Things You’ll Regret Keeping in a Safe Deposit Box

Locking away certain valuables and important documents in a bank vault could turn into a headache for you or your heirs.

Empty Safe Deposit Box
(Image credit: Getty Images)

In this digital world, almost anything that matters is stored virtually in the cloud. To that end, a physical safe deposit box might seem like a relic of the bricks-and-mortar (and high-strength steel) past. However, don’t write off the value of keeping certain valuables securely tucked away in your bank’s vault (That is, if your existing bank has a safe deposit box vault — many are being eliminated.)

Some examples of things you can and should keep in a safe deposit box include prized possessions such as collectible baseball cards or jewelry inherited from a relative. A safe deposit box can also offer critical protection for important documents.

But a safe deposit box isn’t a wise choice for many things. There are items you might come to regret locking away in your bank, which isn’t open nights, holidays or perhaps even weekends.

Access to your safe deposit box could be even more limited during emergencies, including natural disasters (which could even threaten the bank and box itself, depending on where you live). The coronavirus pandemic, too, reduced operating hours for some bank branches, and limited access or required appointments for in-branch services, such as access to safe deposit boxes. Such circumstances complicate your ability to retrieve important documents or items when you need them — the answer is to create a financial plan for natural disasters beforehand.

Experts recommend storing important items that you need to access more frequently or on short notice in a fireproof home safe that’s bolted to the floor. But what are those items? Read on for our list of safe deposit box no-nos.

Bob Niedt

Bob was Senior Editor at for seven years and is now a contributor to the website. He has more than 40 years of experience in online, print and visual journalism. Bob has worked as an award-winning writer and editor in the Washington, D.C., market as well as at news organizations in New York, Michigan and California. Bob joined Kiplinger in 2016, bringing a wealth of expertise covering retail, entertainment, and money-saving trends and topics. He was one of the first journalists at a daily news organization to aggressively cover retail as a specialty and has been lauded in the retail industry for his expertise. Bob has also been an adjunct and associate professor of print, online and visual journalism at Syracuse University and Ithaca College. He has a master’s degree from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a bachelor’s degree in communications and theater from Hope College.