There can be a stigma around the idea of using a home safe to keep valuables. However, they are actually great to protect the things most important to you.
Thanks to popular fiction, we all have an idea of what type of person has a home safe and how they use it. If you don’t keep giant gems or stacks of cash lying around, a home safe seems superfluous. However, in the real world, people use home safes for all sorts of practical (and boring) reasons. The reasons you need a home safe are as varied as the types of homes that exist out there. Yet, there is a very simple thing that connects everyone who uses one. They all want to keep something secure, intact, and out of the wrong hands. Whether it’s your secret pirate gold or the deed to your house, a home safe can be just what you need for peace of mind.
Of course, you could just keep your valuables in a safety deposit box. And while it might make sense to keep some things in one, a home safe is much more convenient and just as reliable. Yet, with a home safe, you don’t have to go through the rigmarole at the bank - or make the trip at all. You can get into your safe in your bathrobe and slippers just as fast as you can enter in the combination. But if you’re not sure if there are any reasons you need a home safe, read on and find out.
A Bit About the Home Safe
The history of the home safe doesn't go back as far as you think. However, the idea of it--protecting your valuables--dates back much further. Below we'll discuss that and talk about the classes and reasons you need a home safe.
History of the “Home Safe”
Technically, the “safe” dates back to 1835, when Charles and Jeremiah Chubb filed a patent in Britain for their “burglar-resistant” product. Yet, the idea of a lockbox dates back millennia. Strongboxes with locking mechanisms have been found among the ruins of long-gone civilizations, like the ancient Egyptians.
The concept of locking away your valuables has existed as long as the concept of valuables itself. Yet, in 1886, safe technology advanced significantly when Henry Brown patented his invention, a fireproof “receptacle for storing and preserving papers.” Constructed from forged metal, the safe could withstand significant impacts and fire. The concept caught on, and today there are countless varieties of home safes available for myriad uses.
Types of Home Safes
The reasons you need a home safe can vary, from preventing theft to storing documents in case of disaster. Before you install a home safe, determine what it may need to withstand or what you are going to store. For example, if you live in an area prone to flooding, you will want to avoid floor safes and look for ones that are fully water-tight. If you want to store documents, the safe need not be very large or ostentatious. On the other hand, a jewelry safe might be part display piece and part safe. Luckily, most safes are equally resistant to burglars and fire or water.
To determine what your safe can withstand, you need to be aware of its class. All safes have a TL or TRTL class, which states how long the safe can withstand power tools and other such attempts to open them. TL Class safes can withstand anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour of cutting and pressure tools. For example, a TL-30 can withstand a half an hour of attempts to break in by brute force. TRTL Classes can withstand anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour of those same tools but also welding and cutting torches. A Class TXTL can also allegedly withstand four ounces of nitroglycerin. The classes for temperature and humidity levels are listed below.
Classes of Home Safes
- Class 125: Waterproof, thanks to a door gasket and maintains internal temperatures of 125 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 percent humidity.
- Class 150: Meant for magnetic tapes or compact discs, these maintain internal temperatures of less than 150 degrees Fahrenheit and 85 percent humidity. Also not all designs come with a door gasket, so may not be fully waterproof.
- Class 350: This is a fireproof safe that will only really protect paper. The internal temperature will not go above 350 degrees Fahrenheit and 85 percent humidity. This will keep documents safe, but not much else.
All the Reasons You Need a Home Safe:
A home safe might seem like a simple, straightforward purchase made for simple straightforward reasons. However, the reasons you need a home safe are more than just protecting from burglars and break-ins. A home safe can be used to protect items from loss, carelessness, or kids with sticky fingers. They can also be used to protect your family, see how below.
