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I have a bit of valuable items i like to keep safe in case my home is ever broken into. I am considering a safe deposit box, but i don't know if the cost justify the safe deposit box or not. Is it worth it? Is there any alternatives that anyone can suggests(no, not hiding things under the bed--too easy to be stolen). thx

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biturbomunkie (Aug. 20, 2008 @ 5:28p) |

it is 50 dollars a year for one particular bank(WAMU) without any of those extra requirements. I hear horror stories of ... (more)

mrgamers (Aug. 21, 2008 @ 5:33p) |

Definitely. Check with local banks for "perks." Are you or your wife a teacher, a firefighter, etc.? If yes, you have... (more)

juniorjam (Aug. 21, 2008 @ 7:29p) |

Quick Summary is created and edited by users like you... Add FAQ's, Links and other Relevant Information by clicking the edit button in the lower right hand corner of this message.

How much is peace of mind worth to you?

I personally have one. Most home safes aren't worth a damn. Either too light that a thief can just carry it out and/or not thick enough to withstand a long fire. Good safes are expensive, which negate your cost issue.

Try finding local banks. A 3x5 box is usually around $20/yr at the small banks. Large banks like WAMU and BOA are around $50 or so and have less availability. A lot of the small banks also offer free box for one year for opening an account. Afterwards, you can pay the nominal fee or keep switching to another freebie if you're 'thrifty'. Lots of places (including big banks) offer free boxes if you have a large account(s) with them. Safe deposit boxes are a very negotiable thing for branch managers unlike interest rates. Can't hurt to ask.

mrgamers said: I have a bit of valuable items i like to keep safe in case my home is ever broken into. I am considering a safe deposit box, but i don't know if the cost justify the safe deposit box or not. Is it worth it? Is there any alternatives that anyone can suggests(no, not hiding things under the bed--too easy to be stolen). thx

I can keep it safe for you. Post your address here and I will send you a pre-paid box to ship the items to me.

rewap said: Large banks like WAMU and BOA are around $50 or so and have less availability.

Also, if you have premier banking at BOA I believe you can get the fee waived. Other large banks also offer free or discounted boxes for those with premier/private banking relationships.

sushiosushi said: rewap said: Large banks like WAMU and BOA are around $50 or so and have less availability.

Also, if you have premier banking at BOA I believe you can get the fee waived. Other large banks also offer free or discounted boxes for those with premier/private banking relationships.


I believe you don't even need premier banking to get it wavied at BOA... an Advantage checking account will do.

Put a sign on your door that says "Attention thieves, my valuables are in my safety deposit box."

safe box it is.

sushiosushi said: mrgamers said: I have a bit of valuable items i like to keep safe in case my home is ever broken into. I am considering a safe deposit box, but i don't know if the cost justify the safe deposit box or not. Is it worth it? Is there any alternatives that anyone can suggests(no, not hiding things under the bed--too easy to be stolen). thx

I can keep it safe for you. Post your address here and I will send you a pre-paid box to ship the items to me.


no need to send the pre-paid box. i'll do it myself. Sushiosushi what is your address again--can you please post it PUBLICLY here and your email address as well?

rewap said: Try finding local banks. A 3x5 box is usually around $20/yr at the small banks. Large banks like WAMU and BOA are around $50 or so and have less availability.

Funny considering the "2 Large Banks" you name both give away free 3X6X6(H/W/D) boxes for free with minimum account which requires $5-10k depending where in the country you are. WAMU with there online "Free Checking Account" you get a free small box and that account has $0 balance requirement. BOA for Premier clients will give larger box for free. Citibank gives free box worth up to $125 a year for free to Citigold customers which means you can get up to 6X6X12 for free.

According to BOA own web page "Small Safety Deposit Box" is $18 a year only and there smallest box is 3X6X6. So not sure were you live or were you are getting your info about safety deposit boxes.

Also good luck getting a large box at any large bank unless you keep very large balance and even then it is harder than hell as most of the large boxes are given to big clients for free who never give them back and end up getting passed down. I personally inherited a box from my grandparents as that was only way to get a large box at my local BOA branch as they have a waiting list for like 10 years as they claim they have over 300 people on a list for "Executive Safety Deposit Box" which are 24X24X36 and they only have 12 boxes this size. I am getting 3 boxes that size for free. 1 at BOA and 2 Citibank. Normally those boxes cost $295 per year at BOA and $325 at Citi.

Anyone paying for SDB is wasting money.

Numerous local and national banks offer free SDB with a certain min balance kept at the bank. I think its as low as $1,000 min at Wachovia, though that might only be for seniors.

Bank of America offers a free safe deposit box if you have their Prima checking, which is free if you keep 10K a month in it. It's the smallest box and can fit at most 100K in cash at $100 increments. The availablity can be difficult because it is a free box and BofA is a popular bank. I ended up just getting one at a bank out of the way a bit because of availability but I've only gone to my box once since I opened it, so no big deal.

mrgamers said: Is it worth it?

imo, no - at least in my current situation. i wanted to get a safe deposit box to store docs a few months ago. but my 5-min search told me that SDBs may not be that safe. in addition, states are known to seize stuff in SDBs.

and like others have pointed out, don't pay for a SDB. many banks give SDBs for free (BoA prima/premier banking, for example).

BofA gives a free SDB if you have a Prima account, there's no monthly charge for the Prima account if you have $15,000 in an BAIS investment account otherwsie you pay $20 per month. But BofA usually has no boxes available. You would not want to keep the money in a checking account because the interest rate is too low. You'd be better off using the money fund at BAIS.

