What Is a Safety Deposit Box and How Much Does It Cost?
Banking / Banks
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A safety deposit box is a box of varying size in which you can store certain valuable items in the safety of your bank or credit union’s vault. The annual safety deposit box cost ranges from $43 to over $225 depending on the size of the box, the financial institution with which you do business and what other accounts you have there.
There’s a lot to know about safety deposit boxes in terms of how much you pay, what you get for the money, how to snag a discount on rental fees and how to use a safety deposit box once you get it. Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about safety deposit boxes.
Safety Deposit Boxes vs. Home Safes
The annual cost of a safety deposit box can run up to over $225, so before we look at the process to get one, let’s see if you really need one. Storing valuables in a safe at home is cheaper and more convenient since you always have access to your safe. The problem is, that convenience is as true for burglars as it is for you, which makes safes an attractive target for thieves. Use them for replaceable important documents like birth certificates, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. recommends, but not for irreplaceable items like jewelry or heirlooms. Those are the items that need the extra protection provided by a safety deposit box.
Are Safety Deposit What holiday is it in france today Insured?
Thankfully, safety deposit spirit airlines phone number usa usually live up to their name, but they’re not entirely immune from damage in extreme circumstances, like fire, flood or natural disasters. There’s even a small possibility that a thief could get in, although a safe at home is much more vulnerable to theft. The most likely scenario for damage is a natural disaster, so the FDIC recommends keeping items that could be susceptible to water damage in sealable plastic bags bank of america safe deposit box availability containers in your box in case of a problem.
If your safety deposit box contains valuable family heirlooms or other items worth a substantial amount of money, you’re out of luck if an unauthorized person gets to them. Banks exclude themselves from any liability in their safety deposit box contracts and the automatic FDIC insurance that covers bank accounts does not offer any protection for safety deposit box contents. Check your renter’s or homeowners insurance and add coverage for your box in case of loss or damage to its contents.
What Is the Average Cost of a Safety Deposit Box?
Expect your safety deposit box cost walmart money card number run from $43 to over $225 for the year, based on the size of the box, your bank and location. Not all banks have safety deposit boxes among their products and services, so check with yours to see if it offers this service and how much it charges. If it doesn’t have safety deposit boxes, check around for a bank that does. When you find a bank with boxes and an acceptable rental fee for the size of the box you need, fill out the appropriate paperwork and set up the monthly payment. Expect the contract to include things like limitations on the bank’s liability, what happens if you die or become incapacitated, and how the bank will handle your safety deposit box and its contents if you go delinquent on the rental fee. Then you’ll get the key and you’re ready to start storing your valuables.
Safety Deposit Box Sizes and Rates
The following table shows the sizes of the boxes offered at a few different financial institutions and the annual rental fees.
|Annual Rates For Safety Deposit Boxes|
|Box Size (inches):||3 x 5||5 x 5||3 x 10||5 x 10||10 x 10|
|Bank of America||$75||$101||$101||$157||$227|
Can You Get a Discount on a Safety Deposit Box?
Saving money is always good, especially on something like a safety deposit box where the rental fee often goes up every year. The U.S. Department of Treasury recommends shopping around to ensure that your safety deposit box cost is reasonable.
Just as financial institutions often waive service fees on accounts for customers who maintain specific deposit account balances, many give rental fee discounts for safety deposit boxes to the people who bank with them. You might even get amazon student visa credit card for free if you’re one of their best customers. Depending on the financial institution, things that could make you eligible for a reduced safety deposit box cost include having a savings account, checking account, loans or investments there.
Even if your bank won’t give you a discount, you can save money by making sure the size of the box aligns with your needs. Choose the smallest safety deposit box necessary. Otherwise, you’re paying higher rental fees for unused space.
What Should You Store in a Safety Deposit Box?
Safety deposit boxes are popular places to store items like family heirlooms, old photographs, jewelry, U.S. savings bonds and other valuable or irreplaceable items. They also offer secure storage for important documents like birth certificates, property deeds and car titles. Safety deposit boxes are credit one number good place for footage of your home contents for insurance purposes in boone county jailtracker kentucky the property is stolen or destroyed by fire, flood or some other disaster.
