What Should Go in Your Home Safe (or Safe-Deposit Box)?

Posted by Safeco March 28, 2016
What to Keep in Your Home Safe

Securing Important Documents and Treasures
 

Spring has arrived, which means it’s time to clean the cobwebs out of the corners, organize the closets and so forth. While you’re at it, don’t forget to revisit the important documents and other items you have in your home safe and in that safe-deposit box at the bank.

What documents do you need to keep? What can your shred? Are your valuable items properly secured?

Wait, what’s that? You don’t have a home safe? Or a safe-deposit box? Well, let’s look at why you may want to get one – or both – and what to keep inside.

Home Safes

Oftentimes these are well suited for safeguarding important documents and valuable things you access somewhat regularly, such as jewelry or watches. Keep in mind that while residential safes help protect against fire and theft, they often aren’t as robust as commercial models. For the best protection in a home safe, select a model that is heavy enough that a burglar couldn’t make off with it, and consider bolting it to the floor. Here are some of the things you may want to keep inside:

  • Insurance policies and your agent’s contact information.
     
  • Passports, original birth certificates and Social Security cards.
     
  • Photocopies of passports, credit cards and driver’s licenses, in case they are ever lost or stolen from your purse or wallet.
     
  • Tax documents and tax returns, from the past six to seven years.
     
  • A list of your family’s medical information and contacts, including doctors, pharmacies and medications.
     
  • Investment and banking documents, including billing contact information, as well as emergency cash.
     
  • Heirloom and other valuable jewelry and watches.
     
  • Wills and other important legal documents, including wills that list you as the executor.
     
  • Computer backup disks or drives, or other small electronics you don’t use regularly.
     
  • Safe-deposit box keys.

Safe-Deposit Boxes

Speaking of safe-deposit boxes, are they an old-fashioned notion or something that’s worth your while? To answer that question, U.S. News & World Report recommends gathering everything you might want to store in a safe-deposit box and then determining whether you feel secure enough storing it all at home.

If not, a safe-deposit box may be a better, more secure option. A bank is more heavily guarded that your home, after all – against theft, fire and other disasters.

If you do decide on a safe-deposit box, here’s what you might want to keep in it:

  • Originals of key documents, such as property deeds, car titles, etc.
     
  • Valuable collections or family keepsakes that you don’t access very often.
     
  • Pictures or videos from your home inventory to use for insurance purposes.

If not, store these items in your home safe. And, here’s what NOT to put in a safe-deposit box:

  • Anything you may need to access quickly, such as passports, powers of attorney documents, etc.
     
  • Cash. Not only will your money not earn interest in a safe-deposit box, it won’t be protected by FDIC insurance, either.

Remember, putting something in your home safe or a safe-deposit box is more secure than stashing it in your sock drawer, but it doesn’t guarantee anything, either. So, think about having document backups, as well as insurance for your valuable items.

After all, if something is valuable enough to lock up, isn’t it valuable enough to insure, too? Talk to your independent agent about your personal property coverage and about scheduling any high-value items, especially expensive jewelry and collectibles, separately.

 

Spring Clean Your Insurance Policies, Too

Could your insurance policies use a little sprucing up this spring as well? After a remodel or addition to your home, a significant investment in new personal property or an upgrade to your wheels, check in with your independent insurance agent to be sure you have the coverage you want. Our blog on annual insurance reviews offers some helpful guidance.

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Insurance is offered by Safeco Insurance Company of America and/or its affiliates, with their principal place of business at 175 Berkeley Street, Boston, Massachusetts, 02116. This website provides a simplified description of coverage. Nothing stated herein creates a contract. All statements made are subject to the provisions, exclusions, conditions and limitations of the applicable insurance policy. Please refer to actual policy forms for complete details regarding the coverage discussed. If the information in these materials conflicts with the policy language that it describes, the policy language prevails. Coverages and features not available in all states. Eligibility is subject to meeting applicable underwriting criteria.