This comes from the BofA website:
Maintain a minimum balance of $10,000 or more in your checking account
Maintain a minimum combined balance of $10,000 in your checking account with a linked savings, Investment CD accounts and FDIC - insured IRA's
Minimum outstanding balance of $15,000 on an installment loan or line of credit
A Bank of America mortgage balance of any amount
Have a minimum combined balance of $15,000 in investment accounts with Banc of America Investment Services, Inc..

Bankgeek said: BofA gives a free SDB if you have a Prima account, there's no monthly charge for the Prima account if you have $15,000 in an investment account, but then BofA always says the same thing, no boxes are available.

Prima is $10k in CA. And Prima account is only offered in Ca in every other state the account is called advantage and balance requirement is between $5-25k depending on the state. NV, TX, GA are $5k most others states are $10k and NY, CT, RI, MA, NJ are $25k.

$15k sounds like an Money Manager account in certain states like NV and TX only require $15k to waive the monthly service fee and that account also waives safety deposit box fee.

If you are thinking about getting a safe deposit box, please keep this in mind (from a previous FW post with credit to "Kranky"). There are some very good tips in the article on what to do to protect the contents of your box from being seized and how different states treat this issue...some good, some bad, very bad! California got sued and is now making reforms...the rest of you guys/gals in the "other" 49 states are on your own!

Not-So-Safe-Deposit Boxes: States Seize Citizens' Property to Balance Their Budgets

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=4832471&page=1

San Francisco resident Carla Ruff's safe-deposit box was drilled, seized, and turned over to the state of California, marked "owner unknown." Unknown? Carla's name was right on documents in the box at the Noe Valley Bank of America location. So was her address -- a house about six blocks from the bank. Carla had a checking account at the bank, too -- still does -- and receives regular statements. Plus, she has receipts showing she's the kind of person who paid her box rental fee. And yet, she says nobody ever notified her.


"They are zealously uncovering accounts that are not unclaimed," Ruff said.



Attorney Bill Palmer represents her and countless other citizens in a class action lawsuit against the state of California. "They figured the safety-deposit box was safer than keeping it under the mattress," Palmer said. "In the case of a lot of citizens, they were wrong, weren't they?"

California is not the only state to come under fire for its handling of unclaimed property. In Delaware, unclaimed property is the third largest source of state revenue. Idaho recently passed an unprecedented law that says the state gets to keep unclaimed property permanently if the rightful owners don't claim it within 10 short years. And all 50 states pay private contractors 10 to 12 percent commissions to locate and seize accounts for them. It's an inherent conflict of interest: the more rightful owners are found, the less money the contractors make.

Of course, there are some states who handle their people's property with respect. Oregon never takes title to unclaimed property. Instead, it holds it in a perpetual trust fund.

Protecting Your Property

So, the question for citizens is, how do you protect yourself?

Make contact with your bank, your brokerage firm, etc. at least once a year, in a way that creates a paper trail. Make sure they have your current address.

If you own stock, occasionally vote your proxies or take other steps to keep your stock ownership active. Stay in touch with your broker.

Write a list of all your accounts and keep it with your will, so your heirs will know where to look.

Consider insuring valuables even if you keep them in your safe-deposit box. That way, you're covered financially if the bank or state makes a mistake and empties your box. Plus, safe-deposit contents have been known to be destroyed by fire or flooding.



The previous FW Thread was posted by "Kranky" back on May 12, 2008

States using "unclaimed" property to fill their coffers

States using "unclaimed" property to fill their coffers

Yes, California's SDB's are kosher now, but I wouldn't store any precious metals as they can be legally seized by the US govt.

Considering that small safe deposit boxes cost $20/year I think it's a no brainer for storing important or valuable items that are rarely used. Don't just go with the first bank you call - I needed a 3x10 box (for storage of backup DVDs) and was quoted everywhere from $65/year to $50/month. Not surprisingly I went with the one that costs $65/year so that I can store backup DVDs in a fairly safe place.

kenmoreland said: Put a sign on your door that says "Attention thieves, my valuables are in my safety deposit box."

Is that like writing "No radio in car" and putting it in your window?

epark said: Yes, California's SDB's are kosher now, but I wouldn't store any precious metals as they can be legally seized by the US govt.

As I wasn't aware of this, I googled and this is what I found:

http://bellaciao.org/en/article.php3?id_article=10012
http://goldismoney.info/forums/archive/index.php/t-97162.html

If this is true, where would you recommend storing precious metals?

makingmovies said: epark said: Yes, California's SDB's are kosher now, but I wouldn't store any precious metals as they can be legally seized by the US govt.

As I wasn't aware of this, I googled and this is what I found:

http://bellaciao.org/en/article.php3?id_article=10012
http://goldismoney.info/forums/archive/index.php/t-97162.html

If this is true, where would you recommend storing precious metals?


http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/safedeposit.asp

it is 50 dollars a year for one particular bank(WAMU) without any of those extra requirements. I hear horror stories of Safe Box empty out by bank employee. Just to let everyone knows "NEVER let the employee lock and unlock your safe box with YOUR KEY". Make sure you LOCK IT YOURSELF with the EMPLOYEE. You DO NOT WANT the EMPLOYEE to "pretend" to lock your safe deposit box with the quick hand(Ilussion). In other words NEVER hand YOUR key to the employee. It YOUR Key.

SUCKISSTAPLES said: Anyone paying for SDB is wasting money.

Numerous local and national banks offer free SDB with a certain min balance kept at the bank. I think its as low as $1,000 min at Wachovia, though that might only be for seniors.


Definitely. Check with local banks for "perks." Are you or your wife a teacher, a firefighter, etc.? If yes, you have a decent chance of having a community program in place at a local branch for a free SDB.



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