NYT Article: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

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harrad
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Bank Safe Deposit boxes

Post by harrad » Fri Jul 19, 2019 9:38 am

This NYT article got me thinking about Bank Safe Deposit boxes. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/19/busi ... theft.html

From the article it looks like the safe deposit boxes have very few protections in case things go missing. Is it possible to buy insurance products to cover such loses?

mhalley
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Re: Bank Safe Deposit boxes

Post by mhalley » Fri Jul 19, 2019 9:45 am

You can add a rider to your homeowners or renters insurance.

https://www.jonathanpond.com/safedepositinsurance

wolf359
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NYT Article: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by wolf359 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 12:52 pm

[Thread merged into here, see below. --admin LadyGeek]

Has anybody read the NY Times article "Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe?" https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/19/busi ... theft.html
Edit: If you've used up your free read articles at NYT, you can also access the article at https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/persona ... ar-AAEyX56

I had always considered them to be better security than a fire-proof safe at home.

I was particularly surprised to learn from the article about the lack of liability and regulation that banks have regarding safe deposit boxes. I was aware that general personal finance advice says that you shouldn't keep things in a safe deposit box that you may need to access in a fast manner (like cash, a passport) or that someone needs to access after your death or if you're disabled (original copies of wills, powers of attorney, advanced health care directives).

But this article implies that you shouldn't put anything of value in them. FDIC insurance and bank insurance policies don't cover anything in the safe deposit boxes. Bank contracts (vary) may limit their liability, with the ability to change terms years after you first sign the agreement.

Should safe deposit boxes be avoided? What are viable alternatives? If you use one, what do you use it for? Does this article change anything?
Last edited by wolf359 on Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.

barnaclebob
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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by barnaclebob » Fri Jul 19, 2019 12:56 pm

I'm with the banks that they shouldn't be liable for anything that happens while the customer has a key. But as soon as the bank open a box because the customer hasn't paid they need to be held liable for anything that disappears, especially if they don't follow applicable laws.

I wonder if any bank has some kind of "medallion signature guarantee" version of a safe deposit box where a bank employee verifies the content every time the box is opened and closed, the content list is signed and notarized etc. If you are storing 6 figures+ in a safe deposit box it might be worth higher fees and inconvenience for that.

Another takeaway would be to distribute anything physical of extreme value across a few different banks.
Last edited by barnaclebob on Fri Jul 19, 2019 12:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Nowizard
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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by Nowizard » Fri Jul 19, 2019 12:57 pm

Not a concern at all. Who has heard of items in a safe deposit box being compromised? What are the chances of it happening there as opposed to whatever alternative place such items were stored? There are ways to deal with the issue of access if the box holder dies.

Tim

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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by barnaclebob » Fri Jul 19, 2019 12:58 pm

Nowizard wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 12:57 pm
Not a concern at all. Who has heard of items in a safe deposit box being compromised? What are the chances of it happening there as opposed to whatever alternative place such items were stored? There are ways to deal with the issue of access if the box holder dies.

Tim
So you didn't read the article then.

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walkabout
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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by walkabout » Fri Jul 19, 2019 12:58 pm

In addition to the general lack of consumer protections re safe deposit boxes, I was most surprised/concerned with the example of the bank that had two boxes with the same number. Apparently the bank acquired another bank and moved the acquired boxes to an existing vault so there were a number of boxes with the same number. One of the customers was delinquent in his box payments, so his box was opened and all belongings were removed. Unfortunately, they opened and removed belongings from the wrong box (ie the box of a non-delinquent customer). The customer was able to get most of his belongings back, but not all.

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dm200
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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by dm200 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 12:59 pm

Not a concern at all. Who has heard of items in a safe deposit box being compromised? What are the chances of it happening there as opposed to whatever alternative place such items were stored? There are ways to deal with the issue of access if the box holder dies

The safe deposit boxes in bank(s) in the World Trade Center towers on 9/11

Nowizard
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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by Nowizard » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:01 pm

Sure, there are occasions, but there is risk with virtually all things financial or asset related. This one is of no concern, though it may be to others. Sounds like about as likely to occur as a shark bite.

Tim

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JoeRetire
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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by JoeRetire » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:02 pm

wolf359 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 12:52 pm
I had always considered them to be better security than a fire-proof safe at home.
They are.

"Better" doesn't mean perfect.
Very Stable Genius

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willthrill81
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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by willthrill81 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:04 pm

Like any option out there, there is risk with a safe deposit box. I and most others view that risk as being very small, but it is not zero. I cannot imagine why the man in the article held over $10 million worth of items in one; there are surely better options for storing such expensive items.

