Safe deposit box services offered by many of the leading banks in the UK for decades provided customers with somewhere to store valuables such as legal documents, jewellery, artwork and other assets. But, for a number of years we’ve seen a gradual phasing out of this service by banks, causing distress to many long-term users. What should they do?
Alternatives to a Bank Safe Deposit Box
Two main alternatives to storing your valuables in a bank safe deposit box are:
- Use Privately Owned Safe Deposit Boxes or Lockers OR
- Buy a Home Safe
As with most things, both options come with their own advantages and disadvantages.
Using a Safe Deposit Box Company
Within the bank, safe deposit boxes or lockers were held in bank vaults, behind a heavy door and guarded by 24/7 CCTV cameras. For an annual fee, customers could store their valuables and would typically access them during opening hours only, using a set of keys or a swipe card. It was advised that contents had to be covered under the customers’ home insurance policy under personal possessions cover. Often bank staff were unaware of the contents of the box, thus giving an extra sense of security for customers.
When initially faced with the option of using a private safe deposit box company, people had concerns, particularly those who had been using a bank safe deposit box for a significant period of time, decades in many cases. Trust and security issues were prevalent for former bank customers. How would the services of private companies compare?
In reality, safety issues played a part in some banks decision to discontinue the service. Whilst some banks highlighted that storage issues presented challenges and the service was becoming too complex and costly to operate, the issue of thieves targeting banks was also problematic. Banks were keen to minimise the risk of claims for property losses from customers.
Faced with less options, customers gradually started to explore safe deposit box services offered by private companies, and such providers have experienced a growing demand for their services over the last few years. If you are considering using such a service, you need to do your research. Review a number of companies, and their options and pricing – the cost is usually more than the bank service would have been. If you are happy with the offering, ask for customer feedback if this is not readily available online – are other customers happy with the service? Check the company’s security procedures – do they seem robust enough? Find out if the company has been targeted by thieves or if it has experienced any losses or claims from dissatisfied customers – this type of information may be available in online news reports. Make sure you have enough information to convince you that this is a viable option for you. It’s hard to put a price on peace of mind!
Buy a Home Safe
Home safes are another option to consider. Home safes can vary in price from as little as £50 up to thousands of pounds. It really comes down to assessing the contents your home safe will contain to determine what size you need. From here we can work out the value of the contents and the level of insurance cover and security you will need to present you with different options. As a guide, our high security safes start from around £450.
When assessing whether a home safe is the right option for you, take time to consider the following:
Would a home safe work out to be less costly? This will depend on the rental charges on a private safe deposit box and the length of time you plan to keep items in storage. If this will be for a number of years, a home safe could well be a much more affordable solution in the long-run, and home safes are incredibly sturdy. They will last for years and come with a product guarantee.
At home, you have 24/7 access to your valuables. Although some safety deposit box companies may offer this service as well, it’s less convenient and you may be more vulnerable when collecting items from the safe deposit company and transporting them home, or to another location.
No option can guarantee complete security and you are also at risk of theft in your own home, therefore you need to consider the security measures in place in your home too. Do you need to get CCTV cameras or other security solutions installed? This will undoubtedly add to your overall costs, but it will also enhance the overall safety of your home, your possessions and your family.
The type of home safe you buy will also have an impact on the level of security you will be privy to. If thieves enter your home and are able to find your safe, will they be able to simply pick it up and take it with them? We’d recommend that customers invest a bit more to have a fixed safe installed. These can be fixed to floors and walls, or an underfloor safe is another option.
If you think that buying a home safe may be the right option for you, these 5 factors to consider before buying a home safe will help you to identify what type you will need.
You can also contact our team and we will take you through the options and find the best safe to meet your needs and budget.
Tel: 0800 389 6066