Home safes provide both protection and convenience for homeowners. Both of these factors, protection and convenience, need to be taken into consideration when determining what goes into your home safe and what is best stored in an offsite safe deposit box.
A trusted local locksmith can install, repair and change the combination on any safes and are a great resource for your home’s security.
Is the safe easily moveable?
First, let’s look at protection considerations. Thieves can steal a home safe that is not securely fastened to a wall or floor. If your safe can be easily moved, then keeping cash or valuable jewelry in the safe is not advisable.
Another factor with break-ins is that even if the safe can’t be moved, thieves can compel you to open the safe and give them the contents inside. However, most thieves grab more lightweight and accessible items, such as televisions and other electronics.
Is the safe fireproof and waterproof?
Another factor to consider is the fire rating of your safe. Fire rating are based on the intensity of the fire and the time that an object is exposed to the heat of a fire. Home fires, on average, are 1100 to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit.1 Home fires usually linger in each room of the home for an average of 20 minutes, so most home safes are tested to 30 minutes. When considering where to store important documents and items keep in mind that papers can’t withstand temperatures above 350 degrees, tape recordings and film should not exceed 150 degrees and DVDs and computer disks should not exceed 125 degrees.2 Check the ratings and specifications for your safe to ensure that the items you place inside are adequately protected.
One of the biggest threats to the contents of your safe is water, both from natural disasters and from simple sources such as a leaking water heater or a ruptured refrigerator or washing machine hose. Floods are the top natural disaster in the United States and water damage is one of the most common claims on home insurance, with an estimated 1 in 4 chance that over a 30-year period your home will be damaged by a flood.3 Another factor to consider is that if your home does catch fire, lots of water will be used to put out the fire. If your safe is in the basement, that is generally where the water will collect. So it is advisable to also make sure that your safe is waterproof in addition to fireproof.
What documents should you keep in a homesafe?
Since banks aren’t open 24//7/360 documents that you need to access quickly, such as a Power of Attorney in the event of a medical emergency, should be stored in a home safe rather than a bank safe deposit box. Items that people generally need ready access to include the following: Social Security cards; passports; insurance policies and agent contact information; Power of Attorney documents; your will and any in which you are the executor; safe deposit box keys and other important keys; tax returns for the past 7 years; and emergency cash. It is also recommended that you store documents related to investments, retirement plans, bank accounts, and outstanding debts in your home safe, along with contact information for each of the entities.4
What should you keep in a safe deposit box?
A safe deposit box is recommended for the following items: birth, marriage, divorce and death certificates; heirlooms; precious metals; valuable jewelry that is worn infrequently; deeds to property; car titles; stock and bond certificates including U.S. Savings Bonds that haven’t been converted to electronic securities5; photo and video inventories of your home; and sensitive computer data stored on discs, USB and external hard drives. Adoption related document, especially foreign birth certificates from an overseas adoption are extremely difficult to replace if lost or destroyed.6
One final consideration is that the contents of your home are insured by homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, with special riders available to cover valuable items like jewelry. Cash and valuable items that you keep in a safe deposit box are not insured by the FDIC, unlike your actual bank deposits. Also, the contents of safe deposit boxes are not insured unless you have worked with your insurance agent to ensure that they are covered under special provisions in your homeowner’s insurance policy.
Keeping these things in mind should bring you peace of mind when it comes to keeping valuable documents and items safe in your home. If you need help with a homesafe in your home or business, Action Locksmith can help. With over 30 years’ experience in virtually all facets of locksmithing, we can help maximize the security of your home or business in many ways. Re-keying locks, door installation, keyless entry and camera systems are just a few ways in which we can help. Call us today, we’d be happy to survey your home’s security and provide a plan of action!