Safety Deposit Boxes: 5 Tips

Some points to remember about safe deposit boxes at banks.

—WHAT SHOULD I STORE? Any documents or valuable items that would be difficult or expensive to replace. This might include legal agreements, armed service records, car titles, old family photos.

—WHAT SHOULD I KEEP AT HOME? Because of limited access, frequently used items or ones that may be needed at a moment's notice such as a passport or health care power of attorney should be stored at home.

—IS MY DEPOSIT BOX INSURED? Contents of safety-deposit boxes aren't insured by the bank or the FDIC. If you want items insured, consider getting a rider added to your homeowner's policy or getting a separate policy.

—WHAT CAN I DO FOR ADDED PROTECTION? Place all contents in plastic bags or containers with your name labeled on it. This will help protect your belongings in case of a plumbing catastrophe or flood.

—WHAT IF I LOSE THE KEYS? The bank doesn't keep a copy of your key. If you lose yours, the bank will have to drill into the box to replace the lock and you will be charged. Keep your safe-deposit box keys apart from each other and in a safe place. Don't keep them with your car and house keys, and don't store them in an envelope that is labeled with the bank's name.

Source: American Bankers Association

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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