Have you ever been part of a conversation that starts “If you house caught on fire, what would you grab before running out the door?” It’s a good question! Maybe you think of photos, love letters, or even your wallet. Of course, there is no wrong answer. But when it comes to certain items like legal documents, there is definitely a right way to keep them. At any given moment, homes are vulnerable to both theft and destruction. All it takes is for a tree to fall or for a fire to spark for precious items to be lost.
There are a couple of good options for minimizing your risk:
Safety Deposit Box: This is a box you rent at your bank. Not only are safety deposit boxes well-secured, but their offsite location can also be an asset.
In-Home Safe: These are safes inside the home which provide extra security against theft.
Firesafe Box: These are free-standing boxes which can be purchased at a home/office supply store. Firesafe boxes lock with a key, and provide protection from water and fire. They are an affordable solution to a need for extra security.
Once you’ve selected a method, the next question is which items should you put in your secure location? Since safe boxes are typically limited in size, it is important to prioritize. Some items to consider include:
1. Original documents that are particularly difficult to replace, such as:
- Marriage License
- Divorce Decree
- Birth Certificates
- Baptism Certificates
- Living Will
- Power of Attorney
- Social Security Card
- Homeowner’s Insurance Policy
- Life Insurance Policy
- Savings Bonds
- Irrevocable Trust
- Ownership documents (car/boat/cemetery plots/etc.)
2. Copies of important items you would need to replace if stolen or damaged, including
- Copy of wallet contents (including fronts & backs of each card)
- Copy of driver’s license
3. Small/highly valuable/sentimental possessions which can’t be replaced, such as:
- Lock of child’s hair
- Favorite piece of jewelry
- Letters from a deceased loved one
4. Cash on hand. In the event of a large-scale emergency or power outage, you may not have immediate access to your bank account. It is always a good idea to have some money for groceries and fuel if ATMs were to go down or travel were restricted.
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In today’s digital environment, many options exist for scanning and storing important documents on computers and/or in the cloud. But for those vital “originals” in your space, taking the step to store them safely is well worth the effort.
What items do you keep in a firesafe or safety deposit box?
19 thoughts on “The Safe Box”
My parents actually have one and we use theirs, because it is big enough for all us. But you are right about what should be included and thanks for the heads up and tips for this today 🙂
Thanks Janine. Great to know your most valuable documents are safe in your parent’s box. It is something I was never taught to use, but since they are pretty affordable, it just makes sense!
Everything makes sense. This post is really helpful and sometimes we tend to forget. Accidents do happen and it pays to be prepared.
Often people think of the birth certificate, but I tell you, if you’ve ever had your wallet stolen, having all of that information close at hand can alleviate a lot of stress. They don’t cost much, so it is definitely worth it.
Cassidy has one and he puts all of our important documents in it. It does feel very organized and safe and every time I need something for school or doctors or travel, I know where to find it.
Have I mentioned that Cassidy is a “keeper”:) ? Way to go!!
Great reminder. We actually have a large gun safe that we store all our important items in. But I hadn’t thought of putting in those priceless momentos – good idea!
I’m so encouraged to see people telling me that they are using a secure location! I’ve never heard of a gun safe, Lana… sounds perfect. Thanks for sharing this idea:)
I have this exact same box! I purchased it about 28 years ago. Shortly after my parents home burned down and the lost everything. I had never seen up close what a fire can destroy in a short period of time. It was eye opening and gut wrenching. This is one of the smarts things I have ever bought!
My heart goes out to your parents, Susie!! It is just terrible, and pretty much always out of the blue and unexpected. For the cost, it just seems well worth the investment to protect those things which can’t be easily replaced.
It has been on our to get list for a while now. Good reminder.
It’s one of those small investment, huge possible payoff kind of items, right Jill? I have a similar list to yours… things we just need to get done! I keep thinking I’ll have more time over the summer, but I’m still waiting for that time to emerge:)
Great tips as usual! I was just thinking about how we could use a firesafe box to lock some of our documents such as our passports, visas, and birth certificates!
Most of them are not only firesafe but also waterproof (when locked), so they really are worth the investment.
Excellent suggestions, and we do actually have an in home safe box. I would say most of our important documents are in there, but I probably should go through your list as well. Thanks Seana!
Lucky to have one, Michelle. The tough part is remembering to put items back after you’ve pulled them out… such as with passports. I’ve been so happy to hear how many people have these and are using them:)
That’s informative. Thank you.
Glad you found it helpful! Appreciate the comment:)
Great and useful article. Thanks for sharing