A safe deposit box (or safety deposit box) is an individually secured container—usually a metal box—that lives in the vault of a federally insured bank or credit union. It’s one of a number of services beyond banking that your institution may offer. Safe deposit boxes are used to keep valuables, important documents, and sentimental keepsakes protected. Customers rely on the security of the building and vault to safeguard their contents.
When you rent a safe deposit box, the bank gives you a key to use, in tandem with a second “guard key” held by a bank employee, to access the box (if your bank uses a keyless system, you’ll scan your finger or hand instead). Either way, you’ll have to provide some type of identification—and your key, if it’s not a keyless system—every time you visit the bank to access the box.
Safe deposit boxes are designed to withstand natural disasters such as fires, floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes.
Never store the only copy of an important document in a safe deposit box.
Safe deposit boxes are especially useful for people who aren’t comfortable storing things in a digital environment.
It’s wise to have a co-lessor for your safe deposit box, but you should think carefully about who the best person would be.