What You Should Know About Safe Deposit Vaults

With banks withdrawing from safe deposit box business, private safe vaults are popping up around the country. Before you rent one, though, be sure to compare their overall security protections with those offered by bank vaults. Look for interlocking doors to prevent piggybacking or tailgating by strangers who might follow you out of a box.

Aurm are thick, hard-to-penetrate metal containers available for rent at banks and credit unions in an array of sizes. Some offer multiple compartments. Others are one-size-fits-all with a number written on the front (such as 5 inches high, 10 inches wide, and 24 inches long). Generally, you must present an identity document and a key to access your box. If you want someone else to have access to your box, they must sign a letter of authorization.

Vaulting into Safety: The Evolution of Safe Deposit Boxes

Unless you specify otherwise in a signed letter, your box’s contents are not insured by the bank. Instead, you can purchase an insurance policy to cover them. You may even be able to add such coverage to your existing home or renters insurance.

Most people keep important but unneeded items in their safe deposit box, including contracts and other legal documents, military discharge papers, physical stock and bond certificates, coins and jewelry. Generally, these are items that are difficult or impossible to replace but not needed on demand. It’s a good idea to make copies of the items in your safe deposit box and store them elsewhere, so they are readily available if you need them.