Safety deposit boxes work best for items that you won’t need to access quickly or that other family members won’t need to access in your absence. You must bank of america safe deposit box availability to your bank to get into your safety deposit box, and access is limited to the bank’s operating hours. For example, you might put your credit cards in a safety deposit box if you’re trying to cut down on spending. That works until you need those credit cards for an emergency expense at midnight on a holiday.
What Shouldn’t You Store in a Safety Deposit Box?
Stuffing your safety deposit box full of cash is a bad idea, and your bank might not even allow it. Bank rules aside, lack of FDIC insurance is a major reason for not storing cash in a safety deposit box. And when that money isn’t in a bank account, it’s not earning any interest. If you still insist on storing cash in a safety deposit box, read your bank’s rules and rental agreement carefully. An FDIC-insured bank account is the safest spot for your funds.
Other items for which safety deposit boxes don’t work well are powers of attorney for things like medical or financial decisions if you become incapacitated and someone else needs to intervene on your behalf. Your attorney can advise you on whether a safety deposit box is a good place for your will as this varies, depending on your state’s laws.
Can Someone Else Open Your Safety Deposit Box?
Under certain circumstances, your safety deposit box might be opened without your authorization. This could happen due to a search warrant, a court order, a failure on your part to pay the rental fee or a closure of the bank branch. If this happens, at least two people must be present to create an inventory of the safety deposit box contents. Those items are then removed to a bank vault for safekeeping.
What if You Forget About Your Safety Deposit Box?
You might think that you’d never forget your safety deposit box, but it happens often enough for banks and states to have rules on how to handle it. Banks consider a box dormant if there’s no activity 1st financial federal credit union routing number you haven’t paid the rent for two to five years. The exact timespan varies, depending on where you live. Once dormancy happens, your bank transfers the box’s contents to the state treasurer or unclaimed property office. You’ll get a notice to your last known address before that happens. If you don’t respond, your items go to the appropriate office. When you remember to do something about your safety deposit box, you may be able to retrieve the contents through the correct office in your state. Look it up through the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.
About the Author
Barb Nefer has been writing professionally for nearly 30 years, cutting her teeth as a news writer for the Daily Southtown in Chicago. She's a doctor of psychology, and her eclectic expertise includes personal finance, psychology, travel and the pet industry. Her work reflects that diversity, with pieces appearing in places like About.com, CBS Local, Yahoo.com, WebPsychology, and Animal Wellness magazine.
Is It Legal to Keep Money in a Safe Deposit Box?
No laws exist that prevent you from keeping cash in a safe deposit box. However, while not illegal, bankers typically discourage customers from keeping cash in safe deposit boxes because funds inside the box are not insured. Additionally, you can only access your box during regular bank hours, which means you have no access to your cash during weekends and evenings when banks are closed.
Anti-money laundering laws enable the federal government to take punitive action, including fines, against people and institutions who assist money launderers. Because of the fear of falling foul closest huntington bank near me these laws, some banks include a clause in the safe deposit box agreement that states that customers cannot deposit cash in their box. However, bank employees have no access to your box so even though banks may not want you to keep cash in your box, in reality, no one knows what you keep in there.
When you deposit cash into a bank account you are protected against loss if the bank goes bankrupt because the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, FDIC, insures bank deposits up to $250,000 per account holder. However, FDIC insurance does not extend to protecting the contents of safe deposit boxes. If any harm comes to the contents of your box, your bank only is liable for losses caused by negligence and typically does not cover cash losses. You can increase your homeowners insurance to cover the contents of your box, but insurers do not usually protect cash.
Some people who are attempting to avoid paying taxes or are involved in criminal enterprises stow cash in their safe deposit boxes to avoid detection. However, the state and federal authorities can go to court and obtain a warrant that allows the police or other government agencies to access your box. If, for some reason, you cannot get to the bank to access your box you cannot simply give your key to someone else as banks only allow box owners to access safe deposit boxes. Therefore, do not keep important items in the box that you may need during an emergency.
You have to pay an annual rental fee when you have a safe deposit box and if you do not pay your rent within a certain period of time, your bank can hire a contractor to force the box open and remove its contents. Additionally, if you fail to pay your rent for a number of years, state laws require your bank to hand over the contents of the box to the state's abandoned property fund. You can file a claim with the state to get your money back, but that could take several weeks so do not keep cash in your box if you think you might need easy access to the money at some point in the future.
