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Security Options for High Value Home Contents : Part 1 – Safes

[intro]If you have high value home contents to protect, in addition to your existing home security, a high quality safe is a given. Home safes are proven and effective at protecting values not only from theft, but also from possible fire and water damage. [/intro]

What you need to know about buying a Safe
Cash Rating
All good safes have a Cash Rating. This is a monetary value, equivalent to the highest amount that an underwriter will allow for cash stored inside. The higher the cash rating the better the safe, as determined by stringent quality control and testing of component parts such as the depth of the door, thickness of the walls, and the quality of the locking mechanism.

For insurance purposes generally you can multiply the cash rating by 10 with respect to the value of other items, such as precious jewellery, valuable watches, collectables etc. for example; your insurer should cover valuables with a worth of up to £10k stored in a safe with a cash rating of £1k. This is not necessarily a given though; it is always advisable to speak with your insurer regarding specific items and security arrangements rather than assume cover.

Fire Rating
Not all safes are made equal. Some safes also come with a fire rating. This is measured in the hours a safe can resist heat and continue to protect your valuables.

Work with your insurer
Your insurer needs to know. If you have home contents worth protecting, you have home contents worth insuring. The two go hand-in-hand and it is important to consult with your insurer before buying a safe, not least because different insurers may have different requirements. For example, some may request details of the manufacturer’s advisory rating, whilst others may insist on an independent testing certificate.

Independent testing
If you are serious about purchasing a safe, it is recommendable to choose one that has been proven to meet independent European Attack Test Standards, which are widely recognized by insurers and carry far more credence than simply accepting the manufacturers advisory rating.
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What you need to decide when choosing a Safe

What are you going to keep in it?
This applies to both the size and shape, as well as value. Your answer will have an impact on physically how big you need your safe to be.

Where are you going to keep it?
Positioning is vital and will impact not only on the type of safe you buy, but the installation and the monetary value of the items insured within it. Are you looking for a wall-safe, out of sight and easy access? A floor-standing safe? – often has the greatest limit, but is not exactly discrete. Or an under-floor safe? – out of sight and very secure, although often not so easy to get to.

Which type of safe do you need?
When considering the type of safe you are looking for, think about not only where you plan to keep it, but also the value of the items you intend protect inside it. As a general rule of thumb:

  • Wall safes have cash ratings from £1,000 up to £10,000
  • Under-floor safes have a cash rating ranging from £3,000 to £35,000
  • Floor-standing safes have a cash rating from £1,000 to £150,000

Also consider exactly what you require your safe to protect your possessions from. Are your primarily concerned with burglary or do you also require your safe to be fire retardant or water resistant?

Locking preferences
You should also give some consideration to the type of lock you would prefer, for example would you prefer standard key entry, electronic PIN code or biometric locking?
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What you need to do when getting a Safe
Give careful consideration to the points above, do some homework, consult a professional, contact your insurer and choose wisely.

Whichever safe you choose, make sure you get it professionally installed. Many safes are billed as easy to install by anyone with a minor interest in DIY, but why risk it? If you’re going to secure your valuables, do it properly and use a professional. Most providers of high quality safes will provide a white glove service as standard.

You should have already consulted your insurer before investing in a quality safe. Post installation it is good practice to contact your insurer again and ensure your new security measures are accounted for within your policy and that you have applicable cover in place to protect your safe and its contents. If you are storing valuables in excess of the cash rating in your safe, you should inform your insurer immediately.
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Highworth Insurance can provide dedicated help and advice on protecting your high value home contents, as well as advice on the most suitable policy tailored to the items you are looking to protect.