OTOH, I think that a very well hidden floor safe (i.e. encased in concrete) is about as secure as a safe deposit box. They are so rarely used that a virtually no thief would never even think to look for one, and even if it was found, breaking into a good one requires an acetylene torch and/or a jackhammer.
Last edited by willthrill81 on Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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DaftInvestor
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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by DaftInvestor » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:05 pm

NYT absolutely LOVES to spread FUD through their reporting. It sells papers and provides click-bait to get you to get to their site.
Statistically how often are safety deposit boxes harmed? I didn't read the full article and bet it doesn't say (I skimmed through it and it seems they are telling some personal stories of devastating loss to put FEAR into you - but don't tell you the chances of it happening to you are almost zero). Instead of reporting the actually chance of loss - they found one or two really scary stories to put some fear in you.
I would bet you have a 0.00001% chance of loss.

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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by willthrill81 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:07 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:05 pm
NYT absolutely LOVES to spread FUD through their reporting. It sells papers and provides click-bait to get you to get to their site.
Statistically how often are safety deposit boxes harmed? I didn't read the full article and bet it doesn't say (I skimmed through it and it seems they are telling some personal stories of devastating loss to put FEAR into you - but don't tell you the chances of it happening to you are almost zero). Instead of reporting the actually chance of loss - they found one or two really scary stories to put some fear in you.
I would bet you have a 0.00001% chance of loss.
The single story relayed in the article is only the second one I've ever heard of where someone lost the contents of a safe deposit box. The other involved a flood that completely destroyed the facility where the safe deposit box was held. You're far more likely to get hit by lightning than have your safe deposit box compromised.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by DaftInvestor » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:09 pm

I love the title "Safe Deposit Boxes Aren’t Safe". As compared to what? LoL!

I guess I could also say "Walking outside isn't safe!". I could get struck by lightening or robbed. I've got some stories I can share!
Driving isn't safe; storing valuables in your home isn't safe; taking a shower isn't safe; going to bed isn't safe; etc. (Maybe I should be a NYT Journalist! - I can come up with a million of these!).

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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by barnaclebob » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:15 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:09 pm
I love the title "Safe Deposit Boxes Aren’t Safe". As compared to what? LoL!

I guess I could also say "Walking outside isn't safe!". I could get struck by lightening or robbed. I've got some stories I can share!
Driving isn't safe; storing valuables in your home isn't safe; taking a shower isn't safe; going to bed isn't safe; etc. (Maybe I should be a NYT Journalist! - I can come up with a million of these!).
The title of the article is overly dramatic with its title but its good to expose the incompetence of any company, especially when they violate laws.

DaftInvestor
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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by DaftInvestor » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:17 pm

willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:07 pm
DaftInvestor wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:05 pm
NYT absolutely LOVES to spread FUD through their reporting. It sells papers and provides click-bait to get you to get to their site.
Statistically how often are safety deposit boxes harmed? I didn't read the full article and bet it doesn't say (I skimmed through it and it seems they are telling some personal stories of devastating loss to put FEAR into you - but don't tell you the chances of it happening to you are almost zero). Instead of reporting the actually chance of loss - they found one or two really scary stories to put some fear in you.
I would bet you have a 0.00001% chance of loss.
The single story relayed in the article is only the second one I've ever heard of where someone lost the contents of a safe deposit box. The other involved a flood that completely destroyed the facility where the safe deposit box was held. You're far more likely to get hit by lightning than have your safe deposit box compromised.
Funny - I didn't read your post before I hit submit on mine - I was thinking of lightening chances at the same time.

OP: You should have titled this "Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe (according to NYT article)". I don't draw the same conclusion the silly reporter does just based upon one or two stories.

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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by DaftInvestor » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:18 pm

barnaclebob wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:15 pm
DaftInvestor wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:09 pm
I love the title "Safe Deposit Boxes Aren’t Safe". As compared to what? LoL!

I guess I could also say "Walking outside isn't safe!". I could get struck by lightening or robbed. I've got some stories I can share!
Driving isn't safe; storing valuables in your home isn't safe; taking a shower isn't safe; going to bed isn't safe; etc. (Maybe I should be a NYT Journalist! - I can come up with a million of these!).
The title of the article is overly dramatic with its title but its good to expose the incompetence of any company, especially when they violate laws.
Do you think it is responsible journalism though? Is it the conclusion you come to by reading the article?
No wonder folks aren't paying for Newspapers and Magazines anymore - if they aren't responsible I might as well just read free online stuff.
Last edited by DaftInvestor on Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

fru-gal
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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by fru-gal » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:18 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:05 pm
NYT absolutely LOVES to spread FUD through their reporting. It sells papers and provides click-bait to get you to get to their site.
Statistically how often are safety deposit boxes harmed? I didn't read the full article and bet it doesn't say (I skimmed through it and it seems they are telling some personal stories of devastating loss to put FEAR into you - but don't tell you the chances of it happening to you are almost zero). Instead of reporting the actually chance of loss - they found one or two really scary stories to put some fear in you.
I would bet you have a 0.00001% chance of loss.
I read the whole article. Major banks - Wells Fargo, B of A - which have terrible reputations were screwing over customers. I am sure this is a significant possibility and if I were storing expensive items I would not do it in a safe deposit box. Luckily, I don't have any of that stuff :-) I keep paperwork which it would be quite a pain to lose, but just somewhat expensive and time consuming to replace.

