How to Open a Safety Deposit Box

If you have valuables around your home, you may feel more comfortable placing them somewhere secure such as a safety deposit box to protect them in case of theft in your home or natural disasters such as tornadoes or floods.

Opening a safety deposit box is easy, but there are also some important facts to remember.

How to Open a Safety Deposit Box

  1. Choose a bank.  If your current bank offers safety deposit boxes, you may get a discount if you obtain a safety deposit box at that particular bank.
  2. Fill out the safety deposit box lease and sign.  If you want someone else to have access to the box besides you (which is probably a good idea in case you are ever ill or incapacitated), make sure that person is with you when you sign the lease and also signs it.
  3. Store your keys somewhere safe.  The keys you get for your safety deposit box are the only keys available, so store them somewhere safe.  If you lose them, you will probably need a locksmith to make you new keys.

Important Facts to Remember

  1. Arrange automatic yearly payment.  If you do not keep up with your yearly safety deposit box payment or it is not used for 3 years, the bank has the right to declare it abandoned, drill open the box and sell the items.
  2. Make a list of items in your safe deposit box.  Take a picture of the contents of your safety deposit box as well as include a list of the contents in the box.  Store the list both in the box itself and at your home.
  3. Give your executor the keys to the box and power of attorney so he or she may access the box after your death.
  4. Call your insurance agent.  Your home insurance policy may be decreased if you let the insurance company know that you have a safety deposit box with your valuables stored there.
  5. Don’t put items you may need when the bank is closed in the safety deposit box.   If you have to arrange a sudden trip abroad in the event of a death, for instance, you don’t want your passports in your safety deposit box, inaccessible, over the weekend.  Only store items that you will not need immediate access to.

If you would like a safe, yet accessible place to store your important documents such as social security cards, birth certificates, marriage licenses and passports, you may consider using a fire resistant, waterproof safe.  Of course, this can still be taken if you home is burglarized, but for other situations, it will protect your documents, yet you can access it any time you need.

For only $25 to $100 a year, depending on the size of your safety deposit box, you will be able to safely store and protect your important documents.  Opening a safety deposit box is easy, and you may even get a discount on your home insurance.

Have you opened a safety deposit box?  What do you store in it?

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