1: Hiding Treasures (but not the kind you think)
Watch any heist movie, and there will no doubt be a scene where a safe-cracker has to put on a stethoscope to get the Big Jewel. Yet, that jewel is insured, traceable, and not nearly as important as people think. One of the reasons to have a home safe is to protect your valuables but use it for the truly irreplaceable ones. Did your new spouse pick up a sand dollar or sea shell on your tropical honeymoon? Maybe your kids gave you drawings or a Play-Doh sculpture when they were really little. Whatever it may be, the most valuable and irreplaceable treasures are the knick-knacks of our own history. Sure, the value is purely sentimental, but that just makes it all the more precious. Thus, it's a key consideration in determining the reasons you need a home safe.
A home safe is really just an additional impediment to home invaders or other such thieves. In most cases, they are simply there to protect them from any number of more banal villains. Thieves are just one of the reasons you need a home safe, but the others are to prevent against loss or careless damage. If you keep your treasures, both financial and sentimental, in a home safe you will always know where they are. No one may want your favorite dog’s pawprints or your kid’s homemade birthday cards but you. A home safe will make sure you always have them.
2: Storing Your Most Important Documents
One of the least exciting reasons you need a home safe is to protect important paperwork from loss, theft, or destruction. For most people, the deed to their homes, their will, or identification documents are ideal items to store in a home safe. In an emergency, you might not be able to get to a safety deposit box, and even if you can it’s far less convenient than popping up to the study. In fact, you could dedicate a home safe just for important documents. This way, everyone could have the combination and would have access to the important papers in a pinch. This would also be the ideal set-up for a situation where power-of-attorney is required, thereby making it one of the best reasons you need a home safe.
There are many reasons people give power-of-attorney to others, specifically spouses or family members. For example, if members of the military on an active deployment far from home, they give power-of-attorney to a trusted relation, usually a spouse or parent. Storing that paperwork in a home safe is the smart decision, because should you need to prove that you have power-of-attorney, the original documents are at-hand. A home safe is designed to protect your valuables, what defines “value” depends heavily on your circumstances. Sometimes a technically worthless signed document can be the most important thing to you. It’s best to keep those things safe and secure.
3: Keeping Emergency Cash
There is something about stacks of cash sitting in a safe that feels seedy or underhanded. Perhaps it’s from decades of movies picturing every criminal kingpin sitting in an office, a big safe behind a bigger painting, with cash, guns, and whatever else all around them. In a way, it’s kind of true. There is something about a lot of cash that just causes people to infer that its eventual use will be for something nefarious. Yet, while cash is still the preferred currency of the world’s black markets (sorry Bitcoin), it’s also incredibly useful in normal law-abiding society. Sometimes, you just need cash, and for that reason its one of the many reasons you need a home safe.
Because it’s not like a home safe has a $20,000 minimum deposit. Anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars can come in handy for plenty of reasons. Yet, if you keep your cash in a desk drawer or, heaven forfend, your pocket. It has a tendency to just disappear. It’s easy to fritter away cash savings if it’s readily available. That’s one of cash’s greatest attributes, it’s very easy to spend. Yet, if you put that cash inside of a home safe, it’s not as easy to get to. Adding this extra step gives you that much more time to consider dipping into those cash reserves. Not only will it keep your money secure, but it can help you become a better saver.
4: Locking up Guns
In the United States, the prevalence of guns means that there will be tens of thousands of people hurt, or worse, by these weapons. A significant portion of those were the result of an accidental discharge of the weapon. Yet, even as gun violence seems to be ticking up in recent years, the number of accidental injuries (or worse) is in decline. One reason this may be is that a number of responsible gun owners, especially those with significant collections, realized that their weapons and ammunition should be locked away. This makes it much less likely that untrained hands might get ahold of their weapons. Be advised, the classes listed above are not applicable to gun safes. They have their own rating system.
Of the reasons you need a home safe, this is the only one that really requires a specialized item. There are safes made specifically for guns, which allow for both handguns and long guns to be safely locked away when not in use. It’s also very important to make sure that you have room in the gun safe for your ammunition. Even without a weapon, bullets and shells can be dangerous. These are especially necessary for gun collectors and enthusiasts who have children in the house. High up on a shelf or hidden under the mattress will not cut it. Kids always find hidden things, and it could result in tragedy. Don’t risk it -- your family's well-being is one of the top reasons you need a home safe.
