For generations, safe deposit boxes have been a trusted method for securing valuable items and important documents, providing peace of mind through robust security and protection against theft and natural disasters. But hidden behind all of that steel and concrete are some risks that you should be aware of.

 

Despite their advantages, safe deposit boxes can pose significant drawbacks and some serious risks. Here are three reasons why you might want to avoid renting a safe deposit box:

Limited Accessibility

One of the primary drawbacks of a safe deposit box is limited accessibility. Banks have specific operating hours, and in situations like weekends or holidays, accessing your box might not be possible. This can be a significant inconvenience if you need immediate access to your stored items.

No Insurance Coverage by the Bank

Many people mistakenly believe that the contents of their safe deposit boxes are insured by the bank or the FDIC. However, this is not the case. If items stored in a safe deposit box are damaged or stolen due to events like theft, fire, or other unforeseen incidents, the bank is not responsible for compensating the loss. To protect the valuables stored in a safe deposit box, it is advisable to obtain a separate insurance policy, but these can be expensive and may not provide the coverage you are seeking.

While a safe deposit box may protect important documents from being directly damaged in a fire, it is not always watertight. During firefighting efforts, water from sprinklers and hoses could potentially infiltrate the box, causing damage to its contents.

Potential Complications in Emergencies

In case of the box owner’s death or incapacitation, accessing the contents can be complex. Legal procedures, such as providing proof of death and obtaining court orders, might be necessary, which can delay access during critical times.

So you still think that renting a safe deposit box is appropriate for you? Here are some things you should consider doing:

Inventory and Document Your Contents

Maintain a detailed inventory of the items you store in your safe deposit box. Documenting the contents with photographs and descriptions can be invaluable for insurance purposes and in the event of disputes or emergencies. Your smart phone’s camera can serve as a record for whenever you place items in or take items out of your safe deposit box.

Consider Your Accessibility Needs

Assess how frequently you might need access to the items you plan to store. For documents that may need to be accessed quickly, such as passports or marriage certificates, I recommend keeping a copy in another safe place.

As a client of our firm, we are pleased to keep a copy of your documents securely stored in your private document vault – just in case you need them in the future.

Legal and Financial Implications

Discuss your plans with a financial advisor or attorney. They can provide guidance on how to ensure your documents can be accessed promptly by authorized individuals if necessary.

Deciding whether to use a safe deposit box involves understanding the potential risks and planning accordingly. While they offer a high level of protection, the limitations on access and lack of insurance coverage require careful consideration. By evaluating your specific needs and circumstances, you can make an informed decision that best safeguards your most precious possessions.

Think about these points and consider how they align with your personal needs and situation. Whether you choose to rent a safe deposit box or explore alternative methods of protection, the key is to ensure your valuables are secure and accessible when needed.

If you have any specific questions or concerns, you can reach me by completing the form below.

Which point surprised you the most? Let me know by sending me a message below. Your message is private and secure.

Sincerely,
Richard