What exactly is a safety deposit box and why would you need one? What kinds of items should you put in a safety deposit box, and what kinds of items should you store elsewhere? Which banks provide safety deposit boxes? In this article, we’ll cover all of the common questions about safety deposit boxes. We provide the key details about 17 major banks that offer safety deposit boxes to their customers, so you can make an informed decision about where to store your valuables.

In This Article:

  • How do safety deposit boxes work?

  • What items should and should not be put into a safety deposit box

  • How much does a safety deposit box cost?

  • What are the safety deposit box sizes?

  • A list of major banks that offer safety deposit boxes

  • Insurance provided for safety deposit boxes

How Do Safety Deposit Boxes Work?

A safety deposit box is a small, locked metal container stored in a vault within a bank. These boxes are usually opened with two sets of keys, one which remains with the bank and one which goes to the owner of the box. Both keys are required to open the safety deposit box, which provides an additional layer of security. The boxes provide a space in which you can store valuable items or vital documents and rest assured that they are safe in either the event of a home disaster or simply as an extra measure of security.

You’ll pay an annual fee for the safety box. In some cases, you can choose to rent an entire vault annually, though this is a very pricey option. You can either choose to be the sole owner of the box and its items, or you can authorize specific people to be able to get into the safety deposit box as well, in the case of death or emergency. And speaking of emergencies – insurance is not provided by the banks or by the federal government for these safety deposit boxes. There are additional insurance options provided by the bank, but they do not automatically come with the boxes themselves.

Another measure you should take upon renting a safety deposit box is to take pictures of all the items inside, and store them on your computer and a hard drive that you know where to find. Though the boxes are incredibly well protected, natural disasters such as flooding and earthquakes cannot be predicted, and you should plan for them just in case.

And so, now that you have your box, what should you put in it?

Items You Should (And Should Not) Put in A Safety Deposit Box

Many banks will provide you with a list of items that should be put into a safety deposit box, and items that should be stored elsewhere. However, many of these lists include the same options, which we’re going to outline for you here!

Items that should go into a safety deposit box are items that you wouldn’t need in a hurry, that you don’t often need, and items that you consider vital to your estate or your person. These are documents such as adoption papers, birth certificates, passports (if you’re not a frequent traveler), a copy of your will, car titles, saving bonds, and property deeds. However, documents aren’t the only thing you can (and should) store—small items that are precious to you are also a viable option. These items include jewelry, heirlooms, family keepsakes, valuable collections, videos/pictures/inventories of your home possessions for insurance purposes, etc.

Items you should not include in your safety deposit boxes are a little trickier. Can you put cash in a safety deposit box? No. Rather, if your cash is in a bank account, it is protected by FDIC insurance, whereas there is no federal insurance for safety deposit boxes. Other items you should not include are ones that you would need to acquire quickly or in an emergency, such as the only copy of your will, medical directives in case of illness or an emergency, original copies of power of attorney documents, and similar items. In general, if you need to have it on hand or quickly, don’t put it in a safety deposit box. However, copies of all these documents would definitely be a worthy addition to a safety deposit box. And now, onto the boxes themselves!

How Big Are Safety Deposit Boxes? How Expensive Are Safety Deposit Boxes?

No one bank will be the same when it comes to these boxes; even the same bank’s different locations will offer different prices and sizes because most of them will be built differently and have more/less resources. That being said, most banks, even small, local ones, will have an area set aside for at least a small section of safety deposit boxes! As you’ll want a local location (unless you want to travel a bit for a bank with more resources), you’ll want to call in to your local bank to ask for its specific specifications and availability.

This may not always be the case at every bank – this is just a general idea of safe deposit box sizes. In most banks, the smallest safety deposit box will be 2 by 5 inches, and 12 inches long (2 inches depth, 5 inches width, 12 inches length). A box of this size will be relatively cheap per year: think $15-$35. The largest box (aside from the vault itself, which is so expensive it’s not even in the same category as a safety deposit box), will be around 15 by 22 inches, and 22 inches long (15 inches depth, 22 inches width, 22 inches length), and will cost you somewhere from $100-$700 per year (however, unless this is a bank specifically designed for safety deposit boxes, the fee will rarely go above $300). However, these are just the two extremes. Most banks will offer a variety of options between these two, with varying costs as well. Answering the question of “How much do safety deposit boxes cost?” differs from not only institution to institution but from branch to branch. While we obtained average prices for safety deposit boxes, exact prices often vary according to region.

We obtained prices directly from each bank’s website or by contacting a customer service representative.

Safety Deposit Box Cost at 17 of the Largest Banks

1. Wells Fargo

  • Does Wells Fargo have safety deposit boxes available? Yes.
  • Sizes of boxes available: Varies by location.
  • Annual rate: $30-$120, increasing with size.
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number: 1 (800) 869-3557 (this number will direct your call to a local branch).
  • Find your closest Wells Fargo

2. U.S. Bank

  • Does U.S. Bank have safety deposit boxes available? Yes.
  • Sizes of boxes available: 5″ x 5″, 5″ x 10″
  • Annual rate: $110 – $130 (50% off if you have a platinum or premium account with U.S. Bank)
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number: 1 (800) 872-2657 (this number will direct your call to a local branch).
  • Find your closest U.S. Bank

