Home > Uncategorized > Do I Need a Safety Deposit Box?

Comments 0 Comments

Quick, where’s your birth certificate? How about your will? That piece of heirloom jewelry your grandmother left you? If you didn’t say in a safety deposit box, you could be at greater risk of losing these valuables in a fire, flood or other natural disaster, even if you have them in a safe at home.

You’re also at greater risk for identity theft in the event your home is burglarized if important documents that include personal information like your Social Security number, credit card numbers and other personal facts are easily accessible.

While a safety deposit box isn’t absolutely foolproof in guarding your valuables, it can offer a layer of protection and assurance that the average person’s home simply can’t. Here are the pros and cons of using a safety deposit box.

The Pros

1. They’re Cost-Effective

Safety deposit boxes come in various sizes and range in price from roughly $15 to $500 per year. That can be a small price to pay for top-notch, ’round-the-clock security and surveillance, particularly if your belongings are highly valuable.

2. More Protection From Natural Disasters

If your home is hit by a flood, fire, earthquake or other natural disaster, personal items like jewelry and documents can be destroyed. Safety deposit boxes are typically installed within vaults that are not as prone when it comes to natural disasters, meaning your valuables have an extra layer of protection.

3. Keeping Track of Valuables is Easier

Knowing that all your valuables are in one secured place can provide peace of mind, particularly for aging people who might forget where some items are filed in their homes. It’s also easier for family members to access important documents in case of emergency or even death. Of course, you still have to keep track of the key(s).

4. Better Theft Protection

Home safes may seem like a cost savings, particularly if you have a lot of items you need to store, but in some cases they’re easier for thieves to open and even remove from your home.

The Cons

1. Limited Access

Access to your safety deposit box is limited to bank hours, which can be inconvenient for some people and circumstances. And in the event the owner of the box dies and there is no one else with access, the box could be restricted for weeks, so any important documents — like wills — would be inaccessible.

2. Limited Space

You’re only going to get so much room in a safety deposit box, so if you have a lot of items you want to secure, you might need two or more — and forget large items altogether. The largest safety deposit boxes are usually only about 15″x15.”

3. Items Can Still Be Damaged or Stolen

Safety deposit boxes are typically safer than keeping documents at home, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still be damaged. Banks advise placing your items in waterproof containers within your safety deposit box and also taking photographs of the contents so that your chances of recovering your items after a disaster are improved.

Safety deposit boxes are also safer when it comes to theft, but that doesn’t mean it won’t ever happen. It’s wise to still insure any valuables you might have in the box with a homeowners or renters insurance policy rider, and keep copies of all important documents in a different location.

As you weigh the pros and cons of getting a safety deposit box, it’s good to remember that your credit score is one of the most valuable assets you have. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep track of your credit scores by checking your two free credit scores, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com, and also pulling your free credit reports each year at AnnualCreditReport.com.

More Money-Saving Reads:

Image: Susan Chiang

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team