When looking for a safe, you have probably noticed that they have different cash ratings. What does this mean?
A security safe’s cash rating is to do with the amount of cash that it can securely store according to insurers. You can also use it to work out the amount of jewellery or valuables that that you can keep in that safe. Find out more below.
- Cash rating and insurance coverage
- Cash rating and independent test certificates
- Cash rating and storing valuables
- Types of safe with higher cash ratings
- Which cash rating do I need?
Cash rating and insurance coverage
A safe’s cash rating tells you its level of security. Specifically, the cash rating refers to the amount of cash that an insurer will usually cover when it’s kept in the safe. For instance, your home or business contents insurance might only cover £500 of cash in the event of a burglary, but they may agree to cover up to £5,000 of cash if it is kept in a safe with a £5,000 cash rating.
Always check with your insurer before purchasing and using a safe with a high cash rating, as some insurance companies are more stringent than others and may want the safe to have an independent testing certificate. Their willingness to cover your cash up to the cash rating threshold might also depend on some other factors like your postcode. Don’t just assume your cash will be covered according to your safe’s cash rating – check with your insurer first.
For the contents of your safe to be covered by your insurance, the safe also needs to be installed properly according to the manufacturer’s instructions (possibly by a professional), and left properly locked at all times.
Don’t forget that all contents insurance has certain other requirements too, such as leaving your doors and windows locked and using your burglar alarm if you have told your insurers that you have one. Make sure you read your insurance documents carefully and know what you need to do so that if a burglary does take place, you are able to put in a successful insurance claim to get your cash back.
If you ever want to store more cash or valuables than the safe’s cash rating allows, you should always contact your insurance company to let them know and check what they will cover. See our article How much cash can I keep at home? for more advice.
Cash rating and independent test certificates
The most secure safes have been independently tested and have a test certificate – you might see safes with test certificates like EN 14450 S1, EN 14450 S2 or the Eurograde certification EN 1143-1. Eurograde certified safes also have a number rating of 0 to 13 (e.g. Eurograde 3), with higher numbers reflecting higher security and higher cash ratings.
Some safes may also be advertised as AiS (Association of Insurance Surveyors) approved, or ECBS approved – this is an approval from the prestigious The European Certification Body which tests and awards the Eurograde security certifications.
These certificates give you and your insurer peace of mind that the safe really can live up to its security claims. Your contents insurer might insist that your safe has one of these independent test certificates.
If your insurer wants your safe to have one of these test certificates, be very cautious about safes that are described as ‘designed to comply with EN 14450’ or ‘equal to EN 1443-1’ or those with ‘advisory’ cash ratings – this does not mean that the safe has been officially tested or certified to those standards and the safe contents are unlikely to be covered by your insurance in the case of a break-in.
Some security safes also have a fire rating, which is measured in minutes or hours. A safe with a 30 minute fire rating is able to withstand heat and flames for up to 30 minutes. That’s how long you can expect your cash or valuables to remain undamaged in the event of a house fire or a fire at your business premises.
Cash rating and storing valuables
You might not want to store large amounts of cash at home, but you may want somewhere safe to keep valuable pieces of jewellery, antiques or heirlooms. A safe’s cash rating can help you out here – times the cash rating by 10 to find the maximum value of other items that should be stored in that safe. For example, a safe with a £5,000 cash rating is suitable for protecting up to £50,000 worth of valuables.
Again, you must check with your contents insurance company that they are willing to cover valuables in your chosen safe up to this limit. They may want you to use a particular type of safe or one with a specific test certificate, or have other rules about the type of valuables you can insure.
Types of safes with higher cash ratings
Safes with higher cash ratings have extra features to make them more secure. They tend to have thicker doors and bodies made from very tough materials, and/or higher-quality locks and locking mechanisms.
Some types of safes tend to have higher cash ratings too. Wall safes that can be built into a wall and hidden from view have cash ratings of up to about £6,000. These are usually intended for home use. Underfloor safes can be concealed between floorboards or securely surrounded by concrete. These also have cash ratings of up to about £6,000.
For a higher security option to store larger amounts of cash or valuables at home or work, you need to look at professional-level security safes. These are made from heavy-duty materials with strong, sophisticated locking mechanisms and can generally be bolted to the floor or permanently fixed to a wall. We stock a collection of security safes with cash ratings all the way up to £150,000 – these are suitable for storing up to £1.5million worth of valuables or jewellery.
Which cash rating do I need?
Safes with higher cash ratings are usually more expensive – you get what you pay for in terms of security. So if you know you are never going to store more than £1,000 at home, it probably isn’t worth paying a lot of money for a safe with a £100,000 cash rating. When choosing a safe, work out the maximum amount of valuables or cash that you will ever need to store at one time.
If you are buying a safe for business use, try to imagine what your needs might be 10 or 20 years into the future. Self-employed or home-based businesses that handle cash should certainly consider investing in a good home safe. These contractors and freelancers often have to hold onto cash payments for a short while before depositing them in the bank. Do you expect the business to grow and the amount of cash handled to increase? If so, buy a safe with a higher cash rating than you currently need.
Other businesses that need to consider the cash rating of their safe include most retail and service industries where customers pay in cash, along with any business where valuable items change hands and are left on the premises, such as pawn brokers and shops selling high-value pieces of jewellery or antiques. If cash or valuables are ever left on your premises overnight or for several hours before they are taken to the bank, a security safe with a cash rating that meets your insurer’s requirements is a must.
There are more factors to consider when choosing a safe than just its cash rating. Think about the size of the valuables you want to store – will they fit in your preferred safe? You should also consider where you will put the safe so that you buy one that fits in the available space. How many people should be allowed to access the safe – do you want to use keys or have a code or fingerprint recognition locks? Does the safe need to be waterproof or especially fire resistant?
See our Beginner’s Guide to Choosing a Safe for more help considering your options. You can also call our friendly, professional team for free advice on 0800 567 7549, or email us.