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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by willthrill81 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:22 pm

fru-gal wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:18 pm
DaftInvestor wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:05 pm
NYT absolutely LOVES to spread FUD through their reporting. It sells papers and provides click-bait to get you to get to their site.
Statistically how often are safety deposit boxes harmed? I didn't read the full article and bet it doesn't say (I skimmed through it and it seems they are telling some personal stories of devastating loss to put FEAR into you - but don't tell you the chances of it happening to you are almost zero). Instead of reporting the actually chance of loss - they found one or two really scary stories to put some fear in you.
I would bet you have a 0.00001% chance of loss.
I read the whole article. Major banks - Wells Fargo, B of A - which have terrible reputations were screwing over customers. I am sure this is a significant possibility and if I were storing expensive items I would not do it in a safe deposit box. Luckily, I don't have any of that stuff :-) I keep paperwork which it would be quite a pain to lose, but just somewhat expensive and time consuming to replace.
There are better ways to store millions of dollars worth of anything than a safe deposit box, even though the risk of loss is tiny.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

7eight9
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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by 7eight9 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:26 pm

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has pretty stringent protocols to protect the goods in their vault. Of course you have to be a government, central bank or official international organization to store your gold there. :happy
Link --- https://www.newyorkfed.org/aboutthefed/goldvault.html
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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by barnaclebob » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:31 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:18 pm
barnaclebob wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:15 pm
DaftInvestor wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:09 pm
I love the title "Safe Deposit Boxes Aren’t Safe". As compared to what? LoL!

I guess I could also say "Walking outside isn't safe!". I could get struck by lightening or robbed. I've got some stories I can share!
Driving isn't safe; storing valuables in your home isn't safe; taking a shower isn't safe; going to bed isn't safe; etc. (Maybe I should be a NYT Journalist! - I can come up with a million of these!).
The title of the article is overly dramatic with its title but its good to expose the incompetence of any company, especially when they violate laws.
Do you think it is responsible journalism though? Is it the conclusion you come to by reading the article?
No wonder folks aren't paying for Newspapers and Magazines anymore - if they aren't responsible I might as well just read free online stuff.
I think its responsible to alert people to shortcomings of the institutions that they trust. These weren't acts of god but unacceptable and preventable occurrences. Unfortunately this day an age fear sells more than ever hence the title. I drew the conclusion that while the risk of losing your stuff is low, its still not zero and there are ways for the system to fail that I hadn't thought of.

If even one person has lost their retirement savings in an investment account due to the incompetence of the custodian I'd like to read about that too. How many of us truly know what kind of safeguards are in place for the numbers we see on the screens when we login to Vanguard? I know I don't.
Last edited by barnaclebob on Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:36 pm, edited 3 times in total.

DaftInvestor
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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by DaftInvestor » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:34 pm

barnaclebob wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:31 pm
DaftInvestor wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:18 pm
barnaclebob wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:15 pm
DaftInvestor wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:09 pm
I love the title "Safe Deposit Boxes Aren’t Safe". As compared to what? LoL!

I guess I could also say "Walking outside isn't safe!". I could get struck by lightening or robbed. I've got some stories I can share!
Driving isn't safe; storing valuables in your home isn't safe; taking a shower isn't safe; going to bed isn't safe; etc. (Maybe I should be a NYT Journalist! - I can come up with a million of these!).
The title of the article is overly dramatic with its title but its good to expose the incompetence of any company, especially when they violate laws.
Do you think it is responsible journalism though? Is it the conclusion you come to by reading the article?
No wonder folks aren't paying for Newspapers and Magazines anymore - if they aren't responsible I might as well just read free online stuff.
I think its responsible to alert people to shortcomings of the institutions that they trust. Unfortunately this day an age fear sells more than ever hence the title. I drew the conclusion that while the risk of losing your stuff is low, its still not zero and there are ways for the system to fail that I hadn't thought of.

If even one person has lost their retirement savings in an investment account due to the incompetence of the custodian I'd like to read about that too.
Yup - its fine that you find the article interesting and informative - I just find the title irresponsible. A better one would have been "Safety Deposit Box losses aren't guaranteed".
Imagine the article about investment loss due to an incompetent custodian having a title "Your Retirement Investments Aren't Safe". Same idea - perhaps they have done that too.

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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by willthrill81 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:36 pm

barnaclebob wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:31 pm
I think its responsible to alert people to shortcomings of the institutions that they trust. Unfortunately this day an age fear sells more than ever hence the title. I drew the conclusion that while the risk of losing your stuff is low, its still not zero and there are ways for the system to fail that I hadn't thought of.

