Inside Edition: Do You Have a Safe Deposit Box? Here’s How To Ensure Your Valuables Are Safe

September 21st, 2016 – Safe deposit boxes are a secure place for you to store your valuables — but some recent heists have people wondering if they’re really that safe.

Last year, a team of thieves took off with $400 million in loot from a vault in England and earlier this year, there were two safe deposit box heists at banks in Queens, New York.

Cathyann Tully lost cash, bonds, jewelry and irreplaceable family heirlooms in the heist in Queens.

“We had this impression that we had a safe deposit box — we put our precious belongings there thinking that was a safe place to put them,” she told Inside Edition.

She said she regrets ever putting her valuables in a safe deposit box.

“It’s not the material dollar value of those items; it’s more the history behind it,” Tully said.

She’s not alone. According to the FBI, there are about a dozen safe deposit box heists per year in the U.S.

But banking experts say despite the risks, a safe deposit box is still the best place to store your valuables. However, some safe deposit boxes are more secure than others.

Before you rent a box, you should ask these questions of your banking institution, according to bank expert Dave McGuinn.

A few more tips from McGuinn and the American Bankers Association:

1. Safe deposit boxes are not FDIC insured so if there is a heist, your assets in the box may be lost forever. Obtain private insurance to protect your valuables.

2. Floods and plumbing catastrophes are far more common than bank heists. Put your valuables in a sealed container and try to rent a box at the top of the room.

3. Since safe deposit boxes can only be accessed during bank hours, do not store anything you may need at a moment’s notice such as a passport or living will.

4. Do not keep your box key on a key chain where it can be easily lost. Instead, store it in a secure place – not in a labeled envelope with the name of your banking institution. If you have more than one key, keep them separate in case you lose them. Banks don’t keep a copy of your key and if you lose it, you may be charged a hefty fee to drill out the lock.

Article found here.