- "Bankrate.com"; Anything Goes in a Safe Deposit Box; Laura Bruce; August 2003
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: Insured or Not Insured
- Comptroller of the Currency Administrator of National Lnb bank hours Answers About Safe Deposit Boxes
- Commonwealth of Massachusetts: Abandoned Property Regulations
- PNC. “What Is a Safe Deposit Box & Why Do I Need One?” Accessed May 8, 2020.
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. “Five Things to Know About Safe Deposit Boxes, Home Safes and Your Valuables.” Accessed May 8, 2020.
- Las Vegas Vaults. "Safety Deposit Box Sizes + Prices." Accessed May 8, 2020.
- ESL Federal Credit Union. "Safe Deposit Boxes: Fees." Accessed May 8, 2020.
- Wells Fargo. “Order Checks, Stop Payments, and Other Requests Questions.” Accessed May 8, 2020.
- National Personnel Records Center. "DD Form 214, Discharge Papers and Separation Documents." Accessed May 8, 2020.
- TreasuryDirect. "Series EE Savings Bonds." Accessed May 8, 2020.
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. “A Guide to What Is and Is Not Protected by FDIC Insurance.” Accessed May 8, 2020.
- Arkansas Law Review. “The Legal History of Safekeeping and Safe Deposit Activities in the United States,” Page 728. Accessed May 8, 2020.
- New York Times. "What You Need to Know About Safe Deposit Boxes." Accessed May 8, 2020.
- BBVA. "Bank Safe Deposit Box." Accessed May 8, 2020.
It's Time to Find a Safe Deposit Box Alternative
Safe deposit boxes are legendary for revealing items that fix problems—at least, they do in Hollywood stories. But in real life, safe deposit boxes may not be the haven for your valuables they used to be. A horrifying story from the New York Times recounts the tales of some people who put their valuables (think diamonds and rare watches) into safe deposit boxes along with documents and family photos only to have many of their items disappear.
While we may think of banks as one of the safest places we can stash our stuff, safe deposit boxes aren’t regulated as strictly as other banking activities. And on top of that, they’ve fallen out of vogue, which means even if you have one, it may be time to figure out an alternate plan for storing your items. The largest American banks don’t even install safe deposit boxes in most new branches, and Capital One stopped renting out new boxes in 2016, according to the New York Times.
What’s a person with valuable items to do?
Safe deposit box alternatives
If your important items are primarily documents, a fireproof, waterproof document safe may be all you need. If you’re storing digital media (like a flash drive or DVD) in the box along with paper documents, be sure to get one that says it can keep the internal temperature below 125 degrees.
If your items have a market value, like jewelry, a more formidable home safe that’s bolted to the floor may be up your alley. For the more creative, a hidden-in-plain-sight storage contraption may suit you. There are numerous options, my favorite being the entirely too complex doctored Miracle Whip jar.
Tips for safe deposit box loyalists
While banks aren’t immune to natural disasters or theft, you may decide that it’s a safer place to keep items than your own home.
The FDIC suggests using a safe deposit box for originals of documents like birth certificates and car titles. It’s not, it emphasizes, a place to put cash because that cash isn’t protected by FDIC insurance like it would if it were in a savings account.
If you choose to keep items with a monetary value in a safe deposit box, you’ll need to have insurance policies for those specific items. A safe deposit box does not automatically provide coverage. Some banks limit their liability for lost goods to a dollar amount like $500; others, like the Bank of America policy cited in the New York Times article, limits liability to 10 times the annual rent charged for the box.
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This detailed review is focused on sharing basic information about Bank of America safe deposit box.
This well-established bank offers the safest option to protect your properties and valuables, excluding cash.
Every box comes equipped with a special double lock that consists of guard and customer keys.
About Safe Deposit Box
Bank of America provides its customers with a safe deposit box for different fixed fees.
You can open it only with your assigned key, proper signature and guard key.
This service is offered to any SHBA client who has a valid DDA account, so that a fee can be charged automatically.
The best part is that a safe deposit box won’t be opened even if other people find your key.
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These boxes are available in a range of sizes,and you can easily reserve them.
Popular: Routing number for Bank of America
How to Open Your Safe Deposit Box at Bank of America
To open it, it’s necessary to visit a local banking center.
