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Secure your home against identity theft with a safe

Your identity is more valuable to a burglar than your television. Consider a safe for the home, says top locksmith Paul Byrne from Alexandra Locksmiths.

Should you choose a digital or key-operated safe?

Good key-operated and digital safes (with an electronic keypad) are equally secure – it’s a matter of personal preference. There are pros and cons with either design.

Digital safes are usually more expensive and require you to memorise a code. A key-operated safe, on the other hand, means you’ve an extra key on your bunch which could be lost or stolen.

Where should a safe be fitted?

It is essential to fix a safe securely. Safes are usually fixed to a wall, the floor or, ideally, both.

The best fixing would be an exterior brick wall and concrete floor (in the basement of a house, for example), although it is acceptable to fix the safe though an exterior wall alone. Freestanding safes are also available.

You should also try to put the safe in an accessible location to encourage use.  

What makes a good safe?

Factors determining the security of a safe include:

  • the thickness and strength of the walls and door
  • the materials used and general build quality
  • the security and complexity of the lock and bolt mechanics.

How are safes graded?

Safes are graded according to their performance in simulated attacks. They are then awarded a Eurograde rating on a scale from 0 to 6, with 0 offering the lowest protection and 6 the highest.

Each of the Eurograde ratings corresponds with a level of cover that your insurance company will offer in cash left overnight in the safe. So for example, a cash rating of £5,000, means that your insurance company should insure £5,000 in cash overnight.

The Eurograde cash ratings are:

  • 0 – £6,000 cash limit
  • 1 – £10,000 cash limit
  • 2 – £17,500 cash limit
  • 3 – £35,000 cash limit
  • 4 – £60,000 cash limit
  • 5 – £100,000 cash limit
  • 6 – £150,000 cash limit.

The cash rating, in turn, determines the jewellery rating which is always 10 times the cash rating.

In other words, a safe with a cash rating of £5,000 means you could store £50,000 in jewellery or other valuables.

If you have a specific, high-value item that you want to secure in a safe, you should contact your insurance company. they may require a safe with a higher rating than the value of your item.

How much does a good safe cost?

As with all locks, you get what you pay for. A good quality digital or key-operated safe can be bought for around £250 (plus labour if a locksmith is fitting it).

While you can buy safes in DIY stores, they are often poor quality compared to those purchased and installed by locksmiths.

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