Where Is the Safest Place to Store My Documents?
The average person has around 15 extremely important documents that they absolutely need to keep safe or risk a great deal of hassle trying to recover if lost. These documents include, but are not limited to:
Deed to house
Estate Will and Trust
Social Security Card
Selective Services Card
If you have all these documents in one place, congratulations, you are ahead of the curve for most Americans. Unfortunately, it's not time to start patting yourself on the back just yet. The real task comes in making sure these documents are safe. A simple filing cabinet will not due.
There are two different, but equally important ways you need to protect these valuable pieces of information:
Protection from fire, flood and other natural disasters and
Protection from thieves which could extremely lead to identity theft.
So what are my options? Well, there are a few:
A fireproof, waterproof in-house safe – Most department stores these days have an office section where you can purchase a safe for very little money. These safes are generally fireproof up to a certain length of time, and the better ones of them are waterproof up to a certain amount of time being submerged. Be careful with this claim when stocking electronic devises such as USB thumb drives or SD cars in your safe. Although they may technically be kept from completely burning up, the circuitry inside them is sensitive to heat, causing melting, ruining all data stored within.
A safety deposit box at a local bank – Your local bank conveniently has safety deposit storage for rent. This is a great place to keep your items if you do not need to access them on a regular basis. Usually you are given a key or the bank holds a key and you are required to show id before they open your safe. Fees range depending on the size from $ 50 / year to $ 1,000 + / year.
Online storage – Many people these days are turning to the internet for storage of their documents. Many services offer "cloud storage" which puts your information on the company's server. Unfortunately, nothing on the internet is 100% secure. Every day we hear about a site getting hacked or a major corporation losing credit card numbers. Also, what happens to your data if the service is bought out or goes out of business? You have to think along the lines of "How would my life change, if this information was lost or fell into the wrong hands?"
A digital safe – Digital safes like the ioSafe are great ways to store your information. These are computer hard drives are protected by a fireproof and water proof layer. Unlike standard safes, these digital safes are designed to protect the electronic circuit circuitry inside. They come with holes in the bottom for bolting to the floor and also encrypt the data within for an added safety measure. Take a look here to see one in action.
ioSafe Whatever method you chose when securing your documents, make sure you know where they are and how to access them if needed. Ideally, these storage devices will not have to be put to the test, but if they are, you want the peace of mind knowing they are protected.
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