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Household safes explained

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Having large wedges of cash at home may keep you safe from online fraud and bank charges, but then there’s always an outside chance of exposure to fire or theft.

Household safe

So, for those who elect to keep their cash at home, it’s far more sensible to invest in a decent safe.

First off, check your policy

As always, it’s really important to check the fine print of your contents insurance policy before deciding on the right way forward. 

Most insurance providers will only cover a fairly small amount of cash stashed in the home if it is not kept in a safe. So if there’s a fire or you’re robbed, you may find that you’re only covered for the first £250-£500, and may well be underinsured.

Insurance providers will obviously make more generous concessions for money kept in a safe, as there will be less risk of a claim arising. 

However, as much as a safe is recommended for jewellery, personal family heirlooms and a modest amount of cash, it’s probably best not to keep your life savings in there. 

Not in the least because your safe won’t give you a good rate of interest… But also because your home insurance policy is likely to have an uppermost limit too.

How to choose the right safe

Firstly and most obviously, get a safe which is big enough for the volume of valuables you intend to put in it!

Beyond that, it’s worth considering just how robust the safe in question is. Every safe has a cash rating, which broadly indicates how secure it is. 

So, for example, a safe with a cash rating of £6,000 will be tougher to crack than one with a cash rating of £1,000. It may also have a jewellery/valuables rating, which will be ten times its cash rating.

However, it is important to bear in mind that this rating only tells you how secure a safe is considered to be… It does not necessarily have a bearing on how much of its contents will be covered by your insurance policy. 

Household safe

So, before committing to buying a safe on this basis, check against your policy first. Some policies may cover you for a cash value beyond your safe’s rating, but some may cover you for less.

It’s possible to get lightweight, compact safes which you could store in your cupboard or attic and so on. Otherwise, for more heavyweight beasts, you should follow the manufacturer’s advice on where to position it within your home. 

It may well be worth considering anchoring the safe to the ground or to a wall. That way, any opportunistic burglars won’t simply carry them away with a view to trying to open it later away from your property. Plus, a safe’s cash rating tends to only apply where the safe is correctly installed.

Safes can be opened in a variety of different ways, so it’s up to you to choose which method suits you best. You could go for a traditional key, an electronic typepad, or even one which recognises your fingerprint. It’s like living in the future!

Some people like to keep their valuables off their premises, and might rent out a safety deposit box in a secure location. However, it’s fair to assume that most of us are more likely to find home safes more convenient – and considerably cheaper.

Other useful tips

  • Always thoroughly review the safety features, and don’t just opt for the cheapest

  • Unless you are sharing the safe with a partner or family member, for example, never reveal safe codes or the location of the safe keys

As with all purchases which might indicate that you have valuable items within your home, dispose of the safe’s packaging properly.

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