DEFINITION of 'Safe Deposit Box'

A box - usually located inside a bank - which is used to store valuables. A safe deposit box is rented from the institution and can be accessed with keys, pin numbers or some other security pass. Valuables such as documents and jewelry are placed inside and customers rely on the security of the building to protect those valuables.

BREAKING DOWN 'Safe Deposit Box'

The contents of a safe deposit box are not insured in the same way bank deposits are. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation insures cash deposits up to a certain limit, but due to the fact that there is no way to verify the contents of a safe deposit box, banks will not insure their contents. Also, if heirs are not told about the location of the drawer, upon non-payment, the box is considered abandoned, and its contents are turned over to the state's unclaimed-property offices for auction.

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