Everyone has valuables they don’t use every day but would hate to lose. How can you keep them secure? You could store such items in a fire-resistant safe at home, but these can be broken into or carried off if your house is burglarized. Instead, consider renting a safe-deposit box at a local bank.
What Can I Store?
What can you keep in a safe-deposit box? “All important documents or other valuable items that would be difficult or impossible to replace,” says David McGuinn, president of the Houston, Texas, consulting firm Safe Deposit Specialists.
These can include deeds, birth certificates, insurance policies, jewelry and other small collectibles. But don’t store anything you might need in an emergency, such as passports or power-of-attorney documents. Keep these at home so you can access them at a moment’s notice.
How Much Does It Cost?
Safe-deposit boxes generally range in size from 2 x 5 x 12 inches (enough space for keys, jewelry and paperwork) to 15 x 22 x 12 inches or larger (enough space for artwork and other family heirlooms). Costs typically range from $15 per year to $500 per year, depending on the size, a small price to pay for high-level security measures and the resulting peace of mind.
How Are They Protected?
Most financial institutions have strict procedures for allowing access to safe-deposit boxes and are protected with advanced alarm systems. Bank vaults are also more climate-controlled than the typical home safe. For sensitive documents, you should take extra precautions, such as storing them in airtight plastic bags or containers to prevent water damage.
However, McGuinn warns, the contents of your safe are not insured by your bank, so you may want to add a scheduled personal property endorsement to your homeowners or renters insurance to make sure you’re covered. You should also photograph and keep an inventory of your stored items and keep this list in a separate location.
Have questions about insuring your valuables? Talk to a GEICO agent, who can make sure you’re fully protected with a customized homeowners or renters policy, or ask about our personal umbrella coverage to protect your finances in case of a lawsuit. Call 1-800-841-0728 or visit geico.com.
By Kathryn Hawkins