Storing Your Valuables: The Bank Is Not The Answer

From jewelry to gems, collectibles, cash, and firearms, many people choose to store their valuables at a safety deposit box at the bank. But while the security of a bank may appear to be a good place for securing your belongings, many safety deposit box users are finding personal concealed safes are the better alternative, much owed to the convenience and security they offer.

The Pitfalls of a Safety Deposit Box

People hear the word bank and usually think of thick steel doors and on duty security guards. But thievery isn’t the main issue when storing goods at the bank.

The most common—and undoubtedly most annoying—issue safety deposit box users find is the strict limitations banks impose on their clients. Though bank tellers are disallowed from ever knowing the contents of your box, when you sign a contract with the bank, there are restrictions you are agreeing to adhere to.

Worse, most banks cannot agree on what you can and cannot store in their safety deposit boxes. So while one bank may allow you to store your firearms, another may not. The same is true for storing cash and other items.

Second, for all the films about witty bank robbers cracking safes and blowing their way into the deep recesses of high-level security banks, it’s actually government officials and bank tellers the pose a danger to your belongings. According to rumors of a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) notice, under the Patriot Act homeland security officials can search, photograph, and seize your stored belongings without your consent.

But if all that sounds fine to you, let’s not forget that on top of banks’ inconvenient operating hours, safety deposit boxes can only be accessed when certain, assigned personnel are at work, meaning that if you can make it to the bank before or after work, there’s no guarantee you’ll get in.

In an emergency, this can mean travesty. That is why many people recommend storing copies of important documents in a safety deposit box, rather than the originals.

Horror Stories of Missing Deposit Boxes

There are stories of people who have trusted the bank with their precious belongings, only to find down the line that their valuables have been lost or otherwise misplaced.

One Wells Fargo customer in Novato, California stored jewelry passed down from her great grandmother, only to find three years later that the banks had lost the jewelry she stored. Despite apology after apology from Wells Fargo, the jewelry has never been recovered.

Last April at Chase, one bank’s safety deposit boxes flooded, ruining countless customers’ goods. Worse, many bank customers do not know that possessions stored in safety deposit boxes are not insured by default, so much of the valuables ruined in the flood were not replaced; on top of a monthly fee for use of your deposit box, you can apply for insurance, but that only means more money out of your pocket that could otherwise go to a personal concealed safe.

So, What’s the Solution?

Many people buy hidden safes for storing firearms, gold and silver coins, and important documents at home without taking up space. Quality concealed safes are near impossible to find, are reinforced and fire resistant. Many can be conveniently stored underneath your bed, under floorboards, in furniture or the center console of your car.

Not to mention that any important documents you may need in an emergency will always be accessible to you but also securely stored.

What To Keep At Home In A Safe

So, what should you keep at home in a safe? The obvious answers are important legal documents such as passports, birth certificates, social security cards, and wills. However, there are other things that some people may not think about putting in a safe, such as financial information, titles to vehicles, property insurance policies, a list of family doctors, prescriptions, and CDs or external hard drives of precious family photos. Many concealed safe owners store their firearms to protect guests or children, who may mishandle them. Others store their collectibles, heirlooms, and jewelry during long vacations.

Whether you store your valuables in a safe under the bed, floor, in a car, or hidden in the walls, the answer is clear: safety deposit boxes neither offer the safety nor security of a concealed safe.

Written by Michael, a marketing representative for Bed Gun Safe, a concealed safe retailer.


  1. Alice Kirk says

    Chase bank employees led him past a security guard, behind a floor-to-ceiling plastic curtain and down some stairs into a humid, rank-smelling room. There, workers wearing disposable gloves gingerly drained dirty water from his safe-deposit box, then photographed the contents under the watchful eye of bank employees.
  2. Cara Roach says

    When Hurricane Katrina slammed the Gulf Coast in 2005, at least 250 bank vaults went under water, flooding the contents of an estimated 8,000 safe deposit boxes, he said. Thousands of boxes were damaged when Hurricane Sandy struck the Northeast last October, too.
  3. Vanirani says

    Actually I also store valuables in banks but after reading this article I need to think twice before keeping valuable items in safe lockers in banks. Thanks for this article.

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