If even one person has lost their retirement savings in an investment account due to the incompetence of the custodian I'd like to read about that too. How many of us truly know what kind of safeguards are in place for the numbers we see on the screens when we login to Vanguard? I know I don't.
Perhaps it's a philosophical point, but I don't care to read or learn about much of anything that I have no control over. That's why I don't keep up with much current news; only 'bad news' is 'news', and there's nothing I can do about 99.999% of it. As such, I ignore it and stay the course. It's important for us to all keep in mind that bad stuff can happen, despite our best laid plans, but I didn't need this article to tell me that. That's just life on the third rock from the sun and my two cents on the issue.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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Re: NYT Article: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by wolf359 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:40 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:17 pm
willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:07 pm
DaftInvestor wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:05 pm
NYT absolutely LOVES to spread FUD through their reporting. It sells papers and provides click-bait to get you to get to their site.
Statistically how often are safety deposit boxes harmed? I didn't read the full article and bet it doesn't say (I skimmed through it and it seems they are telling some personal stories of devastating loss to put FEAR into you - but don't tell you the chances of it happening to you are almost zero). Instead of reporting the actually chance of loss - they found one or two really scary stories to put some fear in you.
I would bet you have a 0.00001% chance of loss.
The single story relayed in the article is only the second one I've ever heard of where someone lost the contents of a safe deposit box. The other involved a flood that completely destroyed the facility where the safe deposit box was held. You're far more likely to get hit by lightning than have your safe deposit box compromised.
Funny - I didn't read your post before I hit submit on mine - I was thinking of lightening chances at the same time.

OP: You should have titled this "Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe (according to NYT article)". I don't draw the same conclusion the silly reporter does just based upon one or two stories.
I adjusted the title to reflect that it's a NYT article.
Last edited by wolf359 on Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

barnaclebob
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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by barnaclebob » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:41 pm

willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:36 pm
barnaclebob wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:31 pm
I think its responsible to alert people to shortcomings of the institutions that they trust. Unfortunately this day an age fear sells more than ever hence the title. I drew the conclusion that while the risk of losing your stuff is low, its still not zero and there are ways for the system to fail that I hadn't thought of.

If even one person has lost their retirement savings in an investment account due to the incompetence of the custodian I'd like to read about that too. How many of us truly know what kind of safeguards are in place for the numbers we see on the screens when we login to Vanguard? I know I don't.
Perhaps it's a philosophical point, but I don't care to read or learn about much of anything that I have no control over. That's why I don't keep up with much current news; only 'bad news' is 'news', and there's nothing I can do about 99.999% of it. As such, I ignore it and stay the course. It's important for us to all keep in mind that bad stuff can happen, despite our best laid plans, but I didn't need this article to tell me that. That's just life on the third rock from the sun and my two cents on the issue.
I get where you are coming from. Its true that not all knowledge requires action. In my industry, failure is rare and is not acceptable so I enjoy reading about low probability, high consequence events.

Now, how many people who read that article are going to scan the numbers of the boxes on the banks vault the next time they access their box?

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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by wolf359 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:47 pm

willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:07 pm
DaftInvestor wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:05 pm
NYT absolutely LOVES to spread FUD through their reporting. It sells papers and provides click-bait to get you to get to their site.
Statistically how often are safety deposit boxes harmed? I didn't read the full article and bet it doesn't say (I skimmed through it and it seems they are telling some personal stories of devastating loss to put FEAR into you - but don't tell you the chances of it happening to you are almost zero). Instead of reporting the actually chance of loss - they found one or two really scary stories to put some fear in you.
I would bet you have a 0.00001% chance of loss.
The single story relayed in the article is only the second one I've ever heard of where someone lost the contents of a safe deposit box. The other involved a flood that completely destroyed the facility where the safe deposit box was held. You're far more likely to get hit by lightning than have your safe deposit box compromised.
The lesson I think I'm gaining is that highly valuable items should be insured. Securing it in a safe deposit box isn't sufficient by itself.

High impact low probability implies the insurance premiums would be low.
barnaclebob wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 12:56 pm
Another takeaway would be to distribute anything physical of extreme value across a few different banks.
This decreases the chance of losing everything at once, but if one of the banks loses an item, you're still out of luck. A personal property insurance rider is probably the way to go.
Last edited by wolf359 on Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

DaftInvestor
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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by DaftInvestor » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:50 pm

wolf359 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:47 pm
willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:07 pm
DaftInvestor wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:05 pm
NYT absolutely LOVES to spread FUD through their reporting. It sells papers and provides click-bait to get you to get to their site.
Statistically how often are safety deposit boxes harmed? I didn't read the full article and bet it doesn't say (I skimmed through it and it seems they are telling some personal stories of devastating loss to put FEAR into you - but don't tell you the chances of it happening to you are almost zero). Instead of reporting the actually chance of loss - they found one or two really scary stories to put some fear in you.
I would bet you have a 0.00001% chance of loss.
The single story relayed in the article is only the second one I've ever heard of where someone lost the contents of a safe deposit box. The other involved a flood that completely destroyed the facility where the safe deposit box was held. You're far more likely to get hit by lightning than have your safe deposit box compromised.
The lesson I think I'm gaining is that highly valuable items should be insured. Securing it in a safe deposit box isn't sufficient by itself.

