Do You Have a Safe Deposit Box? Here's How To Ensure Your Valuables Are Secure

Before you rent a box, be sure to ask these questions of your banking institution.

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.

Read: Woman Abandoned By Her Dad Discovers She is Owed $86,000 From His Bank Account After He Dies

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.

Take his full test below or click here to download and print the PDF.

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.

Read: Cops: Brazen Bank Robbers Nab $280,000 and Loot Safety Deposit Boxes By Cutting Hole in Vault

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 keychain 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.

For more tips, visit Dave McGuinn’s website.

See the American Bankers Association's website here.

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