5: Storing Family Heirlooms
While protection from thieves is one of the most well-known reasons you need a home safe, it’s not the only villain to keep at bay. As mentioned above, sometimes the things that mean the most don’t have any monetary value. However, sometimes they do. Just because an heirloom is priceless to you doesn’t meant that others won’t gladly part with it for a couple of hundred dollars. A home safe can keep your heirlooms safe and secure from slick hands and unscrupulous people, and thus it's among the reasons you need a home safe. Of course, a home safe need not just protect from thieves.
If you live in Earthquake country or perhaps a bad storm damages your roof, a good home safe can withstand most of that punishment. If your ceiling collapses on top of a shelf or even a lovely cedar display case, it and your heirlooms risk damage or destruction. Yet, a good home safe can shrug such things off like they are nothing. To be clear, physics still works on things inside of a safe. If the wall is knocked down and the safe goes tumbling, your items may be damaged. Similarly, while a safe may be fireproof things can still melt or cook inside of it. It’s not a perfect solution, but your heirlooms would be much safer inside of a home safe than not.
6: Storing Jewelry
One of the best parts of owning jewelry is looking at it. That’s why they have jewelry display cases and organizers that show off your collection. However, a substantial jewelry collection can value in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. As lovely as it is, you don’t just leave that much money sitting on your vanity. The perfidy of others aside, such an arrangement leaves your jewelry open to accidental loss or curious kids’ fingers. So, it makes perfect sense to keep your most valuable jewelry in a home safe. There are decorative and stylish models designed just for jewelry. You can keep them close at hand wherever you keep your other fashion accessories, just with an extra layer of protection.
It may seem inelegant or impractical of the reasons you need a home safe, but it’s really not. Think about it, part of the fun of getting ready for an occasion where you’d wear your fine jewelry to is the ritual of it all. You brush and style your hair, apply make-up, and carefully choose your outfit. Opening the jewelry safe could be a part of that ritual. Yes, it’s technically an extra step that adds some time to an already lengthy process. But like the 1000 strokes through your hair or how you moisturize your face, it’s for a practical purpose with clear results. Keeping your jewelry in a home safe means it will always be there when you want it.
7: Storing Dangerous Medications
One of the more unique reasons you need a home safe is to store medications that might be dangerous to others. The world of pharmacology is full of wonders, with medicines that treat all sorts of ailments. However, sometimes these medicines are addictive or have dangerous side-effects. One solution to this problem is to store your medicine in a home safe.
Not only would this keep people from using the medicine who shouldn’t, it will also protect it. In case of a flood or some kind of accident, a good safe will protect your medicines, many of which can be very costly. In case of a fire, make sure to consult your doctor. Heat can change the chemical composition of medicines or how it works. Otherwise, a medicine safe is one of the most fantastic the reasons you need a home safe to keep it secure and out of the wrong hands.
8: Protection from Natural Disasters
From wildfires to earthquakes to super-storms, it sure seems like the Planet Earth is exacting her revenge on humanity for daring to build on her back. Especially for folks who’ve made their homes in Tornado Alley or the areas most likely to be hit by hurricanes, a home safe can make all the difference.
If such a tragedy should befall your home, a good safe should be able to withstand most of it. They withstand water pressure, impacts, and fire, all while protecting your important items. Things like your will, cash, or sentimental keepsakes will rest easy in your home safe, mostly none the worse for wear. There are exceptions and extenuating circumstances, of course, but in most cases a good home safe will help make your first steps towards rebuilding that much easier.
9: Protection from Fire
One of the usually unforeseen reasons you need a home safe is if you suffer a house fire. Whether it’s part of a large wildfire like those that plague the West Coast or something like an electrical fire, they are devastating. Even when there is thankfully no loss of life, a lifetime of possessions literally go up in smoke. Still, things like cash, important documents, and some family heirlooms can be stored in a fireproof home safe. Therefore, it's one of the most practical the reasons you need a home safe.