3. Regions Bank

  • Does Regions Bank have safety deposit boxes available? Yes.
  • Sizes of boxes available: 2″ x 5″, 3″ x 5″, 5″ x 5″, 4″ x 5″, 3″ x 10″, 5″ x 10″, 10″ x 10″
  • Annual rate: $50 – $250
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number: 1 (800) 734-4667 (this number will direct your call to a local branch).
  • Find your closest Regions Bank

4. Bank of America

  • Does Bank of America have safety deposit boxes available? Yes.
  • Sizes of boxes available: Varies by location.
  • Annual rate: 5″ x 5″ $101
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number: 1 (800) 432-1000 (this number will direct your call to a local branch).
  • Find your closest Bank of America

5. Citibank

  • Does Citibank have safety deposit boxes available? Yes.
  • Sizes of boxes available: Varies by location.
  • Annual rate: Varies by location.
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number: 1 (888) 248-4226 (this number will direct your call to a local branch).
  • Find your closest Citibank

6. Chase Bank

  • Does Chase Bank have safety deposit boxes available? Yes.
  • Sizes of boxes available: 5″ x 5″ – 10″ x 10″
  • Annual rate: $55 – $190
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number: 1 (800) 935-9935 (this number will direct your call to a local branch).
  • Find your closest Chase Bank

7. PNC Bank

  • Does PNC Bank have safety deposit boxes available? Yes.
  • Sizes of boxes available: 3″ x 5″ – 10″ x 10″
  • Annual rate: $35-$100 (must have an account with PNC)
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number: 1 (888) 762-2265 (this number will direct your call to a local branch).
  • Find your closest PNC Bank

8. Capital One

  • Does Capital One have safety deposit boxes available? Yes.
  • Sizes of boxes available: Varies by location.
  • Annual rate: Varies by location.
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number: 1 (877) 383-4802 (this number will direct your call to a local branch).
  • Find your closest Capital One

9. HSBC Bank

  • Does HSBC Bank have safety deposit boxes available? Yes.
  • Sizes of boxes available: Varies by location.
  • Annual rate: $65 – $140; Premier checking account holders receive a free small safety deposit box, where available
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number: 1 (800) 975-4722 (this number will direct your call to a local branch).
  • Find your closest HSBC Bank

10. TD Bank

  • Does TD Bank have safety deposit boxes available? Yes.
  • Sizes of boxes available: 9 square inches and up
  • Annual rate: $69 small (9 square inches), $85 medium (9.1 – 17.5 square inches), $125 large (17.6 – 27 square inches), and $5 per square inch for over-sized boxes
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number: 1 (888) 751-9000 (this number will direct your call to a local branch).
  • Find your closest TD Bank

11. BB&T Bank

  • Does BB&T Bank have safety deposit boxes available? Yes.
  • Sizes of boxes available: Varies by location.
  • Annual rate: 3″ x 5″ $21, 5″ x 5″ $40
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number: 1 (800) 226-5228 (this number will direct your call to a local branch).
  • Find your closest BB&T Bank

12. SunTrust Bank

  • Does SunTrust Bank have safety deposit boxes available? Yes.
  • Sizes of boxes available: 3″ x 5″ – 10″ x 10″
  • Annual rate: $45 – $100
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number: 1 (800) 786-8787 (this number will direct your call to a local branch).
  • Find your closest SunTrust Bank

13. Fifth Third Bank

  • Does Fifth Third Bank have safety deposit boxes available? Yes.
  • Sizes of boxes available: Varies by location.
  • Annual rate: $50 – $110; Preferred banking members or high-yield account holders receive a free 3″ x 5″ safety deposit box.
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number: 1 (866) 671-5353 (this number will direct your call to a local branch).
  • Find your closest 53 Bank here (locator is at the bottom of the page).

14. Citizens Bank

  • Does Citizens Bank have safety deposit boxes available? Yes.
  • Sizes of boxes available: 
  • Annual rate: Varies by location.
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number: 1 (800) 922-9999 (this number will direct your call to a local branch).
  • Find your closest Citizens Bank

15. Santander Bank

  • Does Santander Bank have safety deposit boxes available? Yes.
  • Sizes of boxes available: Varies by location.
  • Annual rate: $30-$120, increasing with size.
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number: 1 (877) 768-2265 (this number will direct your call to a local branch).
  • Find your closest Santander Bank

16. BMO Harris Bank

  • Does BMO Harris Bank have safety deposit boxes available? Yes.
  • Sizes of boxes available: Varies by location.
  • Annual rate: $40 – $110; Premier Service clients receive a free 3″ x 5″ safety deposit box.
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number: 1 (888) 340-2265 (this number will direct your call to a local branch).
  • Find your closest BMO Harris Bank

17. M&T Bank

  • Does M&T Bank have safety deposit boxes available? Yes.
  • Sizes of boxes available: 5″ x 5″, 3″ x 10″, 5″ x 10″
  • Annual rate: 5″ x 5″ $91.25, 3″ x 10″ $106.25, $5″ x 10-” $158.75; Select checking account holders receive a 50% discount on a safety deposit box rental
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number: 1 (800) 724-2440 (this number will direct your call to a local branch).
  • Find your closest M&T Bank

In Summary

Safe deposit box sizes and prices vary greatly from branch to branch. But two final tips: if you have multiple options, choose one higher up to avoid possible flooding damage (and put your documents in a waterproof plastic bag, like a sandwich bag), and keep track of your key! Replacing one requires drilling into the box, and is a pricey venture. Good luck!