This bank offers a convenient possibility to schedule an appointment with its associates for the time and day that work best for you.
Reasons to Choose This Extra Service
- Your valuable items will be protected from floods, fires and other unexpected natural disasters. Natural disasters can destroy many precious belongings if you keep them at home, including jewelry, documents and others. It’s important to keep the most valued items in a safe place.
- This safe deposit box offered by Bank of America offers a cost-efficient tool to keep your valuables safe and private. You are the only one who knows about its content, so that your relatives, bank representatives and other people have no idea what’s inside.
- Your valuable belongings are protected from any possible theft. A safety deposit box is an effective way to get extra peace of mind. Any theft won’t happen when it comes to a bank safe, because it’s securely constructed and heavily guarded.
- Your possessions are protected from being misplaced and lost, too. If you want to protect some important documents or other materials, use this special box to be sure that they’re kept organized and secure.
Cost of Using This Box
The price for a Bank of America safe deposit box varies based on its size, and fixed rental fees are charged on an annual basis.
– The rent for the smallest box ranges from $15 to %25;
– A medium box costs $40-65 each year;
– The biggest box is priced between $185 and $500.
Everything You Need to Know About Safety Deposit Boxes
Renting a safety deposit box can be an effective, and affordable, way to store and protect important documents, family heirlooms, and priceless valuables. The convenience alone makes it an attractive alternative to a home or office safe, and with your possessions being stored along side of the bank's own assets you can be sure they will be properly protected.
Of course, there's more to renting a safety deposit box than simply paying the annual fee and slipping the keys on your keyring. You have to consider what you will be storing in the box, who will have access to the contents, and what your responsibilities are as a box holder. You also have to understand where the bank's liability begins and ends, and what steps you need to take to keep your valuables truly secure.
The Benefits of Safe Deposit Boxes
A safety deposit box offers privacy and security at a price that most of us can afford. While it's always tempting to want to keep valuables and important documents close to hand, simply locking them away in a cabinet or desk isn't a sensible option. It not only leaves them vulnerable to theft, it also increases the risk of loss by fire, flood, or simple carelessness. Combination safes and lock-boxes are a somewhat better option, but even they fail to deliver the privacy and protection of a safety deposit box stored in the vault of your local bank. The key benefit of a safe deposit box is that you get to take advantage of your bank's state of the art security systems – all for a nominal annual fee starting as low as $20 or $30.
Is Your Home Safe Actually Safe?
If you have a small safe at home you not only have to worry about natural disasters, but if it is easy to carry the safe out of your house, a burglar can easily break it open elsewhere. A safe at home acts as an advertisement for what to steal to any burglar who sees it, which is why some people opt to conceal items in a fake book or diversion can rather than secure valuables in an easy to find safe. None of these solutions give you the peace of mind a safety deposit box at a bank does.
What Should You Put Into Your Safety Deposit Box
As a general rule of thumb, a safety deposit box should be used to store any personal possessions that you simply can't afford to lose. That could mean anything from your marriage license to your grandmother's antique brooch. When deciding what to put into a safe deposit box, it's important to remember that it's not just about protecting those items from theft. You should also consider what could be lost through negligence or natural disaster. For example, if you have stock certificates stored in a lock-box in the den they could easily be lost in a fire or flood, and that could mean a substantial financial setback for you and your family.
The most common items people store in their safety deposit boxes include:
- Family Documents (birth certificates, marriage licenses, passports)
- Property Deeds and Titles
- Mortgage Documents
- Insurance Policies and an Inventory of Personal Possessions
- Personal and Business Contracts
- Financial Documents (stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit)
- Miscellaneous Valuables (jewelry, antiques, collectibles, family heirlooms)
What NOT to Put Into Your Safe Deposit Box
While nearly anything of value can be stored in a safety deposit box, there are some things that probably shouldn't go in. Chief among these are any important legal documents that you, or your family, might need to access in an emergency. For example, a will or power of attorney should be left in the care of your lawyer. In the event of an accident, or sudden death, your dependents will need to retrieve these documents in a timely manner, and that may not be possible if they are locked away in a bank vault. Particularly if you are the only key holder.
