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For some people, bank safes seem like relics of the past. Today, it is very easy to store financial records and other important documents digitally, and the idea of keeping important documents in a locked bank vault seems like 20th century nonsense. And indeed, there is evidence that safe havens are declining. Many banks no longer offer them, and many say half or more of their vaults are now empty, The New York Times reports.
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But safes still serve a purpose. Even in today’s paperless digital age, there are times when an original copy of a paper document, such as a birth certificate or house deed, is needed. There’s no way to create digital copies of physical items you treasure, like family heirlooms or teams. A deposit box remains the safest place for these valuables and items.
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But that doesn’t mean you have to use a safe to store everything you value. When your belongings are locked in a box at the bank, you can only access them when the bank is open – a big problem for documents that need to be retrieved in an emergency. And there are some valuable physical items that are stored elsewhere for one reason or another.
So, if you have a storage box, here’s what to keep and what not to keep. If you don’t, here are some things you might want to consider getting it.
For the uninitiated, a safe deposit box is a long, narrow metal box kept in a locked room at a bank or credit union. A typical box has two keys, so the only way to open it is to insert both keys at once. You hold one key and the bank has another key. If someone else, such as a spouse, shares the box with you, you will receive a copy of the tenant’s key.
Having two keys adds an extra layer of security. If someone steals the key to your safe, they cannot access it without the help of a bank employee. But the bank does not open the vault or warehouse to anyone. Most banks require proof of identity such as a signature that they can compare with your signature on the document before opening the box.
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A safe deposit box is an add-on that is not included in a standard bank account. According to the New York Times, financial institutions charge $20 to $200 a year for a safe, depending on its size and the location of the bank. However, some bank accounts will give you a discount on this fee. (The expenses were also tax-free, but the 2017 tax reform bill eliminated that deduction.)
A safety deposit box is not the only place to store your valuables or important documents. For example, you can keep these things in a small fire at home. However, experts say a safe provides better security.
First, most home safes are strong. A wall safe may be available but is expensive. This means that a thief can take your safe and later turn it over to remove the contents. If you’re home when criminals break in, they can force you to open the safe.
A savings bank also provides better protection against natural disasters. Bank vaults are usually strong enough to withstand fires and strong winds that can destroy a home.
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Floods are one of the natural disasters that they cannot always prevent. Experts recommend sealing valuables, photos and other fragile items in a waterproof plastic container or plastic bag. Provides additional protection against water damage during flooding.
While a safety deposit box is the safest place to store valuables, it is not the most convenient. You can only access your ATM during bank business hours and you may have to wait a while for an employee to help you access your ATM. Since most bank branches don’t have safe deposit boxes at all, you’ll have to store yours at a non-local branch, which means an extra car to and from the bank.
This is an even bigger challenge in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen many national banks, including Bank of America, temporarily close some local bank branches.
Another problem is that placing valuables in a safe does not guarantee their safety. Although rare, banks sometimes accidentally open a customer’s safe and lose some of its contents. According to The New York Times, several hundred people report valuables missing from safe deposit boxes each year.
What Should You Keep In Your Safety Deposit Box?
Unfortunately, in such cases, the bank is not obliged to pay compensation for lost items, even if it is clear that it is at fault for the loss. Unlike money in your bank account, the contents of a safety deposit box are not covered by FDIC insurance – although you can return to your safe if the FDIC fails your bank and the authorities seize it. one working day. Some banks have a separate insurance policy to cover items in safe deposit boxes, but most do not. You may not be able to sue the bank for the loss, as most banks limit their liability for lost property in the lease.
You should carry your own insurance to protect against loss of items in the deposit box. Your homeowner’s insurance policy may provide some coverage for items stored “outside the room”—things not on your property, but it’s usually minimal. So, if you want to keep high value items in a safe, you need to add a special policy or floater for that. .
The good news is that insurers charge less to insure valuables if you keep them in the bank. First, individual products must be evaluated. You can then contact your insurance company about filing a claim to cover the cost of the items.
A safe is the perfect place to store documents and items that require the highest level of security. Here are some things you should keep in your wardrobe.
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When buying a home, you have to do a ton of paperwork at closing. Some of these may be important to follow, such as:
Although these documents are very important in some cases, they may need to be accessed immediately. By keeping them in a safety deposit box, you’ll keep them safe and return them when you need them.
Like homework, a car title is an important but rarely lost document, and when lost, it can be a huge hassle to replace. This is the ideal place for him. When it’s time to sell your car, you’ll know where to find the title: safe and sound in your bank account.
Your safe deposit box is a good place to store important personal records, such as:
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It’s unlikely you’ll need any of these documents for day-to-day use, but if you do, it’s a lot of photocopying. You must provide proof of identity, pay a fee, and wait days or weeks to receive your documents. Keeping them safe is less of a problem.
Carrying a Social Security card in your wallet is a big deal, financial experts say. If your wallet is lost or stolen and your Social Security number is on it, you risk identity theft.
In addition, the likelihood of needing a Social Security card for identification any day is remote. You may need a Social Security number for all types of documents, but you can
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