What Types of Things Should You Keep in a Safe Deposit Box?

by Gregory Hamel, Demand Media
Safe deposit boxes are stored inside bank vaults.

Safe deposit boxes are stored inside bank vaults.

When it comes to keeping your prized possessions safe, it is dangerous to go it alone. If you try to store or hide valuables yourself, you could end up losing them due to things like fires, floods or theft. Banks offer secure storage containers called safe deposit boxes that you can rent to keep important items safe. Safe deposit boxes have limited size, so you have to pick and choose what to stash in your box wisely.

Important Documents

A safe deposit box is an ideal place for storing important personal and financial documents. If losing an item means you'd be in big trouble or have a hard time getting a replacement, it is probably a good candidate for a safe deposit box. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, papers you should consider putting into a deposit box include originals of insurance policies, birth, marriage and death certificates, deeds, titles, mortgages, leases and other contracts. It might not, however, be a good idea to keep a will in a safe deposit box because it may be a hassle for your loved ones to access it after you pass away.


Valuable items other than cash can be a target for theft and may be easy to misplace, so they are good candidates for a safe deposit box. A safe deposit box is a smart place to put things like gems, jewelry, precious metal, medals and collectibles if you don't plan to use them regularly. The contents of a safe deposit box are generally not insured, so if you are worried about a bank fire, flood or theft, you may want to talk to an insurance agent to arrange insurance.

Irreplaceable Items

Any item that is unique or irreplaceable could be a candidate for the safe deposit box. For instance, if you have family heirlooms, old photographs, negatives for irreplaceable photos or family videos, a safe deposit box can help keep them out of harm's way.

What Not to Keep in a Safe Deposit Box

A safe deposit box is a good place for storing things that you want to keep safe but you won't need in an emergency. Anything you use regularly or that you might need to access quickly is not a good item for a safe deposit box. It is also a bad idea to put cash in a safe deposit box, since you can put cash in a savings account that is insured by the government and earns interest.

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About the Author

Gregory Hamel has been a writer since September 2008 and has also authored three novels. He has a Bachelor of Arts in economics from St. Olaf College. Hamel maintains a blog focused on massive open online courses and computer programming.

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