Storage facilities are great places to store boats over the winter, as they're sheltered, easy to access, and affordable. If you're planning on keeping your boat in a storage facility, though, you might want to pay several months' fees up front. If you can afford to do so, it'll ensure your account doesn't accidentally go into default—which could jeopardize your boat.
Mistakes that Could Lead to a Delinquent Account
No one signs up for a storage facility account planning to not default on its monthly payments, but honest mistakes can lead to a delinquency. In addition to an emergency depleting your finances, you could miss a payment or two if one of the following things happens:
- You rely on automatic payments, and your credit or debit card expires
- Your bill or payment is lost in the mail
- You simply forget to make a payment
These might be unlikely scenarios, but they occur every day and yet the consequence of defaulting could be troubling.
What Happens if Your Storage Facility Account Is Delinquent
Generally speaking, if your account with a storage facility is delinquent, the facility has the legal right to auction off or sell the items in your unit to pay your past-due balance. This both helps them recoup their loss and frees up the unit so they might rent it to someone else.
The specific process that your storage facility must follow is governed by the laws of the state that the facility is in, and laws vary from state to state. The SpareFoot Blog outlines the typical steps in the process, though:
- Your account will default once your rent is five to 30 days past due
- You'll be notified at least once of the default
- The storage facility will post one or more public notifications of any sale or auction
- The storage facility can sell or auction off your items between 30 and 90 days after you initially defaulted
Anything held in your delinquent storage unit can be sold or auctioned off, including your boat if you keep it in a unit. In fact, some states have laws that specifically mention the removal of vehicles, including boats. In other states, boats are treated like any other item kept at a storage facility.
Prevent a Default by Paying Your Storage Fees in Full
As long as you pay your storage facility fees in a timely fashion, you don't have to worry about defaulting. To prevent a basic mistake from jeopardizing your boat, you can pay your storage facility costs in full when towing your watercraft to the facility.
A facility won't object to receiving funds up front, and it's easy to calculate how much you need to pay. Since you know when you usually launch your boat, just ask the facility to calculate their fees through the month that you get your boat back out. Assuming you use your boat every year, the total cost should only be a few months' fees.
You might even be able to receive a discount by paying upfront. If the storage facility doesn't advertise and advance-payment discount, ask if they can help reduce your costs if you agree to pay your entire bill now. If they won't provide a monetary discount, they might be willing to upgrade your storage unit's size at no cost, which could make backing your boat in easier.
An upfront payment might seem like a hefty lump sum to give a storage facility, but taking care of your boat's winter storage bills now will give you peace of mind. If you can afford to, pay your storage bills now while you're winterizing your boat and thinking about it. This way, you won't have to worry about changing credit cards or forgetting a bill, which could cost you your boat.