Man says vintage car, family heirlooms damaged by rats at storage facility

When rats moved into a storage unit, a renter said he learned a tough lesson about the need for insurance. (Source: Arizona's Family)
Published: Feb. 16, 2023 at 8:23 PM MST
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PHOENIX (KPHO/Gray News) - An Arizona man says rats damaged his vintage sports car and family heirlooms at a storage facility.

Mike Vestal told KPHO that he rented a storage unit to house his vintage sports car, a 1966 Austin Healey Sprite, and some family heirlooms. But when rats moved in, he ended up with a tough lesson on the need for insurance.

“They love cars,” he said. “They love to nest in them, and they love eating up wiring harnesses. You know, they eat off the insulation, the casing.”

Vestal said he reported the rats to management at Extra Space Storage. In turn, they called in an exterminator, but it reportedly didn’t help.

According to Vestal, he had to put out rat traps, but the rodents had already done serious damage to his car. He says his car’s wiring was badly damaged, and the carpet along the floorboards had to be thrown away.

Vestal estimated the damage to his car at $10,000, and that’s not all.

“I have my grandmother’s quilts that I’m keeping,” he said. “Once that’s damaged with an infestation, you’ve got to throw it away. You’ve got to get rid of it.”

Vestal said that many of his belongings had to be tossed out. The total damage is more than $16,000.

Hoping to be reimbursed, he filed a claim with Extra Space Storage.

“And their first response to that was we’re not seeing any signs of rodent infestation or damage whatsoever,” he said. “So, I’m still dealing with that; we’ll see where it goes.”

KPHO reports that Extra Space Storage said its team took Vestal’s complaint about the rats seriously, moved him to a different storage unit, and had repeated visits from an exterminator.

As for Vestal’s claim, a representative with Extra Space Storage said it was approved for $3,000 with the insurance coverage he had on the unit.

According to KPHO, it’s important to make sure your insurance matches the value of the contents.

Vestal said he has increased the insurance coverage to better reflect the value of what’s in the unit.