LeoGlossary: Safe Deposit Box

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An alternative to the securing of valuable items in an at home safe.

A safe deposit box is a metal container that can be rented, usually from a bank. The boxes are kept in the vault at a bank or credit union branch.

Access typically requires two keys. The first is the renter of the box with the other being presented by the bank or credit union employee. The double key entry is vital for the security of the contents.

Some items that people store in safe deposit boxes:

  • Important papers
  • Photographs
  • Jewelry or watches
  • Rare coins, stamps and other collectibles
  • Passports or other identification documents
  • Real estate deeds
  • Home inventory lists
  • Car title documents
  • Stock certificates
  • Bonds
  • Gold bullion

Obviously, the storing of firearms, explosives, drugs, or other illegal substances is prohibited.

The advantage to this over a home safe is the fact that it is secured by the system put in place in the branch by the bank. Not only are the safe deposit boxes locked away in the vault, the branch has more security than the typical home.

There are a couple disadvantages. To start, accessibility can only occur during banking hours. This means if something is needed on short notice, and during off hours, what is in the box is not accessible. Also, there is a monthly charge for rental of the box. This is obviously in lieu of the upfront cost to a safe. Finally, as mentioned above, there are certain limitation on what can be place in a safety deposit box.


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