When disaster strikes your home, the recovery process can be overwhelming. That process can be made even more overwhelming if important documents and irreplaceable valuables have been lost in a fire or flood. That’s why it’s crucial to have a fireproof safe or lock box and know what’s most important to store inside of it.

Fireproof safe

12 Things You Should Keep Stored in Your Fireproof Safe or Lock Box:

1. Any home insurance policy information, along with your insurance agent’s contact information

You’ll need this information immediately after a home disaster so that you can file a claim and find out what your insurance covers.

2. Your home’s closing paperwork

You should hold on to the originals of your home’s closing paperwork and store them safely. They may be needed when filing a claim.

3. Home value documentation

If you have anything that documents the value of your home, such as invoices from any major improvements like new roofing or windows, keep them safe. They will help make sure your home’s full value is documented so you get the insurance coverage you need.

P.S. You should always notify your insurance company when you make significant improvements that increase the value of your home. Otherwise, you may be underinsured in the event of a home disaster. Find out how you can avoid being underinsured here.

4. You and your family’s birth certificates, passports, and social security cards

These can be a hassle to get replaced, and that’s the last thing you want on your plate when recovering from a home disaster.

5. Legal documents

Wills, health care proxies, powers of attorney, and any other important legal documents should be protected, especially because they were created to protect you and your family!

6. Important papers related to your investments, retirement plans, taxes, and bank accounts

Keeping these documents safe allows you to always have your finger on the pulse of your finances, even in the midst of a home disaster.

7. Extra cash

It’s a great idea to keep a stash of emergency cash safely locked away. You never know when you might need it.

8. Spare keys

You should keep a spare of every key you have in your fireproof safe or lock box. These might include keys to your house, vehicles, office building, cabin, or garage.

9. Valuables

Any irreplaceable jewelry or precious keepsakes that you don’t need to access every day should be stored where they can be protected from potential damage.

10. Property deeds and vehicle titles

You always want to be able to prove what’s yours! Additionally, you may need the original deed for your home when filing an insurance claim.

11. A list of your family’s doctors, medications, and pharmacy contact information

Keeping this information safe will help you get new medications as quickly as possible if they are lost in a home disaster. You don’t want to have to go without them for long, especially if you’re required to take them daily.

12. Hard drives of family photos

You’d hate to lose your most precious family photos in a fire or flood, so it’s a great idea to store digital copies on a hard drive and keep that hard drive in your safe or lock box. 

Why Not a Bank Safe Deposit Box?

A fireproof safe or lock box is preferable to a safe deposit box at the bank for many reasons. For example, you will have quicker and easier access to your valuables and important documents. You may need some of these items at a moment’s notice. Additionally, in the unfortunate case that a family member passes away, the bank will seal their safe deposit box upon receiving a death notice. To access that box, you may first have to obtain legal papers and provide them to the bank.

What if I Don’t Have a Fireproof Safe?

Until you’re able to buy a fireproof safe or lock box, storing important items in a freezer may be a temporary solution. Why? Because freezers are often able to survive house fires. But beware that a freezer is not nearly as secure as a safe or lock box, so we don’t recommend it as a long-term solution for storing your valuables. For now, however, you can simply put important items in a sealed plastic bag and find a spot for them in your freezer until you get a fireproof safe.

Worth the Investment

A fireproof safe or lock box can come with a big price tag, but protecting your important documents and irreplaceable keepsakes will be well worth the investment. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!