High impact low probability implies the insurance premiums would be low.
Fair point. I am guessing insuring an item that is in a safety deposit box will cost only a fraction of what it would cost to insure that same item in your home.

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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by barnaclebob » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:53 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:50 pm
Fair point. I am guessing insuring an item that is in a safety deposit box will cost only a fraction of what it would cost to insure that same item in your home.
How would the insurance company know you are actually keeping it in the box other than you signing a piece of paper saying you will. If an item is worth that much you probably get into some weird procedures though.

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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by DaftInvestor » Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:00 pm

barnaclebob wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:53 pm
DaftInvestor wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:50 pm
Fair point. I am guessing insuring an item that is in a safety deposit box will cost only a fraction of what it would cost to insure that same item in your home.
How would the insurance company know you are actually keeping it in the box other than you signing a piece of paper saying you will. If an item is worth that much you probably get into some weird procedures though.
We aren't supposed to discuss criminal activity here (which insurance fraud certainly is).
I don't know but I assume if you insure the contents of your safety deposit box they will want a list of what they are insuring (and price based upon that - same way they insure expensive jewelry in your home) and then if you try to file for a loss - I'm guessing they will want a police report and statement from the bank of what happened (so they are reasonable sure the loss really occurred at the bank).

This brings up an interesting point - I have met folks that don't even realize that expensive items such as jewlry in your home aren't insured either unless you add them to your insurance specifically (Maybe they should write another article that it titled "Your Home Isn't Safe!" :happy ).

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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by FIREchief » Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:05 pm

willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:04 pm


OTOH, I think that a very well hidden floor safe (i.e. encased in concrete) is about as secure as a safe deposit box. They are so rarely used that a virtually no thief would never even think to look for one, and even if it was found, breaking into a good one requires an acetylene torch and/or a jackhammer.
Or a weapon aimed at the person who knows the combo.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by TSR » Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:20 pm

willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:22 pm
fru-gal wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:18 pm
DaftInvestor wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:05 pm
NYT absolutely LOVES to spread FUD through their reporting. It sells papers and provides click-bait to get you to get to their site.
Statistically how often are safety deposit boxes harmed? I didn't read the full article and bet it doesn't say (I skimmed through it and it seems they are telling some personal stories of devastating loss to put FEAR into you - but don't tell you the chances of it happening to you are almost zero). Instead of reporting the actually chance of loss - they found one or two really scary stories to put some fear in you.
I would bet you have a 0.00001% chance of loss.
I read the whole article. Major banks - Wells Fargo, B of A - which have terrible reputations were screwing over customers. I am sure this is a significant possibility and if I were storing expensive items I would not do it in a safe deposit box. Luckily, I don't have any of that stuff :-) I keep paperwork which it would be quite a pain to lose, but just somewhat expensive and time consuming to replace.
There are better ways to store millions of dollars worth of anything than a safe deposit box, even though the risk of loss is tiny.
This comment stuck out to me. I honestly would have thought that the BEST way to secure millions of dollars worth of anything held as a physical asset would have been a safe deposit box. I think a lot of people would have thought that -- like, maybe that's even the whole marketing appeal. What's the better way? I hear you saying that a well-installed safe in your home might be, but I've certainly heard a lot more stories of those getting broken into (usually with the help of the person who installed it) than safe deposit boxes. It was pretty darn interesting to me to learn that the contents of the box are not guaranteed by the bank. I'd have thought that the bailor/bailee relationship would have give some recourse. I agree that the risk is low, but if I had a million dollars worth of ANYTHING I'd feel pretty strongly that I needed a zero-risk arrangement. (Such things don't exist, of course.)

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Re: NYT Article: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by prudent » Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:33 pm

Insurance on collectibles can be had for about 0.5% per year which covers items in an SDB, at home, and in transit between home-SDB. Assuming the home is a single-family home, deadbolt locks, and items at home are in a UL-rated safe. It's probably cheaper than adding collectibles to a homeowners policy that only covers items at home.

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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by willthrill81 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:35 pm

FIREchief wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:05 pm
willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:04 pm


OTOH, I think that a very well hidden floor safe (i.e. encased in concrete) is about as secure as a safe deposit box. They are so rarely used that a virtually no thief would never even think to look for one, and even if it was found, breaking into a good one requires an acetylene torch and/or a jackhammer.
Or a weapon aimed at the person who knows the combo.
You're assuming that the person with the weapon knows that the safe is there. With a well-placed floor safe, it's extremely unlikely that they will. And most home invaders ply their trade when the occupants are absent anyway. And if the occupants are there, they should be more concerned about their own safety than that of their safe.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by miamivice » Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:35 pm

willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:04 pm
Like any option out there, there is risk with a safe deposit box. I and most others view that risk as being very small, but it is not zero. I cannot imagine why the man in the article held over $10 million worth of items in one; there are surely better options for storing such expensive items.

