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Home Safes - Protect Your Valuables - Part 1

Part 2

Most people have valuables that need to be protected from theft and/or damage from fire and other types of disasters. Home safes provide a level of protection and there are many types and considerations based on the items needing protection and where you live. Figure 1 is one of the latest home wall safes with biometric finger print access.

Biometric finger print access wall safe

Figure 1 - Biometric finger print access wall safe

Before one can determine the best method for securing their valuables they should consider the types of valuables they have and their housing situation.

There are basically three types of valuables.

  1. Items that are intrinsically valuable unto themselves. These include items such as currency, unregistered bonds, unregistered stock certificates, jewelry, jewels, rare coins and stamps.
  2. Items that do not have an intrinsic value, but have a value to the owner and cannot be replaced. These include items such as photographs, and personal memorabilia.
  3. Important papers, that can be replaced with a substantial amount of effort and possible some expense. These include items such as insurance policies, registered stock certificates, registered bonds, deeds, tax returns, receipts, birth certificates, wills, and passports

There are three types of housing situations.

  1. Home ownership
  2. A homeowner has the advantage of being able to consider modifying the home to accommodate the storage of specific valuables.

  3. Rental accommodation
  4. In general, if you rent your accommodation, valuable storage has to be accomplished without modification to any of the premise that you live in. However, the valuable storage can generally be fastened to floors or walls and can also be quite heavy.

  5. Short term accommodation such as college dorms.
  6. With short term accommodation the valuable storage device should be easily moved.

    While the rental of a bank safety deposit box is probably the most secure method of protecting your valuables, a safety deposit box has the inherent problem of access and in most cases has an ongoing fee associated with it.

    There are three items that are important to remember when hiding valuables.

  7. It is important to remember that if you hide valuables, that are not used or looked at often, it is very likely that you will forget where you hid them.
  8. In the event something should happen to you, if the valuables are very well hidden, it is likely they will remain hidden from your executors as well.
  9. Be careful when storing valuables in items that could be easily thrown away.

Each owner, of valuables, must decide how best to protect them. Following are some alternatives.

Hollow floor valuables hiding location

Figure 2 - Hollow floor valuables hiding location

Dummy heating grate

Figure 3 - Dummy forced air heating grate

Do-It-Yourself Alternatives:

  1. Hollow Floor:
  2. A floor, unless it is poured concrete, is made up of floor joists, a sub-floor and a finished flooring material. This creates a hollow space.

    To create an in-floor hiding place, choose a closet and cut out a section of floor overlapping floor joists. Use as thin a blade as possible, to avoid having large noticeable gaps in the floor boards.

    If you have forced air heating, a similar in-floor hiding place can be created by adding a dummy floor heating grate or register, as shown in Figure 3. It should be the same style as the rest of the rooms heating grates and be located so that it does not look out of place. Heating grates are easily removed and replaced.

    It should be noted that in-floor valuable storage alternatives will provide some protection against theft, but will not provide any protection from fire.