Not So Safe: A Warning Against Storing Forbidden Items
There are also some things that can not legally be stored in a safety deposit box. For instance, drugs (both legal and illicit), firearms, and explosives are all prohibited items. While it's true that privacy is a primary advantage of renting a safe deposit box, and banks make a point of not knowing what their customers have stored on their premises, it's never a good idea to break the law.
If law enforcement suspects that you are storing prohibited items, or are hiding the proceeds of a crime, they can obtain a warrant to search your safety deposit box and seize the contents.
Finally, some people consider keeping cash in their safe deposit boxes, reasoning that if the bank fails they will still have access to some ready money. This is never a good idea. In the first place, you will be losing out on any interest you could earn if the money was properly deposited with the bank. Second, it suggests that you are trying to hide money from the IRS, and that can lead to serious legal problems down the line. While it's true that keeping cash in a safe deposit box is not illegal, many banks have adopted policies that forbid the practice outright.
Accessing Your Valuable Possessions
When renting a safety deposit box, one of the most important questions is who will have access to the contents. It is not enough to simply give someone you trust a copy of the key. The only people who can be granted access to your safe deposit box are co-renters and duly appointed ‘deputies' or ‘agents' whose identities and signatures are on file with the bank. It's worth noting here that a power of attorney does not grant anyone access to a safety deposit box. The bank has no way to validate the power of attorney or to determine if it is still in force. Consequently, an executor or legal conservator would have to apply to the courts to have the contents of bank of america safe deposit box availability safety deposit box released by judicial order.
Abandoned Boxes and Unclaimed Property
Should you fail to maintain the rent on your safety deposit box it can be classified as abandoned, with the contents being sold off chase bank cashiers check limit the state at auction. Each bank has its own rules regarding abandoned boxes, and the time limits will vary according to the whims of the institution and the laws of the state. Generally, abandoned safety deposit boxes are held unopened for 2 to 3 years, during which time the bank is required to take any necessary steps to contact the renter or their representatives. Failing that, the box will be opened and the contents given over to the state's division of unclaimed property. If this happens, you may still be able to reclaim your property, or that of a deceased family member, by contacting the state's treasurer or through the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.
Securing Your Valuables
While safety deposit boxes do provide an impressive level of safety, the bank vaults that house them can be subject to natural disasters. To further protect yourself and your belongings, there are some simple steps you should take. Documents should be kept in plastic bags or envelopes to protect them from water damage in the even of a flood or fire. Valuables like jewelry and collectibles should also be stored prefab shipping container homes for sale in north carolina air tight plastic containers. It is also a good idea to label the contents of your safety deposit box, putting your name and account number on each piece to make it easier to identify and reclaim in the event of a major disaster. You should also keep a detailed inventory of all the items you currently have stored in your box.
Insuring Your Belongings
There is a misconception that anything stored in a safety deposit box is insured by the bank or the FDIC. This can be a costly mistake to make. To be sure, banks are responsible for the protection of their vault and its contents, but unless you can prove negligence on their part you will have where can i find my account number for boost mobile claim to reimbursement for any losses due to theft or natural disaster. Some banks do offer insurance to box holders as an added service, and this is an option that should be considered. That being said, most homeowners and tenant's insurance policies have limited provisions covering valuables stored in safety deposit boxes. Depending on the policy, that may be enough to cover your needs. Still, it is often a wise choice to take out additional insurance on any valuables stored in a safety deposit box. In the unlikely event your box is robbed or damaged the extra insurance will help to minimize any potential loss.
What to Expect if Your Bank Fails
No one likes to think about it, but banks do fail on occasion. It doesn't happen often, but if it does you need to know how it effects your safety deposit box and its contents. When an insured bank fails, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) steps in and arranges for another financial institution to take over. When this happens customers should be able to conduct business as usual, and the includes having free access to the contents of a safe deposit box. In extreme circumstances, when the FDIC can't find another bank to take over, they will arrange for customers to collect the contents of their safety deposit boxes within the first few days following the banks closure. The contents of any abandoned boxes will be classified as unclaimed property and will be handed over to the state's treasurer.
Safety deposit boxes offer an affordable, and in many cases more effective, alternative to a home safe. They not only help to protect your most important documents, but they also help to guarantee that valuables and treasured family heirlooms are kept safe for years to come. It's the kind of security and peace of mind that money can actually buy.
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