The Case for Purchasing a Security Safe for Your Valuables

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The Case for Purchasing a Security Safe for Your Valuables

Lisa Bernstein · Oct 21, 2009

A security safe can save you a lot of frustration and disappointment when used properly. Before making it part of your overall apartment safety plan, learn about the benefits and risks of using a safe.

Why You Need a Security Safe

Your situation will determine whether you’ll benefit from a security safe. First, determine the number of valuables you own and which of them will fit into a safe. Items you may want to keep in a safe include electronics, jewelry, collectibles, family heirlooms and your laptop.
 
Second, consider the consequences of losing important documents, such as a copy of your lease or other legal documents, by theft or fire. How would you protect your rights without evidence of the contracts you entered into?

Third, think about who has access to your apartment. If you have roommates, they and their visitors may be in your apartment in your absence. Theft by a roommate or guest is harder to prove than if a burglar broke into your apartment.

Finally, understand the odds of a burglary in your building. By checking local crime statistics, estimate the vulnerability of your neighborhood. Check your building’s security, because it also plays a role in the likelihood of an apartment burglary.

Security Safe Types

Your choice consists of two main types of security safe: fire resistant and non-fire resistant. The former are more versatile and probably better suited for apartment dwellers. Fires are often started in apartment buildings by your neighbors’ actions, giving you less control over fire safety than in a house.

Various safe models offer key locks, combination locks or both. Usually, the more expensive the model, the more likely it is to have two lock types, and higher quality locks.

Most security safes can be floor or wall mounted for added security. Others can be hidden in a drawer (mounted or freestanding).

Determining Your Needs

After deciding whether fire resistance is important to you, consider space requirements and what you’re planning to put into the safe. Ask your landlord for permission to bolt the safe to the floor or wall. Walls are generally easier to repair, so you may have better luck getting permission for wall mounting. Mounted safes are better for burglary, but unmounted fire resistant safes offer some protection, in the event of a fire.

Pros and Cons of Using a Security Safe

With a safe it’s less likely that your valuables will be stolen in a burglary. Your important documents may also be protected in a fire and valuables can be kept away from your roommates.

On the downside, a security safe will not deter all burglars, as unmounted safes are removable. Your safe’s locks can be picked and its fire rating may not be adequate for certain types of  fires. A safe may give you a false sense of security by making you think that it provides more protection than it does.

Always have a backup plan. Carry renter’s insurance and keep copies of important documents at another location. Whenever considering safety, look at the big picture and use multiple approaches to protect yourself and your valuables.

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Lisa Bernstein: As a long-time apartment dweller and seasoned condominium trustee, I have dealt with numerous landlord-tenant, property management, and day-to-day apartment complex issues. My extensive, direct experience has led to invaluable insights into apartment life from both the tenant and management perspectives.

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