When you keep this feature in mind, you can find safes that can withstand immense heat. Some companies use fireproof safes to store hazardous chemicals, so if a fire does break out those chemicals won’t make things worse. The best fireproof safes keep your valuables intact and unaffected, though in some extreme heat plastic and other such materials can warp. It gets warm inside there, but paper, precious metals, and most everything else come out unscathed.
10: Storing Tangible Investments
If you’ve watched television late, late at night or in the middle of afternoon, chances are you’ve seen a commercial talking about gold. Maybe they are telling you they buy gold, maybe they sell it as an investment. Either way, the whole thing seems like a snake-oil con from a bygone era. Yet, tangible investments are a very real thing, and have a fairly slow, but steady rate of return. Silver, Gold, and other precious metals all have markets where they are bought and sold.
If you believe some folks, they’ll be the preferred monetary system in any dystopian future that might befall us. Jokes aside, if you put your money into tangible investments like gold or silver, you need a place to store it. Rather than paying someone for the privilege, a simple home safe could be a much more financially sound solution. This would allow you to maintain direct control over your investment and keep it close by. Of the reasons you need a home safe, this one is a no-brainer.
11: Keeping Secrets
Let’s be frank, sometimes people just have things they want to keep to themselves. Perhaps it’s something sinister that makes for good drama, like an illegal gambling ring or a torrid affair. Other times, it’s just something embarrassing or they aren’t ready to share, like the Wall Street Shark who tears up Magic: The Gathering tournaments on the weekends. Even things Keeping a secret is not an inherently bad thing. Everyone is entitled to some level of privacy, and a home safe is great way to ensure that things you want stay private.
It should go without saying that keeping secrets usually creates more problems than it solves. Libraries of books and films hammered that point home. So, if you’re hiding the tax documents for your secret second family in Omaha, Nebraska, no home safe can keep you safe from those consequences. But, not all secrets are that big. Only you know for sure, though usually not until it's too late. Still, if any of this feels relevant, those secrets are the reasons you need a home safe. Just don’t make the combination your birthday or something too obvious.
12: Protection from Home Invaders
Finally, one of the most obvious reasons you need a home safe is to protect your valuables from home invaders. Implied in almost all the other reasons above is the threat of someone being in a position to take the thing you want to keep secure. Yet, you should understand the role a home safe place in such an instance. There’s a saying that locks only keep the honest people honest, because if someone wants to break a lock they usually can. So, the role of a home safe is not necessarily to deter home invaders. In fact, if you have a safe out in the open, such people would be assured that something of value was inside. The home safe is just another impediment, possibly an insurmountable one, making it one of the essential reasons you need a home safe.
If you have a comic book cat-burglar sneaking into your house to steal the family jewelry or something, they might come prepared to crack a safe. In reality, home invaders aren’t usually that prepared. First, a home safe should be just one part of a multi-tiered security system. In fact, the safe is a redundancy. If invaders do break in, they won’t have time to break into the safe before police arrive. In other cases, they don’t have the tools or knowledge to open a locked safe. You still might lose your widescreen TV or the family laptops, but the things you most wanted to keep secure are kept safe.
There is nothing wrong with having a home safe, and it’s one of the most responsible things you can do for your family.
Outside of that “keeping secrets” bit, a home safe is a practical tool for you and your family to use in order to keep things safe. Important papers, money, and sentimental items may all seem like small things when compared to the lives of your loved ones and neighbors. That’s the beauty of the home safe. It takes care of the things that are also important during fraught and disastrous times so you can focus on what is really important. When the smoke dissipates, the waters dry up, or the dust settles, the items stored in your home safe will help you start the difficult task of moving on.
What do you think? Share your reasons you need a home safe, your reactions and thoughts in the comments below. Don’t forget to share the article on social media to get your friends in on the conversation.
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