Safety Deposit Boxes- Are They Really Secure?

Do you rent a box to store your valuables in? Then you should read this informative article to find out how secure your items really are!

Safety deposit boxes are available in banks and credit unions across America. It is actually a scaled down version of a safe that is stored inside a vault. This type of box is available in a variety of sizes. The customers of the bank or credit union can rent a box to store their smaller valuables in. These can include jewelry, stocks, bonds, annuities, wills, savings bonds, rare stamps, old coins, et cetera.

You may even have a safety deposit box rented at the local financial institution you do business with. You probably paid the first month's rent, placed your valuables inside it, and locked it up. You probably walked away with the confident feeling that your possessions are safe and sound. But, are they?

To open your storage unit, you'll, of course, need to contact an employee to gain access to the vault. Then, you'll need the key that was issued to you by the bank or credit union. The financial institution has a master key, but your key cannot be copied. Therefore, these are the only two keys available. That fact gives you privacy and security.

Usually, you'll have to sign an access log every time you need to get into your safety deposit box.

So, even if someone else got hold of your key, they wouldn't be able to access your box.

In the event of a bank or credit union robbery, a thief could possibly get to your box and steal its contents, but the chances are highly unlikely. The vault is made of durable concrete or steel, and the safety deposit box is steel as well. A thief isn't likely going to take the time to break in and target your storage unit. So, it's strongly secure in that respect too.



If any of your jewelry, rare stamps, old coins, or other valuables would become lost, stolen, or damaged, you should have insurance on them. The bank or credit union probably has some type of blanket coverage, but you can't count on reimbursement through that.

Be sure to check your homeowner's or your renter's policy to see if a safety deposit box is covered. If not, you may have to purchase additional coverage.

But what about paper valuables such as stocks, bonds, annuities, wills, savings bonds, et cetera?

You can easily get another copy of your will from your attorney's office. Your checking accounts, savings accounts, money market deposit accounts, and certificates of deposit are safely insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The FDIC covers the first one hundred thousand dollars worth of deposits.

However, the FDIC does not insure mutual stocks, bonds, annuities, and other such financial instruments. Neither does the FDIC cover any other tangible valuables that are stored in your safety deposit box. Therefore if a natural disaster such as a flood, earthquake, hurricane, tornado, et cetera, would wreck or destroy the bank, then you could recover damages and get replacements if you yourself have your box insured.

If the bank or credit union that you rent your box from fails and closes, as sometimes does happen, the bank would have to notify you of the closing so that you could remove your possessions from their storage unit.

Finally, you should keep cash in an account with the bank. Do not store currency in a safety deposit box as it will not be covered under any conditions by the bank or any type of insurance.

Also, don't store anything in the box that you may need at a moment's notice. This might include a legal Power of Attorney document, living wills, et cetera.

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