Open main menu
Safe deposit boxes inside a Swiss bank.
Safe deposit vault after the 2011 Joplin tornado.

A safe deposit box, also known as a safety deposit box,[1][2] is an individually secured container, usually held within a larger safe or bank vault. Safe deposit boxes are generally located in banks, post offices or other institutions. Safe deposit boxes are used to store valuable possessions, such as gemstones, precious metals, currency, marketable securities, luxury goods, important documents (e.g. wills, property deeds, or birth certificates), or computer data, which need protection from theft, fire, flood, tampering, or other perils. In the United States, neither banks nor the FDIC insure the contents. An individual can purchase insurance for the safe deposit box in order to cover e.g. theft, fire, flooding or terrorist attacks.

Many hotels, resorts and cruise ships also offer safe deposit boxes or small safes to their patrons, for temporary use during their stay.[3] These facilities may be located behind the reception desk, or securely anchored within private guest rooms for privacy.

The contents of safe deposit boxes may be seized under the legal theory of abandoned property.[4] They also may be searched and seized by the order of a court through the issuance of search warrant.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Roseman, Ellen (September 20, 2016). "When BMO branch moved his safety deposit box was opened: Roseman". The Star. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  2. ^ "Safe Deposit Box or Safety Deposit Box?". Straight Dope. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  3. ^ Payne, Kirby D. Safety Deposit Boxes and In-Room Safes. Hotel Online data base of News and Trends.
  4. ^ Liz Pulliam Weston. "Why treasures in safe deposit boxes get 'lost'". MSN Money.
  5. ^ "Search Warrants" (PDF). American Safe Deposit.