How to best safeguard small valuables and important papers might be one of the questions that keeps you up at night. But a quick comparison of your options can help you rest easy.
Safety Deposit Box
A bank is going to provide the highest level of protection against theft and fire. Safety deposit boxes are rarely taken during burglaries and internal theft is quite difficult.
On the other hand, you can only access your box during banking hours, so it might be your best bet for items you don’t use often. This might include birth certificates, deeds or jewelry you only wear on special occasions.
It’s also a good idea to store even frequently used items there if you’re going to be traveling for an extended period of time, says Janece White, a vice president at Chubb Personal Insurance and a jewelry specialist.
Especially for valuables you use often, a home safe can provide a high level of protection if you choose the right one.
Safes come with theft and fire ratings based on how long they’re tool resistant (TL) or torch resistant (TR). If you have a high-value collection, start at a rating of at least 30 minutes (TL-30/TR-30), says Laura Murphy, a senior fine arts specialist and personal lines appraiser at Chubb Personal Insurance.
Look for a safe that’s too heavy for a thief to easily carry away. Better yet, bolt it to the floor or structure of your home.
“If you want convenient access to your valuables, a secure, well-protected home safe is a good option for you,” says White. “If you really don’t want to have to worry about it then a bank safe is best for you—and, for some people, the ideal option is a combination of the two.”