Are My Belongings Insured Like My Bank Account
A safe deposit box lives within the vault of a federally insured bank or credit union. But whatever you put inside that box is not insured by the institution or the government. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., for example, protects only the money in FDIC-insured checking, savings, CDs and money market accounts. Furthermore, there are no federal laws stating that customers must receive any form of payment when an item is damaged or stolen.
If you want insurance on the items within the box, you must purchase it yourself. Why might you consider this? You could lose valuables stored in a bank vault following a natural disaster.
Consider adding a special policy to your home insurance policy or contents insurance policy to cover valuable items. Whether its your diamond tiara or a collection of rare magazines, your home insurance agent can write a separate policy, called a rider. And insurers will often give you a discount for storing pricey items in a safe deposit box.
A personal articles floater can be added to your homeowners or renters insurance policy, McGuinn says. Another option is finding a company that specializes in providing policies for safe deposit box contents.
What Are Some Safe Deposit Box Alternatives
Home safes are one of the most common and popular alternatives available. Theyre expensive but often provide full customization and the convenience of having your belongings with you at home. Another home option is a diversion box, which is smaller, cheaper and meant to be disguised as an everyday object like a clock or large book.
Rental Cost Of Bank Safe Deposit Boxes
The cost to rent a bank safe deposit box depends on the size of the box and location of your bank. Generally, it ranges from about $20 for a small box to $200 for a large one. A small box is typically 3 inches by 5 inches, the size of an index card, and one foot long. Safe deposit boxes come in a range of sizes up from there. The largest is 10 inches by 10 inches and two feet deep.
Prices not only differ between banks but can also vary by bank location. Call your local bank branch to find out the annual rental costs for their safety deposit boxes. If you have a checking account, it may include a free or discounted box in its perks. If you dont pay your rent for the box, the bank will seize the contents, so be sure to pay.
Heres a table of common rent prices for a safety deposit box at six major banks. Remember, prices are subject to change and may vary by bank and location.
|Box Size :|
Chase and Regions are the only banks that have the same prices at all branches. Other banks prices are determined on a local basis by individual branches. Not every location will have the same safety deposit box services available. For example, some of PNCs branches have express boxes outside the banks vault so customers can walk in and access them immediately and on their own. Its not as secure as standard bank safe deposit boxes, but its useful for quick access to items you need.
Also Check: Regions Bank Branches Open On Saturday
Do You Really Need A Safe Deposit Box
Do you have anything youd want to save from a house fire, flood, or explosion? Then the answer is YES! The primary purpose of a safe deposit box is to protect your valuables. Common items people place in a safe deposit box include: heirlooms, valuables, important documents, gold, silver, and collectable coins. Some people also choose to place firearms in safe deposit boxes for safe keeping.
Make a list of all the things thatd youd be crushed by if you lost them to a fire in your home. That will either give you an idea of what youd want to put in a safe deposit box, or will help you realize you dont need one. Read more on if you need a safe deposit box here.
How Does A Safe Deposit Box Work
A safe deposit box offers a way to keep your valuables in a secure location outside of your home. When you visit your safety deposit box in person, it will look like a long, rectangular metal box that is stored in your financial institution.
The box will have two keyholes, which will need to have both keys inserted simultaneously to open the box. One of the keys is held by your bank or . You, and only you, will hold the second key.
Note that while you won’t have to worry about keeping track of your valuables after renting a box, you will need to keep track of your key. If you lose it, your bank will most likely need to call a special locksmith to open it. And you can expect to be charged a fee for their troubles.The double key system allows for an extremely secure location to store precious items. It would be next to impossible for anyone to steal the items within a safe deposit box. Even if a thief stole your key, the bank will require information to verify your identity before opening the box.
Safe deposit boxes room inside of a bank vault.
You May Like: Ibc Bank Stimulus Check
A Few Things To Know About A Safe Deposit Box
You can rent a safe deposit box in a bank or a credit union near your place of residence. The ones with federal insurance are safer.
The cost of a safe deposit box varies from bank to bank. It also depends on the size of the box and the location. The same bank may have different rental rates in different branches.
The length of a safe deposit box is generally between 18 and 24 inches . The breadth and the height can vary from 2 inches by 5 inches to 10 inches by 10 inches . The costs will differ accordingly, of course. The rent for a safety deposit box ranges from $18 to $300 per year.
What Should And Shouldnt You Put In A Safe Deposit Box
Some things commonly kept in a safe deposit box include family heirlooms, expensive jewelry, U.S. savings bonds and the original versions of important documents such as birth certificates, car titles and property deeds. Its best to avoid keeping passports and other ID forms in your box, as you might need those items more often. Additionally, you should speak with your attorney about where to keep things like your will and power of attorney documents.