OTOH, I think that a very well hidden floor safe (i.e. encased in concrete) is about as secure as a safe deposit box. They are so rarely used that a virtually no thief would never even think to look for one, and even if it was found, breaking into a good one requires an acetylene torch and/or a jackhammer.
I think I could store $10 million cash in my crawl space WITHOUT a safe and no thief would ever steal it because I am quite sure that no thief would take the time to locate the entrance of my crawl space and crawl around under the house among the mice looking for stuff. Unless of course the thief knew something was there.

The biggest security protection is tight lips. Loose lips sink ships.

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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by unclescrooge » Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:38 pm

willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:04 pm
Like any option out there, there is risk with a safe deposit box. I and most others view that risk as being very small, but it is not zero. I cannot imagine why the man in the article held over $10 million worth of items in one; there are surely better options for storing such expensive items.

OTOH, I think that a very well hidden floor safe (i.e. encased in concrete) is about as secure as a safe deposit box. They are so rarely used that a virtually no thief would never even think to look for one, and even if it was found, breaking into a good one requires an acetylene torch and/or a jackhammer.
I pair of garden shears on your wife's child's pinky will open any safe in the world.

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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by willthrill81 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:39 pm

miamivice wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:35 pm
willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:04 pm
Like any option out there, there is risk with a safe deposit box. I and most others view that risk as being very small, but it is not zero. I cannot imagine why the man in the article held over $10 million worth of items in one; there are surely better options for storing such expensive items.

OTOH, I think that a very well hidden floor safe (i.e. encased in concrete) is about as secure as a safe deposit box. They are so rarely used that a virtually no thief would never even think to look for one, and even if it was found, breaking into a good one requires an acetylene torch and/or a jackhammer.
I think I could store $10 million cash in my crawl space WITHOUT a safe and no thief would ever steal it because I am quite sure that no thief would take the time to locate the entrance of my crawl space and crawl around under the house among the mice looking for stuff. Unless of course the thief knew something was there.

The biggest security protection is tight lips. Loose lips sink ships.
:thumbsup
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by willthrill81 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:40 pm

unclescrooge wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:38 pm
willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:04 pm
Like any option out there, there is risk with a safe deposit box. I and most others view that risk as being very small, but it is not zero. I cannot imagine why the man in the article held over $10 million worth of items in one; there are surely better options for storing such expensive items.

OTOH, I think that a very well hidden floor safe (i.e. encased in concrete) is about as secure as a safe deposit box. They are so rarely used that a virtually no thief would never even think to look for one, and even if it was found, breaking into a good one requires an acetylene torch and/or a jackhammer.
I pair of garden shears on your wife's child's pinky will open any safe in the world.
I'll quote my prior post on that topic.
willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:35 pm
You're assuming that the person with the weapon knows that the safe is there. With a well-placed floor safe, it's extremely unlikely that they will. And most home invaders ply their trade when the occupants are absent anyway. And if the occupants are there, they should be more concerned about their own safety than that of their safe.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by unclescrooge » Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:47 pm

willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:40 pm
unclescrooge wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:38 pm
willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:04 pm
Like any option out there, there is risk with a safe deposit box. I and most others view that risk as being very small, but it is not zero. I cannot imagine why the man in the article held over $10 million worth of items in one; there are surely better options for storing such expensive items.

OTOH, I think that a very well hidden floor safe (i.e. encased in concrete) is about as secure as a safe deposit box. They are so rarely used that a virtually no thief would never even think to look for one, and even if it was found, breaking into a good one requires an acetylene torch and/or a jackhammer.
I pair of garden shears on your wife's child's pinky will open any safe in the world.
I'll quote my prior post on that topic.
willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:35 pm
You're assuming that the person with the weapon knows that the safe is there. With a well-placed floor safe, it's extremely unlikely that they will. And most home invaders ply their trade when the occupants are absent anyway. And if the occupants are there, they should be more concerned about their own safety than that of their safe.
Very true.

I just spent last weekend in Vegas with another couple. The first night we were there, their house was broken into and the thieves tried to get the safe. They failed, due to its size and weight, but caused several thousand in damage by dragging it across wood flooring and throwing it down the stairs.

Incidentally, there was nothing I would call valuable in the safe (wedding pictures, passports, tax returns).

I have a couple of small safes hidden through out the house for this purpose. They all contain $20 in loose change. All the jewelry is in 3 different safety deposit boxes.

