Your home is full of valuable items, but an area that’s frequently overlooked by homeowners when it comes to comprehensive security is the storage of important documents. In fact, a survey conducted by the National Research Center for consumer reports found that 1 in 4 Americans has lost a crucial financial document.
Given the importance of safeguarding such documents, you might consider using a bank or a safe-deposit box to help you. After all, these locations have extensive security systems in place. But the problem with safe-deposit boxes is that they often aren’t insured; FDIC insurance only covers deposits in accounts, not safe-deposit boxes. If you want comprehensive protection and easy access to your emergency documents, you need a fireproof home safe. But what exactly should you be keeping in it?
1. Easily Accessible Paperwork
Your passport, social security card, and tax information are all things that you need to protect from fires and theft, but placing them in a safe-deposit box prevents instant access. Items that you might need to look at, or use, within a moment’s notice should be somewhere both convenient and safe. A fireproof home safe is the perfect solution to this problem.
Most experts recommend storing copies of documents that you need easy access to in a home safe. Such documents might include:
- Driver’s licenses
- Health records
- Tax information
- Social security cards Difficult-to-Replace Documents
2. Difficult-to-Replace Documents
You might store valuable items, like photographs of your family and/or papers you have an emotional attachment to, in your fireproof home safe. Your home safe could also hold a range of other documents that would be difficult to replace because of the lengthy paperwork processes involved.
For instance, you need your social security number to apply for a job, collect welfare, and receive services from various government bodies, and replacing it takes a lot of time and effort. In the event of a fire or theft, your fireproof safe can protect your social security card so that you can access it without delay. This extends to other documents that you can’t afford to waste time on replacing, such as financial account information, retirement plans, and debt information.
3. Emergency Information
A fireproof safe can protect your documents from both burglary and unexpected disasters, like fire. After a sudden emergency, it can be very helpful to have items on hand that you can use to start rebuilding your life – and all without having to go to your safe-deposit box. Emergency documents might include insurance information and contact numbers, which you will need to pick up the pieces following a house fire.
In the event of an emergency, it can also be useful to have information about healthcare, legal documents, living wills, and proxies within easy access. These items can be essential in a serious situation, and having them safely stored within your home can save valuable time.
4. Cash and Resources
There are mixed opinions as to whether you should keep cash in a home safe. In most circumstances, cash is safer in a bank safe than in your home, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a good idea to have some rainy-day funds on hand. A fireproof safe can store some emergency cash so that you can quickly access money when you need it the most. After a fire in your home, you might need money to stay at a hotel. Keeping money in your fireproof home safe would ensure instant access to cash.
It may also be useful to store documents that relate to cash, such as information regarding the value of your home or insurance, checks, and other essential resources that might make recovering after an emergency a little easier.
5. Other Essential Documents
There are plenty of other important documents that you can store in a fireproof safe at home. After all, maintaining these valuables within your own property means that you can access them faster, and without having to worry about losing out. Your home insurance will cover the contents of your safe, giving you extra peace of mind.
Some other essential documents to keep in your home safe might include:
- Deeds and titles for your home and vehicle
- Papers related to retirement plans, investments, and contact information
- Birth certificates
- House photos that can act as proof in an insurance claim
- Information on outstanding debts
- Living trusts
While a bank certainly has a part to play in the protection of your valuables, it’s often a smart idea to keep some of your most important documents at home – so long as you have the right tools to protect them.