Also Check: Chase Com Zelle
Items Can Still Be Stolen From A Safety Deposit Box
Safe deposit boxes do get robbed, but its incredibly rare. Thanks to alarms, cameras, motion detectors, and heat detectors, the items in a bank lockbox are much safer there than inside your home.
Still, if items are stolen, you may not be able to recoup the loss. So its wise to add a homeowners or renters insurance rider to cover the items kept inside your safety deposit box.
The FDIC only insures deposits in deposit accounts at insured institutions and only in the rare instances when a bank fails. A safe deposit box is not a deposit account. It is storage space provided by the bank, so the contents, including cash, checks or other valuables, are not insured by FDIC deposit insurance if damaged or stolen.
So, what should not be stored in a safety deposit box?
Anything you might need in an emergency in case your bank is closed for the night, the weekend or a holiday. Possible examples: originals of a power of attorney , passports , medical-care directives if you become ill and incapacitated, and funeral or burial instructions you make. Consider giving the originals to your attorney, and making copies to go in your safe deposit box or to give a close friend or relative.
Can I Keep Cash In A Safe Deposit Box
Most banks allow you to keep cash in a safe deposit box, but its not recommended. Cash kept in safe deposit boxes is not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation , meaning your money is not covered if it gets lost, damaged or stolen. Additionally, its usually better to keep cash where you can access it quickly if needed.
Also Check: Chase Bank Motorcycle Loans
Benefits Of A Safe Deposit Box
Here are the two main advantages that safe deposit boxes offer.
High Level Of Security
The biggest benefit of a safe deposit box is that it is secure. It is probably one of the securest places an individual of the public can store something. After all, a bank offers multiple layers of security that most homeowners dont.
A few of these heightened security measures include alarms, guards, cameras, vaults, and motion detectors.
Beyond that, it’s also not in your house. By being in a secondary location, it minimizes some risks, like fire.
What To Store In A Safe Deposit Box
Safe deposit boxes are a good place to keep hard-to-replace documents such as contracts and business papers, military discharge papers, and physical stock and bond certificates, along with small collectibles and family heirlooms. Keep in mind that the largest safe deposit boxes are usually just 10 inches by 10 inches and two feet deep. This leaves plenty of room for irreplaceable photos and Grandmas wedding ring, but not your antique doll collection.
Good things to store in your safe deposit box are important items you wont need frequent access to, including:
- Personal papers, such as original birth certificates, adoption papers, marriage licenses, and citizenship papers
- Sensitive documents you wouldnt want roommates, children, relatives, and visitors to find
- The deed to your house, along with any car titles
- Paper stock and bond certificates , including U.S. savings bonds
- An inventory of your homes contents, in case you need to file a claim with your homeowners insurance policy
- Important business papers, records, and contracts
- Hard drives and flash drives with backups and important data
- Financially or sentimentally valuable jewelry, collectibles, and family keepsakes
- Other documents or small items that would be difficult or impossible to replace
Read Also: Burner Phone For Venmo
Original Copy Of Your Will
Its a good move to keep copies of your own will, your spouses will and any wills in which youre named the executor locked in a safe deposit box. However, do not store the original copy of your will there especially if youre the sole owner of the safe deposit box. Heres why: After your death the bank will seal the safe deposit box until an executor can prove he or she has the legal right to access it. This could lead to long and potentially costly delays before your will is executed and your heirs receive their inheritances.
Instead, keep the original copy of your will with your attorney or somewhere else where your executor can access it without jumping through legal hoops.
What Not To Keep In Them
Anything you might need quickly, or when the bank is closed, should not be kept in a safe deposit box. This includes a power of attorney, living will or final will documentation. If something happens to you, it could make getting into your safe deposit box complicated and your family will need the documents to either retrieve property or make decisions to help you.
Read Also: Wells Fargo Expresssend India
How Safe Deposit Boxes Work
A safe deposit box is an individually secured containerusually a metal boxhoused in the vault of a federally insured bank or . They’re one of a number of services beyond banking your institution may offer. You can rent a safe deposit box to keep your valuables, important documents, and sentimental keepsakes secure.
When you rent one, the bank gives you a key to use. You’ll want to hold on to this key in a safe place because if you lose it, the bank will have to charge you to install a new lock. This key is used with a guard key held by the bankif your bank uses a keyless system, though, youll scan your finger or hand instead. Either way, youll have to provide identification every time you visit the bank. You’ll also have to sign in every time you want to access your box.