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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by FIREchief » Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:49 pm

willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:35 pm
FIREchief wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:05 pm
willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:04 pm


OTOH, I think that a very well hidden floor safe (i.e. encased in concrete) is about as secure as a safe deposit box. They are so rarely used that a virtually no thief would never even think to look for one, and even if it was found, breaking into a good one requires an acetylene torch and/or a jackhammer.
Or a weapon aimed at the person who knows the combo.
You're assuming that the person with the weapon knows that the safe is there. With a well-placed floor safe, it's extremely unlikely that they will. And most home invaders ply their trade when the occupants are absent anyway. And if the occupants are there, they should be more concerned about their own safety than that of their safe.
Not really. I’m assuming that the bad guy knows you have the loot.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

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Re: NYT Article: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by Yankuba » Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:50 pm

Sigh, another thing to worry about

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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by willthrill81 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:50 pm

FIREchief wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:49 pm
willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:35 pm
FIREchief wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:05 pm
willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:04 pm


OTOH, I think that a very well hidden floor safe (i.e. encased in concrete) is about as secure as a safe deposit box. They are so rarely used that a virtually no thief would never even think to look for one, and even if it was found, breaking into a good one requires an acetylene torch and/or a jackhammer.
Or a weapon aimed at the person who knows the combo.
You're assuming that the person with the weapon knows that the safe is there. With a well-placed floor safe, it's extremely unlikely that they will. And most home invaders ply their trade when the occupants are absent anyway. And if the occupants are there, they should be more concerned about their own safety than that of their safe.
Not really. I’m assuming that the bad guy knows you have the loot.
That's why you keep your mouth shut, practice stealth wealth, and keep some decoy stuff around. We keep a decoy portable safe under our bed filled to the brim...with rocks.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by FIREchief » Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:55 pm

willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:50 pm
FIREchief wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:49 pm
willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:35 pm
FIREchief wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:05 pm
willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:04 pm


OTOH, I think that a very well hidden floor safe (i.e. encased in concrete) is about as secure as a safe deposit box. They are so rarely used that a virtually no thief would never even think to look for one, and even if it was found, breaking into a good one requires an acetylene torch and/or a jackhammer.
Or a weapon aimed at the person who knows the combo.
You're assuming that the person with the weapon knows that the safe is there. With a well-placed floor safe, it's extremely unlikely that they will. And most home invaders ply their trade when the occupants are absent anyway. And if the occupants are there, they should be more concerned about their own safety than that of their safe.
Not really. I’m assuming that the bad guy knows you have the loot.
That's why you keep your mouth shut, practice stealth wealth, and keep some decoy stuff around. We keep a decoy portable safe under our bed filled to the brim...with rocks.
Lol. :D It’s probably easier to just not own any true “valuables.” Our safe deposit box is primarily used for backup flash drives.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by DaftInvestor » Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:57 pm

unclescrooge wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:47 pm
willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:40 pm
unclescrooge wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:38 pm
willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:04 pm
Like any option out there, there is risk with a safe deposit box. I and most others view that risk as being very small, but it is not zero. I cannot imagine why the man in the article held over $10 million worth of items in one; there are surely better options for storing such expensive items.

OTOH, I think that a very well hidden floor safe (i.e. encased in concrete) is about as secure as a safe deposit box. They are so rarely used that a virtually no thief would never even think to look for one, and even if it was found, breaking into a good one requires an acetylene torch and/or a jackhammer.
I pair of garden shears on your wife's child's pinky will open any safe in the world.
I'll quote my prior post on that topic.
willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:35 pm
You're assuming that the person with the weapon knows that the safe is there. With a well-placed floor safe, it's extremely unlikely that they will. And most home invaders ply their trade when the occupants are absent anyway. And if the occupants are there, they should be more concerned about their own safety than that of their safe.
Very true.

I just spent last weekend in Vegas with another couple. The first night we were there, their house was broken into and the thieves tried to get the safe. They failed, due to its size and weight, but caused several thousand in damage by dragging it across wood flooring and throwing it down the stairs.

Incidentally, there was nothing I would call valuable in the safe (wedding pictures, passports, tax returns).

I have a couple of small safes hidden through out the house for this purpose. They all contain $20 in loose change. All the jewelry is in 3 different safety deposit boxes.
Note-to-self - If I ever get into house robbery bring a metal detector with me to sniff out the hidden safes. 8-)

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Re: NYT Article: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by megabad » Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:58 pm

wolf359 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 12:52 pm
Should safe deposit boxes be avoided? What are viable alternatives? If you use one, what do you use it for? Does this article change anything?
I just read the article. Thanks for posting. From the article, I have drawn the exact opposite conclusion that the NYT (and apparently you) have drawn. Safe deposit boxes seem very safe and clearly have multiple court decisions supporting that fact.

In fact, I cannot think of a better high security off site storage facility for less cost.

Additionally, I would never keep $10 million in a local yokel bank in an account or safe deposit box and am skeptical of anyone that claims he or she does. I use it exactly for what is intended: off site storage of small minor assets that I don't want easily falling into someone's hands. Stuff like deeds/titles, other private paper records, birth certificates, passports, asset inventories, jewelry or other theft targets with high sentimental value but low street value, etc. Anything of any value should be insured and then it doesn't matter where it is (as long as you are compliant with insurance).

