blame

Whilst thousands of households are still coming to terms with the devastating damage the recent floods have caused to their homes, there was yet more flooding misery in London on Thursday 27 February. This time the cause was a burst water main which, when the water mixed with mud and silt, sent filthy water cascading into people’s homes along the Clapham Road in Kennington, south London.

Firefighters were called to evacuate scores of people from their homes as the “stinky” floodwater poured from the streets into basements and lower ground floor flats. The burst water main was said to have flooded the road completely within just 10 minutes, leaving many people trapped in their residences and needing to be carried to safety.

Meanwhile, those affected by the flooding caused by the recent heavy downpours may have a long wait to return to their homes. The home insurance industry is said to have paid out some £24million since December 2013 to accommodate flood victims in hotels, B&Bs and rented housing until their own homes are ready to move back into.

Whilst it’s a truly terrible situation to be in, most can accept that bricks and mortar can be repaired and household items replaced. But what about the irreplaceable items in your home? Things like photograph albums containing precious memories, family keepsakes, antiques and even essential household documents you need to keep safe?

That’s where self-storage can be the answer. Even a small unit can accommodate all those cherished items you want to keep from harm’s way. After all, it’s not just heavy rain and burst mains that can damage your home and possessions – plumbing disasters and fires do, unfortunately, happen. So it’s well worth thinking about those things you’d hate to lose and could never replace with any amount of home insurance money. Then you’ll appreciate how a safe, secure and very affordable self-storage unit could very well be the best place to keep your treasured possessions out of harm’s way. Just take a look at our London self-storage facilities to see the range of services we offer and our latest fantastic deals.

Don’t let thieves spoil your Summer holiday

After the long, dark winter days many of us are planning a sunshine getaway for the summer or even just a relaxing UK break to recharge our batteries. But leaving our homes and valuables unattended for any length of time can be a cause for concern – nobody wants to come home to find they’ve been burgled.

Yet home burglary does happen far too often, and of course there are steps you can take to try and prevent this worst case scenario. Naturally, ensure that all windows and doors are locked, including garage and shed doors. Set your burglar alarm, if you have one, and remember to cancel any milk and paper deliveries. Another great deterrent is lights –if you’re going away it’s worth buying a few timer plugs to switch lights on and off in your house, giving the impression that your home is occupied.

Property marking is another good idea – marking or etching your postcode and house number on valuable items is a good deterrent as burglars know these items can be more easily traced by the police and it makes it harder for thieves to sell your belongings on.

But what if the worst happens and you return to discover you’ve been burgled? It’s a horrible shock, but you’ll need to act immediately. The first thing is DON’T touch anything. Call the police straight away and take pictures, without disturbing the scene. In fact, it’s a good idea to have taken pictures of your belongings before you go away, just to ‘prove’ that you did own them. Wait for the police to arrive before you try to move anything, but try to note down the items that have been taken.

Next, call your insurance company. They’ll require an initial list of stolen items, and they’ll probably arrange for a Loss Adjuster to come to your home. So if you can provide as much proof as possible of what’s been taken – such as photographs and receipts – that should help to speed up your insurance claim process.

Another thing to think about if you’re going away and want to protect your valuables is self-storage. You can rent a Fortbox self-storage unit from as little as one week, and it’s a great way to give you peace of mind. Our smallest units are perfect for you to store valuable items whilst you’re away, and you could also include essential documents such as your insurance and car documents, receipts for ‘big ticket’ items as well as any paperwork containing details that thieves could use for Identity Fraud. That way, if thieves do break into your home, your most treasured possessions will be safe and secure until you’re ready to collect them. Take a look at our London self-storage facilities to see how convenient and affordable it is to ensure that your valuables are safe whilst you’re away.

Students: ensure you’ve got insurance cover

If you’re heading off to University this year, you probably haven’t even considered the need for insurance for your personal goods.  Well, we hate to put a downer on things, but did you know that young people are three times more likely to be the victims of burglary and that one in three university students are the victims of crime each year?

It means that getting insurance for your possessions is going to be an essential aspect of student life. Don’t assume that your belongings are covered by the landlord of a rented property –they usually aren’t. And whilst some insurers will add students to their parents’ contents policy, it’s not always the case and it’s often restricted if they do. In fact, it usually works our cheaper for students to get their own insurance cover – and if you share accommodation, each of you should take out your own individual contents policy.

Now, you may not think you’ve got much to cover. But could you really afford to shell out for a new laptop, mobile, iPod, TV or games console if it was stolen? Recent research has found that the average student has possessions worth over £4,000. So insurance is a must! Your contents insurance should cover your possessions against loss or damage caused by fire, theft, vandalism, storm, flood and burst pipes. You may be able to choose specific items only to insure – like your computer – but remember that the value of all your other stuff can add up to a lot of dosh too.

Now, here’s the tricky bit. Lots of students have a bike or musical instrument – sometimes both – and some policies won’t cover these valuable items, so check! You also need to check if your possessions are covered during the holidays – some policies will only cover you for term-times. If you’re going to be in halls of residence or shared accommodation, you might need to ensure that you’re covered for ‘walk-in theft’ as well. Most student insurance policies exclude this, so it’s worth extending your cover.

Of course, another thing to think about is self-storage. If you’re not covered by insurance during holidays, it’s a great way to stash your stuff until term-time rolls back around. You could even get together with friends or housemates to rent a self-storage unit together for all the things you don’t want to leave in your accommodation or lug around with you. So bikes, books, TVs, even just your personal household stuff can all be stored safely and securely until you’re ready to pick them up. Take a look at our latest offers for student storage and our Oxford self-storage facilities, and follow us on Facebook for some great storage tips and student offers.


Taking storage to a whole new level!

When it comes to storage facilities, The University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries take some beating! Just over three years ago, the University unveiled its brand new Book Storage Facility which, at a cost of £26million, features 153 miles of shelving able to hold 8.4 million volumes.

The facility now stores the lesser-used items from the Libraries’ collections, including books, manuscripts, microfilms, maps, newspapers and periodicals. The items stored date from the 18th century onwards and, soon after the storage facility opened, the Bodleian moved over 6 million books to the new site – the biggest book move in the Libraries’ history.

The Book Storage Facility has an eleven-metre tall shelving system with different configurations to accommodate the different sizes of books and other items. Volumes are stored in 745,000 bar-coded, specially designed storage trays and boxes. Whilst the facility’s floor area is equal to 1.6 football pitches, with the innovative shelving arrangements – there are 95,000 shelf levels – the surface area for storage is actually equivalent to 16.5 football pitches!

Here at Fortbox we certainly can’t match that! But if you want to free up some space at home or perhaps just want to ensure that treasured items are kept safe, secure yet readily accessible, then our self-storage units could be the answer for you. Our smallest units are perfect for storing a few boxes of precious possessions that you don’t want to come to any harm, through to our largest units which can accommodate all of your furniture and other belongings, for example during a house move. Take a look at our Oxford self-storage page to see the facilities and fantastic deals we can offer you.