Arvest Education Center

Safe Deposit Boxes

Safe deposit boxes are handy tools. They provide a safe place away from your home or office to store valuables. When renting a safe deposit box, make sure you choose the right size. Many people start by renting a small box only to discover that it quickly becomes filled. You also need to determine who is allowed to access the box. The institution will provide a key (or keys) that must be kept in a safe place, but also a place you will remember. The contents of a safe deposit box are not insured by the institution.

What to Keep in Your Safe Deposit Box

Safe deposit boxes are the best places to keep items that are valuable. They are also good places to keep items that are not replaceable or have sentimental value. A household inventory (video-taped or written), appraisals, listings of insurance policies and credit card numbers should also be kept in a safe deposit box.

Examples of valuable items

  • Valuable coin and stamp collections
  • Negotiable investment instruments like bonds, stock certificates
  • Jewelry

Examples of items that are not easily replaced

  • Family heirlooms, photos or historical records that cannot be replaced
  • Adoption papers
  • Birth certificates
  • Citizenship papers
  • Military documents
  • Divorce papers

Examples of items that should be safe but available

  • Vital back up data files from your PC
  • Passports, if they are seldom used
  • Important contracts and business agreements
  • Real estate deeds and mortgages
  • Confidential records
  • Copies of important financial records that you keep at home
  • Copies of wills, living trust documents, powers of attorneys

What Not to Keep in Your Safe Deposit Box

It is important to remember — unless you have a court order saying otherwise — only you (or people you allow) can open your safe deposit box. Items others may need to obtain if you are not present should not be kept in your box.

Original wills, powers of attorney, living trust documents and other trust documents should not be in your safe deposit box. Insurance policies should usually be available and not kept in the box.

Using Your Safe Deposit Box

Use your safe deposit box regularly and keep a list of what it contains.

This content has been provided by Practical Money Skills and is intended to serve as a general guideline.