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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by willthrill81 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:58 pm

FIREchief wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:55 pm
willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:50 pm
FIREchief wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:49 pm
willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:35 pm
FIREchief wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:05 pm


Or a weapon aimed at the person who knows the combo.
You're assuming that the person with the weapon knows that the safe is there. With a well-placed floor safe, it's extremely unlikely that they will. And most home invaders ply their trade when the occupants are absent anyway. And if the occupants are there, they should be more concerned about their own safety than that of their safe.
Not really. I’m assuming that the bad guy knows you have the loot.
That's why you keep your mouth shut, practice stealth wealth, and keep some decoy stuff around. We keep a decoy portable safe under our bed filled to the brim...with rocks.
Lol. :D It’s probably easier to just not own any true “valuables.” Our safe deposit box is primarily used for backup flash drives.
Is the hypothetical thief that's willing to cut off fingers in your earlier example going to believe you when you say that you don't have any valuables at home?
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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Re: NYT Article: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by willthrill81 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 3:00 pm

megabad wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:58 pm
Additionally, I would never keep $10 million in a local yokel bank in an account or safe deposit box and am skeptical of anyone that claims he or she does. I use it exactly for what is intended: off site storage of small minor assets that I don't want easily falling into someone's hands. Stuff like deeds/titles, other private paper records, birth certificates, passports, asset inventories, jewelry or other theft targets with high sentimental value but low street value, etc. Anything of any value should be insured and then it doesn't matter where it is (as long as you are compliant with insurance).
This was my problem with the man referenced in the article. Why on earth did he have $10 million worth of stuff uninsured? :shock: I suppose he believed that it wasn't necessary to insure items in a safe deposit box.
Last edited by willthrill81 on Fri Jul 19, 2019 3:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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Re: NYT Article: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by Jyb33 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 3:02 pm

I notice that noone here has coomented that the concept of "risk" (or failure rate in biostatistics, and
related fields......and engineering....and in this specific case, risk or probability of "losing" something from a
box......) is meaningless without introducing the a TIME dimension.. (unless everyone here is assuming
"lifetime" or "infinite-time" rsk)......The probability of an event occuring (loss of a box or contents...)
would vary over time.....(i.e., annual,decennial, infinite.....).....I think I noticed in that article that
he waited a VERY VERY LONG TIME to check on his box....I would think that the 5-year probability of loss
is alot smaller than th 20-year...(for a population of customers that do not check ...)...

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Re: NYT Article: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by megabad » Fri Jul 19, 2019 3:06 pm

Jyb33 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 3:02 pm
I think I noticed in that article that he waited a VERY VERY LONG TIME to check on his box....I would think that the 5-year probability of loss is alot smaller than the 20-year...(for a population of customers that do not check ...)...
maybe a fair point. If I had $10 million uninsured in a 3x5 box in some 2000sq ft building with a sign that said "BANK", I would probably check in on it a little more often myself.

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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by FIREchief » Fri Jul 19, 2019 3:11 pm

willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:58 pm
FIREchief wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:55 pm
willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:50 pm
FIREchief wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:49 pm
willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:35 pm


You're assuming that the person with the weapon knows that the safe is there. With a well-placed floor safe, it's extremely unlikely that they will. And most home invaders ply their trade when the occupants are absent anyway. And if the occupants are there, they should be more concerned about their own safety than that of their safe.
Not really. I’m assuming that the bad guy knows you have the loot.
That's why you keep your mouth shut, practice stealth wealth, and keep some decoy stuff around. We keep a decoy portable safe under our bed filled to the brim...with rocks.
Lol. :D It’s probably easier to just not own any true “valuables.” Our safe deposit box is primarily used for backup flash drives.
Is the hypothetical thief that's willing to cut off fingers in your earlier example going to believe you when you say that you don't have any valuables at home?
In my hypothetical example, I clearly stated the assumption that the thief KNOWS I have the loot, so no. And I just said “weapon,” somebody else took it a bit darker.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

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Re: Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe

Post by willthrill81 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 3:12 pm

FIREchief wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 3:11 pm
willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:58 pm
FIREchief wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:55 pm
willthrill81 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:50 pm
FIREchief wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:49 pm


Not really. I’m assuming that the bad guy knows you have the loot.
That's why you keep your mouth shut, practice stealth wealth, and keep some decoy stuff around. We keep a decoy portable safe under our bed filled to the brim...with rocks.
Lol. :D It’s probably easier to just not own any true “valuables.” Our safe deposit box is primarily used for backup flash drives.
Is the hypothetical thief that's willing to cut off fingers in your earlier example going to believe you when you say that you don't have any valuables at home?
In my hypothetical example, I clearly stated the assumption that the thief KNOWS I have the loot, so no. And I just said “weapon,” somebody else took it a bit darker.
Then it seems that we agree that keeping your mouth shut about the presence of what you possess is priority #1.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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