Our Thoughts

5 things you should know about Safe Deposit Box storage

We often recommend to our clients to keep important items safe (and away from potential fire/water damage) – safe deposit boxes are one option for safe and secure storage. Important items (such as rarely worn jewelry, birth/death/marriage certificates, etc) will not be stolen, burned, lost or otherwise misplaced. And, if your items are not lost in the first place, you will not needlessly spend time and money and incur great aggravation trying to get them replaced. Can you imagine trying to replace a birth certificate or marriage license at the last minute?

We recently met with Bryant Stone, owner and founder of Commonwealth Vault and Safe Deposit Company – a private vault facility located in Ashburn, VA (and whilst we recognize that Ashburn may not be convenient for all of our clients, we did want to share this resource with you).

Commonwealth Vault offers a private, ultra-secure storage facility located in the Broadlands Marketplace Shopping Center.  At this location, Commonwealth Vault will provide a variety of sizes of safe deposit boxes, customized storage lockers, and mini vaults for lease.  The site offers 24-hour concierge style access for their clients.   The company’s goal is to fill a personal security and business void in the community. “A large percentage of banks who offer safe deposit boxes are operating on a 3-5 year waiting list,” said Stone.  “At the moment, there is no wait list at our site.”
The company’s location has been designed from the ground up to be a reinforced secure facility. “All of our box, locker and mini-vault offerings are housed inside a steel-plated, reinforced concrete Class I modular vault,” Stone said.  “We understand that security is paramount, and we’ve invested a significant amount of time and resources into the vault and security system. Our entire site, including the security system and equipment, was custom-designed with assistance from a security company that supplies to banks all over the East Coast; we’re proud to say that our equipment exceeds the security standards that you’ll normally find at a traditional bank branch.”  The entire process has been configured to protect the inner vaults as well as the safety of clients and employees while they are in the building.

We asked Bryant to share with our clients 5 things that you should know about Safe Deposit box storage:

  1. Home safes are a good alternative, but not a good replacement, for off-site safe deposit vaulted storage.  According to 2012 year-end statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), a burglary occurs (on average) every 15 seconds; 66% of burglary incidents occurred at a residence, and the average amount of money lost (per burglary incident) was $2,185.  Off-site safe deposit boxes (inside a vaulted site) provide a much safer option against burglaries or home invasions.
  2. In the event of a disaster such as a flood or fire, a safe deposit box provides the protection required to keep important documents and valuables both secure and intact.  By comparison, most home safes are fire-proof, but not water-proof, and home safes cannot provide the same levels of protection against extreme elements (wind, hail, tornado) as a reinforced, steel-plated vault.
  3. Safe deposit boxes are a great place to store important, irreplaceable documents such as birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates, social security cards, photos and passports.  They are also a great place to store high-value intangibles such as coin collections and foreign currency.
  4. For business owners looking for a safe place to put important files, intellectual property, or back-up files, an off-site storage vault is a secure option to protect your business.  Commonwealth Vault also offers its renters the ability to establish box rental contracts in the name of an LLC, Trust, Estate or POA.  By contrast, many financial institutions do not offer the same flexibility with contract titling options.
  5. Safe deposit boxes are cost effective. Commonwealth Vault offers a variety of sizes ranging from 3×5, 5×5, 3×10, 5×10, 10×10, 5×15 and 10×15.  The prices are as low as $10 per month, and monthly rates range for most safe deposit boxes from $10 per month to $45 per month.  In addition, most insurance companies will provide a discount on their rates (for storing insured valuables under a separate schedule for personal property) at an off-site vault.

If you are interested in learning more, we encourage you to contact Bryant directly at (703) 303-3702 or . (Note: Clients of FJY receive a lifetime 25% discount on all published prices)