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15 Important Items Worth Storing In A Fireproof Safe

Last week we met up with our financial advisor to review our retirement plan and life insurance policies and got more than we bargained for.

It was there that we began talking about what documents we should keep in a fireproof safe at home.

Yes, another thing to consider as a renter, homeowner and even handy for students, but worth every dollar.

The conversation went from ensuring that our life insurance policies were stored safely in the event of a fire or loss that we ventured onto the topic of other items and valuables to stash away.

15 items worth storing in a fireproof safe

When my father-in-law passed away last year he had a fireproof safe in the home, however there was nothing in it and still in the original box.

I’m sure the idea was to store important valuables and documents inside but the task was pushed aside due to health reasons so it never was completed.

Literally the next day we had to hunt through garbage bags and drawers full of letters, documents and paperwork that my mother-in-law had stored away over the years.

Her organizational skills were horrible although at least she kept the stuff and didn’t throw it all out. My father-in-law was no better with piles of medical documents and other important information sitting in a box on the top of his dresser.

Finally, we found both their wills and the house and property information along with the ownership to their vehicle with banking information.

We honestly thought we were going to be in big trouble if we hadn’t found this information so we got lucky.

Since we ended up with all of the important documents and valuables from their home at our home we took the fireproof safe with us.

Inside of it you will find everything that is needed for my mother-in-law who is no longer able to take care of her finances in the event they are called on.

We also have both of their jewellery stored in the fireproof safe after locating it in his bedroom at the bottom of a garbage bag ready to be donated.

Unfortunately Mrs. CBB’s mother lost her wedding ring to a theft when she hosted a highschool party that got out of hand and the police had to get involved to close it down.

I’m not saying that your child will do the same but you never know who is going to come into your house or what WILL happen when you go away.

Even the best mannered children have gotten into some dangerous situations that their parents never dreamed their child would be a part of.

Choosing the right fireproof safe

The fireproof safe that we have is only small so it doesn’t hold any of our own important documents and valuables so we went shopping for one.

What we learned was that there are MANY types of fireproof and waterproof safes on the market and ideally you’d want one that has both fire and water protection.

You can buy something small or go big to store everything and anything from keepsakes to valuables to your most important documents.

We’d like to find something with the longest fire endurance time that is fireproof, waterproof and not too big.

Below are a few fireproof safe suggestions that I researched that you might be interested in.

The executive fire-safe seems to be big enough for us and certainly the price is worth it considering what we will be storing in it.

It really boils down to personal preference when buying a fireproof safe so write down what you want from your safe and consider what will be stored in it.

  1. Serene Life Fireproof, Waterproof Safe
  2. Sentry Fireproof Waterproof Chest
  3. Sentry Safe 1.23 cubic feet combination Fire-Safe Advance fire-protection- UL Classified for fire endurance ( 1 hour at 1700 f/927 C )
  4. Honeywell Moulded Fire-Safe Water Chest 30 minute fire protection for up to 1550F /843C
  5. Sentry Executive Fire Safe 4.7 cubic feet

executive fireproof safeSentry Safe Executive Fire-Safe is the optimal security safe that also provides fire and water protection. Your records and valuables will be safeguarded and organized with the thicker door, 9 oversized locking bolts ( 30 mm) , multi-position shelves and carpeted interior.

This executive safe has a standard fire protection-ETL verified for fire endurance ( 30-minutes at 1400 F ) to protect documents, records and valuables stored inside from fire damage.

This unit is also ETL Verified water-resistant for 12-Inch of water for 72 hours.

We have yet to buy one however we are contemplating buying a large safe that we can store in the basement or cold room for our family.

Keep in mind that not all fireproof safes can withstand fire for too long which means you also risk losing the contents of what’s inside the safe.

Some homeowners go as far as to install a fireproof safe inside the wall to keep it off the ground and safe from would-be thieves.

That’s another thing to consider as well. If a thief were to break in even if they don’t have the key or security code for your safe if it is easy to carry they WILL walk out the door with it.

That was the explanation my brother-in-law gave me when I asked him about the fireproof safe he built into his house. It wasn’t big but it held his spare cash and anything that was valuable to him.

The wheels start turning when you are aware of things such as a fireproof safe that isn’t widely talked about. It’s sort of like starting a budget, preparing a will, life insurance, rental insurance or sorting your end of life arrangements.

No one really thinks about it unless it’s something that you have to deal with in the moment because something has happened.

We have to change this mindset in order to better prepare ourselves for the unknown.

We probably wouldn’t have considered a fireproof safe had my father-in-law passed away, my brother-in-law has one and our financial advisor suggested it.

Moving forward the plan is for Mrs. CBB and I to discuss the documents we put in our fireproof safe once we buy it and perhaps looking into a secondary place such as a bank.

What Should You Store In A Fireproof Safe?

You can keep whatever your heart desires in a fireproof safe but for the sake of importance I want to go over must-keep documents that you will want to consider.

Just remember what you store away has a higher probability of surviving a fire, theft, flood or other acts of nature if it is protected rather than sitting in a drawer or box.

Passport

Your passport is not only identification but your ticket in and out of the country so it’s a valuable you will want to lock up.

Permanent Resident Card

As a permanent resident card holder I don’t really need to carry it around with me and I most certainly don’t want to go through the process of getting a replacement card if I don’t have too.

Birth Certificate or other Certificates

We have a birth certificates and passports for the entire family which will go in a safe because keeping them in a drawer just isn’t cutting it.

