Should You Get a Safety Deposit Box?

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banking, safety deposit box, frugal living, heirlooms, family
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The following post is by MPFJ staff writer, Shondell of Call Me What You Want, Even Cheap. She blogs about her recent car loan and mortgage pay off and a whole bunch more. Check out her blog right here.

Everyone loves to have jewelry and valuables in their possession, even if only for the money they can bring in during times of a financial crisis. But, they can also be problematic if you own more than a handful. Keeping expensive jewelry at home is usually not a good idea as thieves, burglars, and even greedy visitors can steal them. You can also lose them in a fire, flood, and other natural disasters, and they could potentially not be covered by your insurance. The safest place to keep your jewelries and valuables is in a safety deposit box in a bank.

The safety deposit boxes in a bank are extremely strong; and they are vaulted and sealed for added security. They are safe from theft, burglary and robbery. They are also better protected from fire, flood, and other disasters than at home. However, they are not without faults; the chief being that they are not available to you 24/7.

But first, let’s look at the pros and then go on to examine the cons:

The Pros of having safety a deposit box:

  • It is safe from thieves, burglars and robbers: Safety deposit boxes in banks are heavy, strong and sealed. They are kept inside well-guarded vaults deep inside the building. Thieves and burglars cannot get inside the vaults. Even armed robbers sometimes do not try to make their way into the vaults because they find the endeavor to be too risky.
  • It is safe from fire, flood and disasters: Since safety deposit boxes are kept in heavily fortified vaults deep inside the bank, they are usually safe from fire, flood and other disasters, whether natural or man made. Of course, nothing is completely secure from a really big disaster, such as a devastating earthquake or nuclear attack, but that rarely happens.
  • It is cost-effective: Banks usually charge between $15 and $25 per year for the smallest boxes and between $185 and $500 for the largest boxes. There are other sizes between these two sizes. Considering the value of your jewelries and how much you stand to lose if they are stolen, a safety deposit box is highly cost-effective.
  • You can use the box to store anything of value: A safety deposit box is not only for jewelry and ornaments. It is also for other valuables such as important documents, photographs and letters. In fact, you can store any personal effects you like in it for safekeeping as long as they fit inside the box.
  • Only you will have access to your box: No one except you or your agent or power-of-attorney will have access to it. In case of your death or disappearance, only your designated beneficiary will have access to it. This makes it safe from your own family and relatives. If you don’t trust your own family members, then it’s a good idea to keep your valuables in a safety deposit box.

The Cons of having a safety deposit box:

  • You do not have 24/7 access to your belongings: Since your safety deposit box is kept inside the vault of the bank and the bank doesn’t open 24/7, you will not have access to your belongings at any odd hour you need them. If you need your jewelry often and at a short notice, then it is impractical to keep them in a safety deposit box.
  • Your box can be frozen by the IRS: If you have been accused of any financial irregularities, the IRS may freeze your box until you have been cleared of the charges. The bank may also freeze your box if they suspect that you have gotten the contents in the box by unlawful means. They may also open it and examine its contents. During this period, you will not be able to access your box.
  • You must keep the key in a safe location: If you lose the key to your safety deposit box, the bank may charge you a very high fee for a replacement. Therefore, you must keep your key in a safe location at all times. This can be problematic if you often forget where you place things. You can leave it at the bank for safekeeping, but you will have to pay an extra charge for that.
  • The box has a limited size: You cannot store large items in the safety deposit box as it has a limited size. Generally, the box sizes range from 2″ x 5″ x 11″ (smallest) to 15″ x 22″ x 12″ (largest). Even the largest box is only large enough for jewelry and other small items. So they are not good for safekeeping large items.

How about you all? Do you have a safety deposit box, if you don’t mind sharing, what’s in yours? 

Share your experiences by commenting below!

***Photo courtesy of Stuart Conner


  1. I haven't bothered. Yes, it means we'll lose our IDs and birth certificates if there's a fire, but those are replaceable and not terribly expensive to replace.
    My recent post $1 Million Doesn’t Mean You’re “Rich”

    • I hear you. Some people are for them, and others are againts them. It's really a personal choice to whether you want a SDB.
      My recent post Making Use Of The New Home Buying Process

  2. John Davidson says:

    Is it ok to keep your saved currency in the SDB?

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