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Safety deposit boxes can be smart ways to store some of your valuable belongings. However, they are not perfect by any means and are not designed to store all of your precious valuables. And when it comes to safety deposit boxes with Chase Bank there are some restrictions that you need to know.
In this article, I will tell you everything you need to know about Chase safety deposit boxes. I’ll cover things like the fees/prices, rules, locations, and also give you some tips on things to store and not store in your safety deposit box.
What exactly is a safety deposit box?
Just in case you need some clarification, a safety deposit box is a secure holding place where you can store certain belongings with a bank. These are typically stored in a secure area like a safe and are great for people looking for added security beyond storing something in a safe at home or resorting to things like midnight gardening.
Common items that are stored in a safety deposit box include:
- Important paper contracts
- Marriage certificates
- Birth certificates
- Special photographs
- Valuable jewelry (you don’t wear often)
- Valuable collection items
- Deeds and titles
- Stock and bond certificates
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Does Chase offer safety deposit boxes?
Yes, you can lease a Chase safety deposit boxes for an annual fee. You will need to have a Chase bank account (like a checking) or be partnered with someone who does and the fee for the safety deposit box will likely be taken out of that account. If you need to search for Chase bank locations near you can do that here.
What are the fees for Chase safety deposit boxes?
The fees for a safety deposit box with Chase are going to vary based on the location and size of your box.
Here are some sample prices:
- 3X5: $80
- 3X10: $140
- 5X10: $220
- 10X10: $350
Prices can differ
You should note that the prices can change and once again they will differ based on your location (they could be cheaper or more expensive). It is also possible that you could get a free safety deposit box if you open up the right type of bank account. For example, Chase Private Client members get a free safety deposit box. Chase Premier Plus Checking members also get free boxes.
You might be waitlisted
Some Chase bank locations may not have any safety deposit boxes available for you to rent. It is not uncommon for some banks to be completely booked up and so you might have to get on a waiting list. If that happens, you might want to shop around and check out a few different locations/branches to see which have available safety deposit boxes. You might also inquire with the banker to see if they can check availability for other branches if possible.
The lease time
Typically, you will probably be looking at a one-year lease time. You can terminate your lease agreement at any time but you likely will not be refunded.
Entering into a lease agreement for a safety deposit box creates a landlord tenant relationship. This can be significant for legal purposes so I would suggest to review your contract to see what the implications of this relationship are when it comes to things like access.
However, the lease does not create a bailor and bailee relationship between you and the Bank. This basically means that they are not responsible for anything that happens your belongings while in the possession.
Terms may state:
You assume all risks of injury, loss or damage of any kind (including but not limited to loss or damage due to fire, water, other mishap, robbery or burglary) arising out of the deposit of anything in the box, provided we have exercised ordinary care.
Chase safety deposit box rules
You will not be able to place any items that you wish and your safety deposit box. That is because the lease agreement will have specific exclusions for certain items. Below, I have pulled out some language from a lease agreement to give you some insight into what might be excluded. Please note that your individual lease agreement may have different language.
With Chase you are not to use the box to store money, coin or currency unless it is of a collectable nature, and you assume all risks and hold the Bank harmless of any loss or alleged loss of said money, coin or currency.
So if you collect bullion for example, those collectible coins can be allowed in the safety deposit box. But if you are just trying to find a place to store something like Silver Eagles (recognized more as a type of currency) then a safety deposit box like this is probably not a good choice. This also means that you are not to store cash in your safety deposit box.
You agree NOT to store any item that is inherently dangerous, including but not limited to:
- Firearms, guns or ammunition
- Other weapons even if such weapons are lawfully owned by you
- Anything illegal to possess, or of a character or nature which we believe may injure the premises of the Bank, its employees or customers
- Liquid, corrosive, pressurized, hazardous, or explosive materials such as dynamite, fireworks, flares, tear gas and self-defense sprays
You will have to agree to not use your safety deposit box to store anything for an unlawful purpose. Chase can turn over any of your belongings to the government or to law-enforcement if they believe that you have violated their lease terms.
When can I access my safety deposit box?
You will be able to access your safety deposit box during normal business hours. In some cases this may mean a typical schedule of 9 AM a.m. to 5 PM p.m. Monday through Friday. Some locations might have weekend hours but it just will depend.
This is a big reason why they suggest not to include items that you might need in an emergency. For example, putting a passport, a power of attorney, medical directive, or something along those lines in a safety deposit box is normally not a good idea.
You should be aware that the lease agreement probably will have language that states that your access can be restricted. For example it states:
We can restrict access to your box for any reason, including but not limited to past due rent and fees, information we receive in court documents, our inability to obtain information that satisfies our “Know Your Customer” requirements, and any unexpected circumstances (natural or manmade)
You also can rent these boxes jointly so that you and someone else has equal access.
You should be able to appoint an agent (“deputy”) or Attorney in Fact (“AIF”) to have access to or surrender the box. I highly suggest that you look at the terms and conditions closely if you’re considering giving authority to someone on this basis. And it goes without saying but you obviously want to have a high level of trust with that individual.
In order to access the safety deposit box you will need to show your ID and access it in the presence of a bank agent.
Are my contents insured?
A big question that people have with safety deposit boxes is: Are my contents insured? When it comes to chase, at your contents inside the safety deposit box or not insured by the FDIC or Chase bank.
The contents of your safe deposit box are not protected against loss or damage under the insurance coverage maintained by the bank or Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. For your protection, you may wish to secure your own insurance through an insurance company of your choice.
So it would be a good idea to seek out insurance options for your belongings. Remember, a natural disaster can strike anywhere and while your belongings are pretty secure in a vault, they will not be invincible. For that reason, some people like to put their belongings in a waterproof sealed case, bag, or container and then insert that into the safety deposit box.
It is also a very good idea to thoroughly document every single item in your safety deposit box. A great way to do this is to take high-quality photos of every item.
Chase safety deposit boxes are great ways to store your valuable belongings if you are okay with some of the disadvantages. This can be a great way to go especially if you have free access to them with the right type of Chase account.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the digital smart wallet, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. His content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.