10 Things to Store in Your Home Lockbox
Do you keep your important documents and valuables at home? Here are ten things to store in your home lockbox or security safe.
Protect Your Valuables
Not everyone owns gold coins, rare collectibles, expensive jewelry, or a safety stash of money. But everyone has documents and other important items that need secure protection. Have you taken measures to protect your valuables?
Some people rent a safe deposit box at their bank or financial institution. Others store their valuables at home in a lockbox or security safe. Still others use both types of storage. The location is a matter of convenience and personal preference.
For valuables protection at home, you must consider three things: fire, water, and theft. These hazards pose the greatest risk to your important documents and treasures. Home lockboxes and security safes provide varying degrees of protection against these vulnerabilities.
Most hardware and office supply stores sell home safes and lockboxes. The prices vary, but you can usually find a suitable box for less than $100. When making a purchase, ignore the marketing claims of the manufacturer; focus instead on product ratings from independent organizations and customers.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) does not cover the contents of safe deposit boxes. In the same way, your homeowner’s insurance may not cover your lockbox unless a rider was added to the policy. Understanding your insurance policy can help you avoid potential headaches if disaster strikes.
You may choose to store some of your valuables in a safe deposit box and others (or copies) at home. If you decide to protect all of your valuables at home, here are ten things to consider for your lockbox or security safe. The items are listed alphabetically for your convenience.
1. Computer Records
Do you store important records -- photographs, manuscripts, financial records, or family research -- on hard drives or computer discs? Keep your backups safe in a lockbox or security safe.
The SentrySafe pictured above offers one-half hour fire protection for CD/DVDs, USB drives, and memory sticks. It also provides waterproof security for your computer backups.
2. Financial Papers
A home lockbox protects important financial documents. Savings bonds, stock certificates, and loan papers are good examples.
Don’t forget about your account numbers, PIN numbers, passwords, and other personal data related to your financial institutions and accounts.
3. Heirloom Jewelry
Your security box can protect antique jewelry and other family heirlooms from fire and water damage.
If you are concerned about theft, consider a heavy home safe or hidden storage in your home. Alternatively, protect your valuable jewelry in an off-site safe deposit box.
4. Insurance Inventory
Your home security box is a good place to keep your home / insurance inventory and your homeowner’s insurance policy.
Insurance inventory lists, photos, and videotapes are easy to update if you keep them at home. A home inventory organizer -- digital or spiral bound -- keeps everything in one place.
5. Legal Documents
A home lockbox protects all of your important legal documents: birth, marriage, and death certificates; adoption papers; divorce decrees; child custody and support orders; military discharge papers; insurance policies; wills, medical directives, and funeral instructions; and powers of attorney.
It also protects school transcripts and diplomas, professional certificates, and other important papers. Keep your social security cards here, too.
6. Letters and Photos
A home security box protects your original letters, photographs, and negatives. Place them into acid-free envelopes before you store them away.
If you prefer, store copies in a home lockbox and the originals off-site in a safe deposit box.
Keep your passports, including those of your spouse and children, in your home lockbox for safekeeping. U.S. passports are valid for 10 years, and renewals are much easier if you can access your current passport.
Your lockbox can also store other travel documents, such as embassy-issued visas and national identity cards.
8. Personal Treasures
A home lockbox protects personal treasures: jewelry, coin and stamp collections, and other valuables.
As with heirloom jewelry, consider a heavy safe or hidden storage if you're worried about theft. Or rent an off-site safe deposit box.
9. Real Estate Deeds
A lockbox is a good place to keep the deed to your home and other properties. It can also store your mortgage papers, insurance policies and related records.
If you rent your home or apartment, store your lease documents in the box. Keep your automobile and boat titles here, too.
10. Safe Deposit Box Key
Store your safe deposit box key in your home lockbox to protect it from fire damage.
Of course, make sure you can access your lockbox key quickly and easily. Keep an inventory of your safe deposit box contents here, too.
What else can you store in your home lockbox? Leave a comment below and join the discussion. If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your social networks.
- Consumer Reports writers. (January 2011) “Choosing and Using a Home Safe.” Consumer Reports. Retrieved January 26, 2013.
- Hallam, Linda (ed.) "Home Lockbox Contents." Making a Home. Des Moines, IA: Better Homes and Gardens Books, 2001. Print.
- USA.gov writers. (January 22, 2013) "Managing Household Records." United States Government Web Portal. Retrieved January 26, 2013.
- Vanguard writers. (2013) “Keep Your Valuables Safe.” The Vanguard Group. Retrieved January 26, 2013.
© 2013 Annette R. Smith