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Safe Deposit Box Agreement - No Valuables Allowed

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Question: 
We were discussing putting a statement in our safe deposit box agreement that the customer agrees not to place currency, coin, jewelery or any other valuables in their safe deposit box. Are there any laws against this type of verbiage and is it effective in a lawsuit against the bank for missing items?
Answer: 

If your goal is to drive business out the door, you might consider that sort of contract provision. Storing jewelry and valuables (including coin and currency collectibles) is what a lot of people look to safe deposit boxes for. Safe deposit laws are universally at the state level and they vary widely. Whether the laws in your state, including basic contract laws, would permit this sort of prohibition and whether including it in your contracts would provide meaningful liability protection for the bank are matters you should discuss with a local attorney with knowledge in the area of safe deposit law. My concern about the language you propose is more about perceptions than legal concerns. If you tell the public that you don't allow things of value in your safe deposit vaults, your message could be interpreted to say that you are concerned about the security of your safe deposit service. That could morph into public concern about the overall security of your institution.

First published on BankersOnline.com 8/18/08

First published on 08/18/2008

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