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As high street banks continue to reduce the availability of safety deposit boxes in their branches, consumers are left with few options for storing high value items. With few options available, the public are increasingly left wondering where they can access safety deposit boxes, and what is the best place to store valuables if your bank refuses to handle them. Our security experts explain what happened to safety deposit schemes, and what your options are for protecting valuables as these services become even rarer.

Barclay’s Bank requested that users remove their valuables in 2013, moving to a documents-only service – however there are restrictions around the documents people are allowed to store. Meanwhile, Natwest offers an automated safety deposit scheme, but this is currently only available at their Leicester branch. HSBC has also recently sent out reminder letters to its customers who still may have safe keeping items in need of collection.

The official statement from Barclay’s is that the service had become too complex and costly to maintain. Natwest’s automation of their safe deposit scheme may be an attempt to address this, however it appears that the scale of high street banks makes the number of boxes required difficult to sustain.

This is where smaller companies, with a limited presence in the UK, have entered the market. However with off-site storage becoming scarce, and the Hatton Garden raid reminding users that these facilities can still fail, safes and home security solutions continue to grow in popularity.

So where can customers securely store their belongings now? A safety deposit scheme remains available at a variety of independent companies, and some smaller banks. If you use these services, it remains important to notify your insurer. To insure an item in a safety deposit box customers should:

  • Notify your insurer, they will advise if they need to be independently added to your personal possessions policy.
  • Retain all receipts, valuations, and certificates of authenticity.
  • Keep photographs of the item showing its appearance and condition clearly.
  • Notify your insurer if you wish to remove the item for a period of time, to ensure they are covered for this period.

For items that may be required more frequently, storing valuables at home in a high quality safe remains a valid option.

Insurers must still be notified of any high value items, but for items like property deeds and legal documents, a fireproof safe should be sufficient. For digital and analogue media, different levels of protection are required, so make sure your chosen safe is suitable for storing your items.

Make sure that your safe is secured to the wall or floor for safety, and provides an appropriate level of insurance protection for your valuables. If you need any assistance in selecting or installing a fireproof safe, then contact our expert staff and we’ll be more than happy to help.

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