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Keeping Your Valuables Safe

Everyone wants to feel safe and secure whether at home or when they are traveling. Additionally, people want to feel they can enjoy their valuables and other precious things without worrying about whether or not they will be stolen or broken in some way. Let’s take a look at some ways you can safeguard your valuables whether you are at home or traveling.

Safeguard Your Valuables at Home

After making sure you, your family, and your pets are secure, you should take steps to keep your most valuable possessions safe, such as jewelry, passports, fine art, financial documents, sentimental belongings, etc.

The following are some important tips to consider when determining how to keep your valuable possessions safe at home.

Purchase a fireproof safe that you can place in a secure area in your home. Keep copies of any estate planning documents and/or other legal or financial documents in the safe, a safe deposit box, or a secured file cabinet. Take pictures of your home (including pictures of each room) and your valuables to have available for insurance purposes in the case of any type of disaster or emergency situation. You may also consider videotaping your home/valuables and keeping a copy of the tape in your safe and/or in a safe deposit box. You may want to convert the videotape to a CD-ROM for easier access and storage. If you want to keep old photos secure, scan them onto your computer. Then, save them onto a CD-ROM (or other storage device) and store them in your safe or safe deposit box. This may be a time-consuming activity, but it is worthwhile in the case of emergencies or disasters.

Inventory all of your valuables and keep the inventory list on file in your computer secured by a password, and put a hard copy of the inventory list in the safe or other secure location. You should include the following in your inventory list:

    • When the item was purchased or its origin;
    • A description of the item, including any distinguishing features
    • Where the item is located.

Rent a safe deposit box at a local financial institution for your valuables that you do not need to access often (e.g., special jewelry, passports, etc.).

Obtain insurance coverage necessary to protect pieces of jewelry, art, or other sentimental valuables; some of these valuables may require an appraisal.

Back up all computer information onto a secure external hard drive that can be removed quickly if needed.

Use an alarm system for your home that will detect burglary, robbery, fire and other harmful elements to your home (e.g., carbon dioxide). If you do not feel you need an alarm system, be sure to secure your windows and doors any time you leave your home and when you go to bed.

Etch your name on all computer equipment so it is easily detectable should it be stolen or misplaced.

Avoid using a “hide a key” at your home; give an extra key to a trusted neighbor or friend if you are concerned.

Tips for Keeping Valuables Safe When You Travel

When you go on any type of trip, whether business or pleasure, you will usually bring some of your valuables with you. For example, you may need to bring cash, your passport, or a nice watch.

Whatever the valuables may be, you should consider the following tips to keep them safe when you are traveling:

Obtain travel insurance before you leave on your trip. You can obtain this type of insurance for your valuables through your home or auto insurance company, through a credit card company, or even an insurance company that specializes in travel. You may even be able to purchase insurance through the airline with whom you are flying.

Choose a hotel that has an in-room safe and security features. Be sure to keep any valuables you cannot carry with you, or you choose not to carry with you, in the safe at all times. You may wish to request a hotel room between the third and seventh floors. A room on one of these floors will prevent outsiders from entering your room through a window, balcony or patio, and it will allow you to leave safely in the case of an emergency. If you do not have a safe in your room, and you have a passport, keep it with you. If you cannot, put your passport and travel itinerary inside the pages of a book or magazine. Keep your hotel room door locked at all times and do not open it for strangers or newly met “friends;” plan to meet them in the lobby or bar.  Many times a robber or burglar will befriend victims in order to gain their trust and then access their valuables.

Only take those valuables that are most necessary. The less you take on your trip, the better. Then, try to carry your valuables with you at all times. Take only the money you will need with you each day when you leave your lodging arrangements (e.g., hotel room). Put the rest in a safe or divide up the cash and put it in a book or magazine. When walking around with cash or credit cards of any type, try to keep them in your front pocket. Additionally, you may want to consider carrying a money purse around your waste to keep everything in front of you and in your sight, or safety pin the money directly to a belt loop or other hidden piece of clothing.

Choose a rental car that has a full trunk. Avoid renting any car with a hatch back as you can see through to any valuables you may be carrying, and it can be accessed easily from the front of the car.

Make copies of your itinerary and passport. It is suggested that when you travel to a foreign county, you make four copies of these documents: one to carry on you at all times, one to keep in your room, one to leave with a designated person at home, and one to keep in an obvious place in your home.

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