Is a Home Safe Right for You?
If you’re like many homeowners, you have a box in the closet full of family photos that haven’t been organized, some heirloom family jewelry in a case on your dresser, a file folder of legal documents in your desk, an envelope of “emergency cash” tucked in your sock drawer, and possibly even a gun and ammo under your bed. These important items are fine just where they are, right? Nothing will happen to them as long as you keep your eye on them.
However, every day families are surprised by events they never could have foreseen; fires, floods and home invasions can and do happen unexpectedly. What would you do if your valuables and important papers are damaged, destroyed or stolen? Often these one of a kind items cannot be replaced – even if they’re insured for their full monetary value. Have you considered whether you may need a personal safe in your home?
First, make a list of things in your home that would be likely to go in a safe. You may not realize that common, everyday items are better off stored in a safe.
Insurance Documents – If your home is damaged, you won’t just need contact and policy information for the insurance itself, you’ll also need an inventory of the items that have been insured. Keeping an updated list of what your policy will cover is essential.
Personal Papers – Items such as passports, birth and marriage certificates and Social Security cards might be needed outside of bank hours, so it may be more convenient to keep them in a safe place at home.
Legal Documents – Records of all legal decisions, living wills, a power of attorney and advanced directives for healthcare decisions of all family members are best kept at home. After a person’s death is reported, a bank may seal a safe deposit box, leaving any documents of this type for other family members out of reach.
Financial and Tax Records – Deeds, property records, tax returns, brokerage and banking statements, debt records and credit cards you’re not currently using should be hidden away to help prevent identity theft. If you’re going to be selling a vehicle in the near future, you may want to put the title in a home safe to have it protected, instead of storing it in a bank deposit box. This way, it will be secure, yet readily available if you have an opportunity to complete the transaction during the evening or on a weekend.
Cash – Especially important if you live in an area commonly affected by power outages, keeping enough cash on hand to get you through an emergency is a great idea.
Photos, Home Movies and Digital Backups – Old family photos will degrade at a slower rate when placed in the dark, temperature-controlled environment of a safe. They’ll also be less likely to be destroyed during a flood or fire. To be even safer, scan your photos to a digital storage device and keep that copy in your safe as well. Any other important digital information you may need to access any time of the day or night should be stored on portable drives kept in your safe.
High-ticket Items - Sometimes you want to use certain valuable items as well as admire them. You may wear heirloom jewelry or a quality wristwatch regularly, or work with a coin or stamp collection. Electronics such as laptops, high-end tablets, video equipment, cameras and other technology are easy to unload for cash when they’re stolen, so if they aren’t in use, tuck them away.
Guns - This is a no-brainer. If you have a firearm in your home, it should be locked in a gun safe at all times when not in use. Between 2008 and 2017, an unintentional shooting death occurred every 16 hours, taking the lives of 5,327 people.
Keys - Stashing away a spare set of keys for every family member is a great idea, as is keeping the keys for a bank safe deposit box in your home safe.
Prescription Medications - To prevent accidental overdosing or to help curb addictive behaviors, store dangerous, powerful medications in a home safe.
After reviewing this list, do you see a good number of items you should be protecting with a home safe? If so, make sure to catch the next blog post on our website. The team at Ernest Homes will break down some of the types of safes that are available, and give you the skinny on the best home safes available on the market. You can’t afford to miss this opportunity to protect your family’s most precious possessions!