My wife and son also have baptism certificates and long-form government documents for birth and baptism that will get stored.

Finally our marriage certificate will be part of this section.

Insurance and Investment Documents

As we discussed with our financial advisor it’s a smart idea to keep all insurance and investment documents locked up.

He also suggested that we let the person know named on our WILL that would take over our affairs in the event we both die at the same time.

House and Real Estate Documents

Some of the more common house and real estate documents you may want to put in your safe are:

  • Deed to your house and property survey
  • Business information and documentation
  • Mortgage documents
  • Vehicle ownership documents
  • Banking information to your savings and other bank accounts
  • Assets and Debts
  • Credit card information

The idea here is to keep information handy for someone having to take over your life if you were gone or unable to care for yourself.

Legal Wills

This is a BIG one because if your WILL gets lost then the process to get one from the courts may take some time.

It’s also advisable to make sure that your lawyer keeps a copy of your WILL in their fireproof safe and to let whoever needs to know where to find the WILL and Lawyer.

Spare Keys

You never know when you will need that spare set of keys to your house or vehicle so it’s a smart idea to store a set in your safe.

On the outside of our house we also have a Master Lock 5401D wall mounted lock box which has come in SO handy over the past 10 years and I highly recommend owning one.

We even gave our family one each for Christmas one year and they loved it. No more storing a spare key under the front door mat or flower pot.

Emergency Cash

I think just about everyone who considers owning a safe will put some form of spare cash in the event of an emergency.

House photos

This is a great idea especially if you need to prove to your insurance company that you had an item which has been stolen or lost in a fire, flood or other acts of nature.

I’d also suggest to keep any important receipts for big ticket or valuable items in your fireproof safe as well.

Family photos

You can never get family photos back unless you have the negatives or the USB or other digital storage it came on.

Do yourself a favour and back it all up and put away for safe keeping.

We have 2 small boxes of my wife’s family photos that we brought to our house. There are no negatives so if they burn or get stolen they are lost forever.

Memories are so important so protect them.

Jewellery and Valuables

If you don’t want to store your valuables in a bank vault you can keep them in your fireproof safe at home.

Anything from wedding rings to jewellery handed down through the generations.

Perhaps you have an item that is worth big bucks which is not jewellery but valuable, put it in your fireproof safe.

Password Managers and Personal Information

If you want to keep your passwords for just about everything online you can store it on a piece of paper or an a stick so you always have access to it.

Alternatively there are many Password Manager apps that allow you to store passwords and usernames although it’s important that the people who will look after your affairs when you are gone know how to find or get access to this information.

Some of the top password storage apps for 2019 are simple to use and affordable or free such as Dashlane, Sticky password, Robo Form, Keeper and Password Safe.

You may also want to consider keeping a copy of your social insurance number, health card and driver’s licence.

Renting a Safe Deposit Box in Canada

Finally, if you aren’t comfortable leaving any of the above in a home fireproof safe then consider keeping original copies in a bank safe deposit box and backup at home.

Over at Royal Bank for example they offer customers a safe deposit box for what I would consider a reasonable price.

Safe Deposit Box rentals range from $60 to $500 annually plus applicable taxes. However, depending on your banking account, this service may be available to you at no additional charge or at a discount.

If you’re looking for a way to protect your valuable documents and small items, consider keeping them in a safe deposit box that’s securely stored inside the vault at your local RBC Royal Bank® branch.

Safe Deposit Box rentals range from $60 to $500 annually plus applicable taxes. However, depending on your banking account, this service may be available to you at no additional charge or at a discount.

Table caption
Box Size Annual Fee as of June 1, 2018
Small $60
Medium $90
Medium/Large $200
Large $350
Extra Large $500

GST/QST/HST will be added to these prices.

A bank safe deposit box is worth the investment especially for important documents and valuables that are hard to replace or you need easy access too.

Whether you choose to own a fireproof safe, safe deposit box or nothing at all just consider what your life will be like it were gone.

Discussion: What do you keep in your home fireproof safe? Leave me a comment below as I enjoy reading your feedback and learning from my readers.

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4 Comments

  1. I bought a fire proof waterproof safe a few years ago. I want to be organized. Suggestion: keep your spare key outside of your residence (ie. at another location with people you trust) in case you lose one!

    1. That’s a great idea!! We have ours on the wall in a lock box and love it. It was about $40 for the box and that way we don’t have to worry about losing or having to give our son a key when he gets old enough to walk to school alone. It came in handy when we had international students as well.

  2. This is a great article. I have been neglecting this topic, but at 59 years it’s time to get this import organizing done for the family we leave behind. I will rent a small safety deposit box at the bank to start!
    Thanks!

  3. I don’t keep any valuables in our home! There’s no big ticket items here… LOL Would be thieves will find it wasn’t worth the time, effort or risk if they break in here. 🙂 I mean really…who wants our stuff that was bought 50 years ago?

    Our wills, medical directives and P.A’s are in the fireproof safe at our lawyers office & we registered them with the province as to the date and location of each. In times of stress and grief, people forget what you told them about where they could locate them.

    I keep all of our other valuables in bank safety deposit boxes. I have a digital copy of the contents of each safety deposit box in my computer records. Since the listing of a box costs money, an up-to-date record of each of the box’s contents & that should keep the costs to a minimum as well as provide the executor with an advance glimpse of what to expect to find in each box.

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