If you're in the market for a fireproof home safe but have never purchased one before, there are many things that you should know. There is nothing more important than protecting your belongings from being destroyed by flames or water damage.
Here are 10 things to consider when buying a new fireproof home safe.
- Locking mechanism
- Smart features
- Offsite backup
- Fire protection
- Burglary resistance
- A safe or filing cabinet
- Contents: value and type
Do Fireproof Safes Actually Work?
It can be difficult to decide on the fireproof safe size that will work best for your needs. Fireproof safes do work but with some limitations. It is these limitations that you should understand. For example, “fireproof” safe are actually “fire resistant” safes as no safe can withstand very high temperatures over extended periods. For example, there are countless cases of homeowners, whose houses were burnt down in forest fires, who were disappointed and frustrated that their “fireproof safes” did not protect their valuables. The forest fires burned too hot and too long and the safes could not withstand the heat.
If burglary protection is what you are looking for, besides the “fireproofing”, make sure that you get a safe rated for burglary protection. That, too, has limitations based on the tools that burglars can used to break in, and the time it takes a competent burglar to break in.
In summary, fireproof safes can do the job they should do, but be careful you don’t risk loss and damage because your expectations were higher than what the safe could provide.
What Documents Should I Keep in a Fireproof Safe?
Researchers recommend that all records be kept in fireproof document safes for at least thirty years before they are discarded, even if they have been digitized. Some record keepers prefer to keep paper documents because it's easier to organize them physically instead of tracking where digital copies will go and how many versions of each file there have been.
Here are examples of documents that are best stored in a fireproof safe:
- Birth Certificate
- College Transcripts
- Marriage License
- Tax Returns
- Copies of Bank Statements or Checks Written in a Safe Deposit Box
- Copies of Important Emails or Documents
- Original Wills and Testament
- Copies of Credit Card Statements
- Social Security Cards
- Marriage Dissolution Papers/Divorce Decrees
Here are additional documents you could consider for storage in a fireproof box, because they are important to store but not necessarily valuable to a thief:
- Banking Information
- Original House Deed
- Vehicle Title
- College Transcripts
The importance of UL-rated home fireproof document safes
Home fireproof document safes are UL-rated in accordance with what materials (paper or digital) are inside the safe. It's important to know if you need to store multiple sets of fireproof documents or if you need a fireproof document safe that can withstand a fire for more than 30 minutes. The fire rating is determined by what the fireproof document firebox is actively protecting against.
In summary, the UL-ratng of home fireproof document safes does not guarantee unlimited protection, but it does mean that the safe was subjected to a test and passed. This means that what the stated rating is, is the protection you are likely to get.
Things You Must Know Before Buying A Fireproof Home Safe
1. Fireproof ratings
Safe fire ratings are tested to see if they work. For example, the UL Class 350 1-hour fire rating means that if it's heated by external temperatures over 1700°F then the inside of the safe will not be hotter than 350°F for at least 1 hour. The safe might have a 1-, 2-, or 3-hour time classification. The safe is also heated and dropped from heights up to 30 feet high to see if it explodes or not.
Home safes come in different sizes, and they hold different numbers of things inside before you need to take them out and put other things in. You should think about what you want to keep safe, which means how many degrees of fire protection it needs.
Fireproof safes use a special locking system. This is called the firebox key-bolt locking system. To open it, you need two keys: a firebox key and a bolt key. You will need to keep your firebox key safe because if you lose it, then you won't be able to lock the safe again.
4. Burglary ratings
Fireproof safes can help keep your valuables from being stolen. These fireproof safes have a key-bolt locking system and a drill-resistant hardened steel firewall which is 2 inches thick. This keeps burglars from using power tools or torches to try to break into the safe. The burglar resistance rating for these fireproof safes ranges between 40 and 80 minutes, depending on the grade of the safe.
Not all fireproof safes will be the same size. When you are thinking about where to put safes, think about how fireproof they need to be. Moving them around can make them less fire-resistant because of the weather testing they go through.
6. Fire prevention
Home fireproof fire safes help you keep a house from catching on fire. They stop fires by keeping the fire out. That means that if you have expensive things in your house that would be hard to replace, then you should get home safe. Fire insurance companies always recommend this for people who have expensive items in their houses.
7. Spacious fireproof safes
Fireproof safes will keep their contents safe from fire and other disasters. However, there are many different types of safes, and not all are created equal.
8. Contents: value and type
Burglary-resistant safes are the best way to protect your valuables from thieves. They can withstand many different types of attacks, including brute force and fire. The first two categories will be more appropriate for your home or business if you have a large number of guns or other valuables that need protection. The third category is perfect for high-risk locations like banks and other businesses with lots of cash on hand. Some burglars may try to burn down the building in order to get at your money, but these safes are usually able to survive fires up to 1700 degrees.
If you are considering buying a fireproof home safe, it's important to know what can and must go inside the safe. A fireproof document safe is typically rated on the size of paper or records it can hold before becoming overloaded and needing to go into a bigger fireproof document safe. An extra-large home safe should be able to hold multiple sets of papers simultaneously instead of waiting for one set to be removed and replaced with another set. There are also "file size" discounts available between the next smaller (more expensive, but more manageable) and the next larger (less expensive, but harder to handle) fireproof document safe.