Halfway between a ring and a thump, there is something entirely satisfying about the sound of a safe door closing solidly. It sounds secure. It makes you feel protected too, but is that a mere illusion? I have been beefing up my home security lately, and I wanted to know what some of my options are for protecting our vital papers. So do you need a fireproof safe? It can be safe to say that yes, it is time. Protecting your important items could mean the difference of losing everything during a fire, and being able to rebuild. Of course, not letting them get into a bad situation is always the best answer, but crossing your fingers is just as a gamble as betting all of your important It made me wonder if I need to upgrade to a fireproof safe.
Do You Need a Fireproof Safe?
In addition to peace of mind and the incredibly obvious ability to secure documents, there are some additional benefits.
· The insurance premium goes down.
· You save money in the long run by not needing to rent a safe deposit box or other secure storage for your valuables.
· Finally, limited access means increased security.
Lower insurance rates if you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for your homeowners’ insurance, there are a handful of things you can do that give you double benefits. They give a direct benefit with added security, but they also save you money with an insurance company.
A safer home is less likely to have problems insurance has to pay for. It’s a win-win, which does not happen often in the insurance world. Below are some ways to keep your home safe;
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors.
You might think every home has these, or perhaps you don’t see the need. Regardless, your insurance adjuster is going to look for them. Carbon Monoxide detectors are most important if you have a fuel-burning source in your home, like a fireplace or gas stove. However, even an attached garage can pose a threat to air quality and health. Smoke detectors detect smoke and fire.
Fire Extinguishers and Sprinklers System
The ability to detect fire is great. Also getting to safety or getting the fire put out is just vital. A sprinkler system can put out a fire, but having manual extinguishers on hand is vital as well. Most homes need 1-3 fire extinguishers, depending on size. One in the kitchen, on each floor and near the exits to the home is a good start.
Deadbolt and Home Security System
Anything that deters burglars is beneficial. Security systems are typically installed by professionals, but you can DIY your deadbolts. Use extra-long screws for any door locks or handles to help secure them deeper into the wood of the door frame surfaces.
Storm Shutters and Roof Reinforcements
Weatherproofing will go a long way toward keeping you safe. Protect your loved ones and your property from storms. Reinforcing the roof is a huge job for one person. Alternatively, storm shutters are something you can tackle on your own. The style of your home and the level of risk should help you determine what kind of storm shutters are best.
Generators and Updated Plumbing or Electrical System
Keeping things like your circuit breakers and toilet pipes updated can save you a lot of money. Insurance agents hate paying out for these things. You might not even get compensation for a problem if they decide you didn’t do your part. Moreover, a generator is good for more than a blackout. Not only will you always have power, but you get added a bonus of lower insurance rates.
Fire and Waterproof Safe
Some insurance companies will give you a discount for storing things in a safe deposit but they aren’t ideal. It’s hard to get things and you have to go during regular banking hours. Fortunately, you can get the same deal if you install a safe.
A fire and waterproof safe is something your insurance company will be especially happy to see in your home. Owning one reduces the risk that you’ll suffer losses of your most valuable property. In addition, knowing your documents are safe means that in the event of a disaster, neither you nor the insurance company has to wait to process paperwork because you won’t have to replace Identification and copies of your policies. My personal recommendation for those needing a highly rated and relatively affordable fireproof and waterproof safe can be found here.
Fireproof Safe Ratings? What Do They Mean?
Safes have various ratings and features to consider. The type of lock is an example. You can get a keyed lock, though it’s rare, more likely your safe will come with either a combination lock or a keypad. Safes have time-based ratings as well. Many come with 30 minutes, 1, 2 or 3-hour ratings. This indicates how long the safe should stay at the promised internal temperature.
Underwriters Laboratories has been independently testing products for about a century. If your safe is UL rated, it means this company did the testing. They will heat the safe and even drop it from various heights to make sure it doesn’t open or break. AUL 1 rating means your safe can stand 1700 degrees for an hour and maintain the promised internal temperature. A TL rating is found on combination (aka dial) safes. These safes resist cutting, mechanical tools, hand tools and attempts to pick them. Some TL rated safes will also resist torches. The ratings will determine how resilient the safe is. Safes rated B or C have thinner walls and doors. They all have locks, but these safes aren’t likely to stand up to much abuse.
What are Fireproof Safes Made from?
Fireproof safes are manufactured to withstand temperatures as hot as 1400-1700 degrees. This is more than hot enough to melt softer metals like tin and aluminum. A typical home fire burns for about 20 minutes and never reaches over 700 degrees. However, a lot of things can affect fires. Where the safe is located and what is around it can easily change the duration and intensity of the burn. While safes can be made of materials like steel, fireproof safes usually are not. Perlite and vermiculite are the materials of choice for keeping your important materials cool. These substances don’t conduct heat well, so they stay cool inside even when the exterior is in ablaze. Schwab Corporation safes also use a patented material called insulitis.
Storing Things in a Fireproof Safe
Deciding what to store inside and how to store it is a much-debated subject. A typical safe that can maintain an internal temperature of 350 degrees work for papers. You can certainly store more durable items like jewelry inside to prevent theft. Unfortunately, these temperatures won’t keep your media safe. In order to keep things like thumb drives, CDs and DVDs safe from a fire you need a cooler environment. Anything delicate enough that it needs to be stored at ‘room temperature, is probably not going to be the same after a fire. Without sufficient protection, your vital data backups could be gone forever. You can get a safe capable of keeping an internal temperature of 125 degrees. At 150, this digital media may be lost.
Other Items to Store in Your Safe Bank are; Information Keys to a Safe Deposit Box, stock certificates, vital records, like birth certificates and passports, Estate Planning Documents and Wills, Insurance Policies, cash, and jewelry. In order to get the Right Fireproof Safe Before you can get that nice rate drop on your insurance, you need to do some research. Your papers won’t be safe if they don’t all fit inside the safe you choose. Deciding whether to buy the safe that does it all or focus on just the threat of fire is important. Think about where you’ll put the safe, what it should do and who will be able to get inside.
First, you’ll need to know how much space you need to store your valuables. I suggest getting several moving boxes and placing everything inside them as you work your way down to the smallest. Once you know how small box things fit in, calculating how much space is inside is easy enough. Multiply the length, depth, and width together to get the cubic size. This will tell you how much space you need inside your safe. Next, decide, either you need a burglar-proof safe.
If you’re more concerned about fire, you can opt for a dedicated fireproof safe. It won’t do as well against thieves, but it will keep your property out of the heat. Many fireproof safes are also waterproof. Lastly, consider the location. Where you put the safe can affect what features you need. Safes inside bedrooms, especially the master suite, are most likely to be found by burglars. Alternatively, basements typically have less to burn in a fire, but they may be at risk for flood damage. Make sure you consider everything when choosing the right safe for your needs.
When it comes to essentials, everyone has different needs. If you plan to have your important papers and property survive a fire then you need a fireproof safe. It’s likely that many of us will face a serious threat of fire in our lifetimes. If you live someplace hot and dry like California you almost certainly will. A good fireproof safe may save you a lot of trouble. It could even save your life if the documents and other items inside it can help you out of a bind.