Safe deposit box

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"Safe deposit" redirects here; not to be confused with Safedeposits in Scotland.
Safe deposit boxes inside a Swiss bank.
Safe deposit vault after the 2011 Joplin tornado.

A safe deposit box, sometimes known as a safety deposit box,[1] is an individually secured container, usually held within a larger safe or bank vault. Safe deposit boxes are generally located in banks, post offices or other institutions. Safe deposit boxes are used to store valuable possessions, such as gemstones, precious metals, currency, marketable securities, important documents such as wills, property deeds, and birth certificates, or computer data storage that need protection from theft, fire, flood, tampering, or other perils. In the United States, renting out a safe deposit box in a bank does not mean that the property is automatically insured.[2] An individual should still purchase insurance for the safe deposit box in order to cover theft and natural disasters.

In the typical arrangement, a renter pays the bank a fee for the use of the box, which can be opened only with presentation of an assigned key, the bank's own guard key, the proper signature, and sometimes a code of some sort.[3] Some banks additionally use biometric dual-control security to complement the conventional security procedures.[4] The security measures utilized by many institutions often make safe deposit boxes a poor repository for wills, powers of attorney and other estate planning documents if the owner has not authorized additional signatories on the account.[5]

Many hotels, resorts and cruise ships also offer safe deposit boxes or small safes to their patrons, for temporary use during their stay.[6] These facilities may be located behind the reception desk, or securely anchored within private guest rooms for privacy.

The contents of safe deposit boxes may be seized under the legal theory of abandoned property.[7]

See also


  1. "Safe Deposit Box or Safety Deposit Box?". Straight Dope. Retrieved November 26, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Storing Gold Externally". Gold Buying Facts - Your one stop resource about how to buy gold. Retrieved November 10, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. FDIC Consumer News. November 2014.
  4. Thinking outside the safe deposit box: Florida Credit Union members use biometric HandReaders. SecureIDNews March 3, 2005.
  5. "Where should I keep my Estate Plan documents?". Pauper Planning Techniques. Curnalia Law, LLC. Retrieved July 13, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Payne, Kirby D. Safety Deposit Boxes and In-Room Safes. Hotel Online data base of News and Trends.
  7. Liz Pulliam Weston. "Why treasures in safe deposit boxes get 'lost'". MSN Money.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>