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Home Insurance vs the Household Safe

House & Home

Posted on Friday, November 7, 2014

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When considering home safety, sometimes there's a high tendency to be led by opposing motives. You may want to put all of your valuables into a safe and believe that under no circumstances will that safe be breached; or you may still get a safe but still insure your house just to be careful. Depending on the items, the two forms of protection can easily go hand-in-hand.


Having a safe is just as much for valuable items as it for dangerous ones and any time you consider putting something in a safe, you should consider not only the item being stowed away but how protected that item will be. Not all safes are made equal and each one's credentials speak volumes. As a homeowner, you should have a thorough knowledge of the specifications for the safe you plan to use.

  • Does it have a good fire-rating, meaning the amount of time it can withstand direct flame without the internal contents combusting?
  • Does it have a good cash-rating- indicating the strength of the safe's door and walls; the complexity of the locking mechanism; and the difficulty of removing it from a particular location?


The higher the cash-rating, the more secure the safe. Then there are the usage details such as whether the safe is a drop safe, office safe or gun safe. All of these serve different functions. Also, you should have full knowledge of what you intend to put in the safe, whether it's

  • Family heirlooms
  • Weapons
  • Cash
  • Jewellery or
  • Identity and other important documents

As such, if you're unsure of the safe's specifications, how can you be sure whether what you put in it is truly protected? Home insurance removes the burden of unnecessary stress by making sure that certain of the safe's contents remain protected over and above the existence of the actual safe. So, if the contents are jewellery, valuable heirlooms etc., depending on the item, it can be insured. Cash, guns, documents, data or data-storage technology such as burned CDs or flashdrives are usually not insured; unless the flashdrive itself is nominally expensive. Harddrives, which tend to cost much more can be insured.

Whether opting for extra security in the form of a safe or leaving the items carefully hidden even though not directly in a safe, the insurance you choose for those items is still important. Although household cover isn't essential in terms of the law, most mortgage lenders will not lend you money unless you also agree to a sign up for insurance of a minimum amount. As such, it is in the best interest of all homeowners to know how the insurance world works when they want to insure household items.

For instance, the most common home insurance options are the HO-2, HO-3 and HO-5. The HO-2 is what is referred to as a "named perils policy". It covers items that are specifically named in the policy and nothing else beyond that. In case of windstorm, lightning, hail, fire and explosion damage, the insurance pays out. Insurance usually also pays living expenses in the case of temporarily uninhabitable houses.

The H0-3 (open perils policy) on the other hand is the policy most commonly chosen for its coverage of direct damage to houses or other structures, unless specifically excluded. The important aspect is that the house is covered for its full replacement value and not it's original value or depreciation deduction value. If it's covered according to any of the last two schemes, then you, as a customer, may not receive the best coverage. An easier way to make sure that everything within your household is covered the way you want it to be requires completing the HO-5 policy, which is comprehensive cover and includes damage or loss of personal property in addition to the comprehensive house and structure cover.

All in all, both a safe and home insurance are important decisions when it comes to the safety of your household and possessions. In fact, they should be thought of as inherently tied together in greater integrated household protection plans that involve off-site armed response companies, electronic and/or digital alarm systems and physical protection devices, such as electric fencing, security gates and CCTV. 

Possessing and properly using a safe is a preventative measure to protect items which are irreplaceable or very difficult to replace. Home insurance is there for both safe housed items and everything else so that, should the worst happen and the item is taken, you and your family won’t suffer a dramatic financial loss.