You can rent a box in your name only, or you can add other people to the lease. If you opt for co-lessors, they will have equal access and rights to the contents of the box, so think carefully about whom you’re thinking of adding. For example, people who have addiction, financial, marriage, or judgment issues may not be ideal candidateseven if theyre family. Still, its usually a good idea to name someone else to the account, so they can access the box when and if you cant.
What If You Forget About Your Safety Deposit Box
You might think that youd never forget your safety deposit box, but it happens often enough for banks and states to have rules on how to handle it. Banks consider a box dormant if theres no activity and you havent paid the rent for two to five years. The exact timespan varies, depending on where you live. Once dormancy happens, your bank transfers the boxs contents to the state treasurer or unclaimed property office. Youll get a notice to your last known address before that happens. If you dont respond, your items go to the appropriate office. When you remember to do something about your safety deposit box, you may be able to retrieve the contents through the correct office in your state. Look it up through the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.
Recommended Reading: Ibc Mobile Banking App
How Safe Are Safety Deposit Boxes
The FDIC noted that safe deposit boxes are often more secure than home safes, which could be compromised if, for example, a burglar broke into your home. But the organization also warned that items in any safe or box may be vulnerable to fires, floods and other damage, which is why its worth taking precautions about how you store your items .
Jason Bourne Is Not The Norm
Moviemakers love safe deposit boxes much more than bank executives do. On film, theyre an essential tool for spies Jason Bourne, for example, retrieved cash and passports from a Swiss box with the help of a device implanted in his hip and a magnet for cunning thieves. Cinematic burglars have raided highly secured vaults by tunneling in , drilling through a wall , disabling alarms , taking hostages or simply blowing off the doors .
Real-world criminals have tried similarly spectacular attacks. In Conroe, Tex., someone cut through the roof of a bank last year and looted its safe deposit vault. Robbers took a similar route three years ago into two banks in Brooklyn and Queens, where they left empty boxes scattered in their wake. But such capers are rare. Of the 19,000 bank robberies reported to the F.B.I. in the last five years, only 44 involved safe-deposit heists.
Banks increasingly regard safe deposit boxes as more of a headache than theyre worth. Theyre expensive to build, complicated to maintain and not very lucrative. The four largest American banks JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup rarely install them in new branches. Capital One stopped renting out new boxes in 2016. A dwindling number of customers wanted them, a bank spokeswoman said.
Don’t Miss: Td Debit Card Advance
Abandoned Boxes And Unclaimed Property
Should you fail to maintain the rent on your safety deposit box it can be classified as abandoned, with the contents being sold off by the state at auction. Each bank has its own rules regarding abandoned boxes, and the time limits will vary according to the whims of the institution and the laws of the state. Generally, abandoned safety deposit boxes are held unopened for 2 to 3 years, during which time the bank is required to take any necessary steps to contact the renter or their representatives. Failing that, the box will be opened and the contents given over to the state’s division of unclaimed property. If this happens, you may still be able to reclaim your property, or that of a deceased family member, by contacting the state’s treasurer or through the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.
Liquids And Illegal Or Dangerous Items
Your bank should offer up a list of what isnt permissible to keep in a safe deposit box. Pay attention. Firearms typically arent allowed, nor are explosives. The same goes for illicit drugs and hazardous materials. Figure anything illegal or dangerous is a no-no, and why are you messing with that stuff in the first place?
Use common sense, but remember that different banks might have different rules, so read the fine print of your banks safe deposit box agreement.
Many, if not all, do not allow liquids to be stored in your safe deposit box, so that decades-old bottle of rare Scotch should stay at your house.
If you’re still in doubt about what cannot be kept in a safe deposit box, ask your banker for clarification.
Recommended Reading: Chase Have Zelle
Are Safety Deposit Boxes Insured
Thankfully, safety deposit boxes usually live up to their name, but theyre not entirely immune from damage in extreme circumstances, like fire, flood or natural disasters. Theres even a small possibility that a thief could get in, although a safe at home is much more vulnerable to theft. The most likely scenario for damage is a natural disaster, so the FDIC recommends keeping items that could be susceptible to water damage in sealable plastic bags or containers in your box in case of a problem.
If your safety deposit box contains valuable family heirlooms or other items worth a substantial amount of money, youre out of luck if an unauthorized person gets to them. Banks exclude themselves from any liability in their safety deposit box contracts and the automatic FDIC insurance that covers bank accounts does not offer any protection for safety deposit box contents. Check your renters or homeowners insurance and add coverage for your box in case of loss or damage to its contents.