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How to keep money safe at home

| Insurance

Keeping cash stored in your home, whether it’s for convenience, as a part of a small ‘emergency fund’ or even as a complete alternative to using traditional bank accounts, is not as unusual as you might think. In fact, keeping money at home instead of in a bank tends to become common practice after a financial crisis, such as the one in the UK in 2008. However, whilst having designated spaces in the home to keep money readily accessible may have its advantages, storing cash in the wrong places could prove very costly, particularly in the event of a fire, flood or burglary.

From under the mattress ‘home banks’ to bedside tables, wardrobes and even the loft and attic spaces, the typical home provides many potential locations for cash to be stored. But where is the best place to safely keep money in the home, is there a legal limit to the amount you can store, and does your home insurance policy cover cash in the event of theft or damage? For the answers to these questions and more information about how to keep money safe at home, read on.


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Where to store money at home

Although keeping large amounts of money in your property rather than in a bank or building society is certainly not advisable, there are times and situations in which you may find yourself with cash in the home. For people who are less able or find it difficult to travel, getting to the bank on a regular basis isn’t always easy and keeping a small cash fund in the home could be a necessity. However, if you regularly keep significant amounts of money in the house, it’s important to note the risks involved. These include the potential threat of fire and flood damage and theft, as well as the money losing value over time due to the fact you’re not earning any interest on it. Nevertheless, if, for whatever reason, keeping money in your home is unavoidable, knowing the most sensible places to keep it is essential.

Significant amounts of money (anything over £100) should ideally be stored under lock and key when kept in the home. This can include in locked drawers that you know to be secure, a lockable bureau or a secure filing cabinet. However, if you regularly keep significant amounts of cash in the home, and you also have other valuable items such as jewellery, watches and official documentation that needs to be kept secure, investing in a good quality safe is a sensible idea. A safe’s cash rating will tell you its level of security, and advise whether or not it can also protect your valuables against fire and water damage.

For smaller amounts of cash that you intend to keep in your home, a safe may not be necessary. However, it’s still important to find a sensible and secure storage location. According to home security expert Jonathan Pass, some of the best places to keep small amounts of cash in the home include:

  • The attic – usually a safe place to store cash, particularly from burglars due to it typically being an awkward location to access in the home. The attic is also usually one of the least frequently visited rooms in the house and is highly unlikely to flood.
  • Inside books and DVD cases – although it may sound cliché, storing small amounts of money inside books or DVD cases, before placing them back amongst a larger collection, can provide a simple yet inconspicuous location for keeping small amounts of cash hidden and secure.

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How much money can you keep at home legally?

There is currently no legal limit on how much money you can keep in your home in the UK. In theory, if someone wanted to store £1 million in cash, they would be allowed to do so without breaking any laws. However, the impracticality of keeping such large amounts of money safe and secure may outweigh the perceived benefits.

Does home insurance cover cash?

Cash can be covered by your home insurance policy, particularly under your contents cover, but there will likely be a set limit to the amount that your insurance provider will pay out in the event of theft, fire or water damage.

whilst you can usually claim for physical money that’s been stolen or destroyed in your home, you may need to provide evidence that substantiates the specific amount you were claiming for, why you had that amount stored in the house and where in the home it was when it was stolen or damaged/destroyed. The insurance provider will then assess the claim before deciding whether they will pay out or reject it on the grounds that the claim exceeds the limits outlined in your policy, or negligence on your part that potentially led to the theft or damage occurring.

In most cases though, you can rest easy knowing that the money you keep at home is safe and covered on your insurance.

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