What items would an average person keep in a safe deposit box? Sounds like most of the documents (passports, birth certificates) can be restored.
What you mentioned is good to put in there.
Putting a copy of your will (not the original) is also good. The reason why you don't put the original in there is because the box will be sealed upon your death, and it will be a mess to get the will out.
It's good off-site storage for small stuff you don't want lost. A fireproof safe might work, or it might not.
I wouldn't do valuables, though. Under certain conditions they can be confiscated if they're in a safety deposit box.
Saw this article yesterday and thought about asking it.
- Copy of your last will and testament
- Deeds, titles and insurance papers for your house, car and other personal property
- Birth and adoption certificates
- Marriage and death certificates
- Custody agreement and divorce decrees
- Military service records
- Copy of your health information (vaccinations, hospitalizations)
- Copy of power-of-attorney forms (if applicable)
- Social Security cards
- Contracts and other legal papers
- A videotape inventory of your household items
- Valuable heirlooms
While government forms can be replaced, proving identity is an difficult problem in the digital age, and if you lost all pieces of identity in a fire you'd be in trouble.
A backup hard disk drive containing all your family pictures and movies. Digital life is more and more precious.
Moreover, it is bigger, cheaper and safer than cloud storage.
Consumerist posted a list of items to go in your safe deposit box:
U.S. savings bonds.
While it's true that just about everything can be replaced, actually having to replace any of those things can be extremely difficult, time consuming, and/or expensive.
I was looking into a safe deposit box and decided not to get one rather I bought a safe with a 2-hour fire rating and bolted it to the floor. The safe was less than $300. My rational:
A small safe deposit box, smaller than the safe I bought, would run be $50 a year. In 6 years I would pay more than the cost of the safe and over time I would pay more than the stuff thats in it is worth.
The contents of the safe deposit box are not insured by the bank. If the bank is robbed and they take you valuables you're out of luck.
Some banks have master keys and can open your box without you there, this was the case with my bank. That means you're trusting all the employees who have access to that key with your stuff.
All banks can drill your lock and take your stuff if you stop paying for the safe deposit box.
Banks can be robbed, same as your house. Banks can burn same as your house. Safe deposit boxes are not necessarily fireproof.
You shouldn't store your will or any paperwork a person needs upon your death in a safe deposit box anyway as it can take months for them to gain access. In your safe at home they can access it immediately. (provided you told them how to)
Some things you legally can't store in a safe deposit box (guns, ammunition, etc).
Where do you store your safe deposit box key? In your house? It can be stolen or lost. You'll be charged an arm and a leg to have to bank drill the existing lock and replace it with a new one for you.
This is what I have in my safe deposit box - Important documents like educational certificates, passports etc - Jewelery
Agreed, replaced your passport and birth certificate is a pain, why risk having it stolen in your house if you don't need it often. You could also put foreign currency in there that you don't need any time soon.
A few things I've found a tremendous PITA to replace if they are lost: everything you need to be "authenticated" in the digital world:
- a list of bank account numbers, credit card numbers and PINs, drivers licence, birth certificate, government identity (SSN/SIN/...) numbers
- usernames and passwords to internet sites, including email accounts, online banking etc - as these are often remembered in a digital keychain on your computer, if your computer dies these can be onerous to reassemble.