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

In This Article

Safe Deposit Boxes 101

A safe deposit box  — often referred to as a safety deposit — is a small, locked metal container stored in a vault within a bank. These boxes involve 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 safe deposit box, which provides an additional layer of security. The boxes provide a space that will hold and protect your valuable items or vital documents from any potential security risks or disasters. Most banks, even small, local ones, will have an area set aside for at least a small section of safe deposit boxes.

You pay an annual fee for the safe deposit box. In some cases, you can choose to rent an entire vault annually, though this option comes with a high price tag. You can either choose to be the sole owner of the box and its items or you can authorize specific people to also be able to get into the safe deposit box. 

Neither banks nor the federal government automatically provides insurance for safe deposit boxes. Many banks will provide the option for you to purchase insurance, but this will be an added fee.

How Big Are Safe Deposit Boxes and How Much Do They Cost?

In most banks, the smallest safe deposit box will be 2″ x 5″ x 12″ (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 safe deposit box), will be around 15″ x 22″ x 22″ (15 inches depth, 22 inches width, 22 inches length) and will cost you $100-$300 per year. In rare cases with banks that were specifically designed for safe deposit boxes, this fee can reach $700). However, these are just the two extremes. Most banks will offer a variety of options between these two, with varying costs as well.

Safe Deposit Box Options at 17 of the Largest Banks

Answering the question of “How much do safe deposit boxes cost?” differs from not only institution to institution but from branch to branch.  We obtained prices directly from each bank’s website or by contacting a customer service representative. Keeping in mind that these prices may vary by region, we’ve included a general phone number that will direct your call to a local branch which can tell you about specific prices in your area. 

1. Bank of America

  • Sizes of boxes available: Vary by location.
  • Annual rate: 5″ x 5″ — $101
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number: (800) 432-1000
  • Find your nearest Bank of America location

2. BB&T Bank

  • Sizes of boxes available: 3″ x 5″ and 5″ x 5″
  • Annual rate: 3″ x 5″ — $21, 5″ x 5″ — $40. Elite Gold account holders get a free 3″ x 5″ box.
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number:  (800) 226-5228
  • Note: Capital One used to offer safe deposit boxes but no longer does. The locations that formerly had safe deposit boxes are now BB&T Bank branch locations.
  • Find your closest BB&T Bank location

3. BMO Harris Bank

  • Sizes of boxes available: Vary by location.
  • Annual rate: $40-$110; Premier Service clients receive a free 3″ x 5″ safe deposit box.
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number: (888) 340-2265
  • Find your nearest BMO Harris Bank location

4. Chase Bank

  • Sizes of boxes available: 5″ x 5″ – 10″ x 10″
  • Annual rate: $55-$190. Premier Plus Checking account holders receive a free box.
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number: (800) 935-9935
  • Find your nearest Chase Bank location

5. Citibank

  • Sizes of boxes available: Vary by location.
  • Annual rate: Starting at $65 for a 3″ x 5″ box.
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number: (888) 248-4226
  • Find your nearest Citibank location

6. Citizens Bank

  • Sizes of boxes available: Vary by location
  • Annual rate: $25-$80
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number: (800) 922-9999
  • Find your nearest Citizens Bank location

7. Fifth Third Bank

  • Sizes of boxes available: Vary by location.
  • Annual rate: $50-$110; Preferred banking members or high-yield account holders receive a free 3″ x 5″ safe deposit box.
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number: (866) 671-5353
  • Find your nearest 53 Bank location (locator is at the bottom of the page).

8. HSBC Bank

  • Sizes of boxes available: Vary by location.
  • Annual rate: $65-$140; Premier checking account holders receive a free small safe deposit box, where available
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number: (800) 975-4722
  • Find your nearest HSBC Bank location

9. KeyBank

  • Sizes of boxes available: Varies by location
  • Annual rate: $55-$275
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes
  • General phone number: (800) 539-2968
  • Find your nearest KeyBank location

10. M&T Bank

  • 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 safe deposit box rental.
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number: (800) 724-2440
  • Find your nearest M&T Bank location

11. PNC Bank

  • Sizes of boxes available: 3″ x 5″ – 10″ x 10″
  • Annual rate: $35-$100
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number: (888) 762-2265
  • Find your nearest PNC Bank location

12. Regions Bank

  • Sizes of boxes available: 2″ x 5″ – 10″ x 10″
  • Annual rate: $50-$250
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number: (800) 734-4667
  • Find your nearest Regions Bank location

13. Santander Bank

  • Sizes of boxes available: Vary by location.
  • Annual rate: $30-$120, increasing with size.
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number:  (877) 768-2265
  • Find your nearest Santander Bank location

14. SunTrust Bank

  • Sizes of boxes available: 3″ x 5″ – 10″ x 10″
  • Annual rate: $45-$100
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number: (800) 786-8787
  • Find your nearest SunTrust Bank location

15. TD Bank

  • 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 an additional $5 per square inch for over-sized boxes
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number: (888) 751-9000
  • Find your nearest TD Bank location

16. United Bank

  • Sizes of boxes available: Vary by location
  • Annual rate: $40-$150
  • Extra insurance available? Yes
  • General phone number: (866) 959-2265
  • Find your nearest United Bank location

17. U.S. Bank

  • Sizes of boxes available: 5″ x 5″, 5″ x 10″
  • Annual rate: $110-$130. If you have a Platinum or Premium account with U.S. Bank, you’ll receive 50% off the cost of a safe deposit box.
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number: (800) 872-2657
  • Find your nearest U.S. Bank location

18. Wells Fargo

  • Sizes of boxes available: Varies by location.
  • Annual rate: $30-$120
  • Extra insurance offered? Yes.
  • General phone number: (800) 869-3557
  • Find your nearest Wells Fargo location

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

Many banks will provide you with a list of items that you should put into a safe deposit box and other items that you should store elsewhere. In general, items that should go into a safe deposit box are items that you wouldn’t need in a hurry, that you don’t often need, and 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.

Documents aren’t the only thing you can (and should) store in a safe deposit back; small items that are precious to you are also a viable option. These items include jewelry, heirlooms, family keepsakes, valuable collections, and videos/pictures/inventories of your home possessions for insurance purposes. If you do decide to rent a safe deposit box, take pictures of all the items you put 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.

Items you should not include in your safe deposit boxes are a little trickier. Should you put cash in a safe deposit box? No. If your cash is in a bank account, it is protected by FDIC insurance, whereas there is no federal insurance for safe deposit boxes. You should also not include items you may need to get 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 safe deposit box. However, copies of all these documents would definitely be a worthy addition to a safe deposit box.

In Summary

Safe deposit box sizes and prices vary greatly from branch to branch. For small boxes, you can expect to pay less than $40 per year; for larger boxes, you can easily pay over $100. Remember to exercise caution when choosing what to put in a safe deposit box — while family keepsakes should be placed in a safe deposit box, documents you’d need to obtain quickly in case of an emergency are better kept on hand.