A home safe is a fortress for your prized possessions and a sanctuary for your peace of mind. In an unpredictable world, a safe might be exactly what you need to protect your valuables. How do you know if one is right for you, and which one do you need? Read on.

Reasons to buy a home safe:

There are many reasons why people buy home safes. These include:

  • Protecting valuables from theft
  • Storing firearms safely
  • Safeguarding important documents
  • Keeping items safe from damage during fires, floods, and natural disasters

 Types of Safes

The reasons that you want a home safe will determine the type of safe that you need. Safes are specially designed with certain features, depending upon their use. Note that you can get safes that combine features such as a burglary safe that is also a fireproof safe. Here are some of the most common types:

Burglary Safe

This type of safe protects your cash and other valuables from being stolen. While no safe is 100% secure, a burglary safe is designed with sturdy material that can withstand attacks by hammers and cutting instruments. Burglary safes are often classified based on the tools and techniques required to break into them. Common burglary ratings include:

  • Residential Security Container (RSC): Suitable for residential use, providing basic protection against burglaries.
  • TL (Tool Resistant): Indicates resistance against common hand tools like hammers, chisels, and drills.
  • TRTL (Torch and Tool Resistant): Resistant to torches and more advanced tools.
  • TXTL (Explosive and Tool Resistant): Provides high-level protection against explosives and advanced tools.

Data Safe

A data safe is used to store electronic data such as hard drives, USB sticks, DVDs, film, tapes, and more. These products can be damaged by heat, humidity, dust, and electric/static charges. Not all safes will protect computer media and data. A data safe uses specially insulated material to keep the inner part cooler than traditional safes.

Fireproof Safe

This type of safe protects its contents from heat, fire, and smoke damage. Fireproof safes usually have a thin metal exterior, a middle core made of flame-retardant material, and an inner layer of felt or carpet. However, since the metal on a fireproof safe is typically thin, it can be easily punctured or cut with simple tools. Fireproof safes are tested to see how long they can maintain a certain internal temperature without damaging the contents. Common ratings include:

  • 30-minute
  • 60-minute
  • 90-minute
  • 2-hour
  • 3-hour

Floor Safe

A floor safe is embedded in the floor, usually in the concrete foundation. Floor safes are great for concealing valuables. They protect well against burglaries and fire. However, in the event of a fire, floor safes often fill with water so you will want to include any contents in waterproof containers. Floor safes also can be expensive and messy to install. You need to install them in a concrete foundation which means the location might be inconvenient.

Gun Safe

A gun safe is ideal for guns and ammunition. These safes can be small enough to fit in a nightstand drawer or larger depending on how many weapons you must store. Many people keep them easily accessible but out of view, so guns are safely tucked away from children, guests, and importantly criminals. Look for a gun safe with a minimum of a 1-hour fireproof rating, a secure locking mechanism, and half-inch or thicker steel.

Jewelry Safe

While you might keep your necklaces, earrings, and bracelets in a jewelry box, you might consider a jewelry safe for higher worth items. After all, jewelry is an easy “grab and go” option for thieves and it’s relatively easy for them to resell precious gems and gold. Jewelry safes often include fabric-lined drawers for organizing your collection. You’ll want to have a burglary safe and fireproof version to keep jewelry from being damaged in the event of a fire.

Wall Safe

These safes are installed in your wall and can be concealed. They’re usually mounted between support beams. You’re limited by size and weight. You don’t want the wall safe to stick out into another wall; nor do you want it too heavy to be held up when attached to drywall and wood studs. While wall safes may be placed in convenient locations, they are less secure than a safe bolted to the floor. A wall safe can be cut out of the wall.

Waterproof Safe

A waterproof safe keeps its contents dry even when the safe is fully submerged in water. While no safe is truly waterproof, there are different water protection ratings. Look for ETL water protection ratings that identify the timing and depth, such as up to 8 inches deep for 24 hours or fully submerged for up to 72 hours. Waterproof safes can help in cases of extreme weather.

Types of Locks

When you buy a safe, not only do you have to consider the body, but the lock that secures it. Following are the different kinds of locks available.

  • Key – If you have the key that fits the lock, you gain access. Certain key locks allow you to change keys for times when keys are lost, stolen or if you think they’ve been duplicated.
  • Mechanical Combination – Similar to a combination lock that you may have had on your locker or to secure your bike, a mechanical combination lock relies on a dial or wheel that you spin in a certain sequence. The combination locks for safes can have as many as 1 million code variations, and the four-wheel variety can have 100 million code combinations.
  • Digital Combination – These combination locks use a keypad rather than a dial to enter your numbers. Codes may be changed as necessary. Digital combination locks rely on batteries, so make sure yours are up to date.
  • Dual – A dual key and combination lock gives you the option to use either method to open your safe.
  • Biometric – These locks work by scanning your fingerprint, palm print, face, or eye. There’s no need to remember a code or carry a key. They can be set up to store more than one user’s credentials to allow access to several people.

 Safes come in many sizes.

You will usually see measurements in cubic feet. To find the interior size of a safe in cubic feet, multiply its height, width, and depth, then divide by 1728. For instance, if a safe is 20” x 15” x 20”, its interior is approximately 3.47 cubic feet. It’s wise to select a slightly larger safe than you initially think you need, as your storage needs may grow over time.

Whether or not you decide to purchase a safe, you can take steps to prevent a burglary. Finally, protect the things inside your home with personal property coverage. This will help ensure your valuables are fully covered.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

California Casualty
Latest posts by California Casualty (see all)

Pin It on Pinterest