You bought gold and silver to help keep your family financially safer in times of turmoil. But now it’s up to you to safeguard your bars and coins until that time comes, which could be in 10 days, 10 years, or some time far in the future.
How you store your precious metals will determine many things, particularly your peace of mind. Here, we weigh the pros and cons of various storage methods to help you choose the right one for you.
Safe Deposit Box
For many holders of gold and silver bars and coins, a safe deposit box at a bank does the trick as a storage option. That’s primarily because safe deposit boxes are, well, “safe.” It’s nearly impossible for anyone but you to open up your safe deposit box.
Before committing to this storage solution, though, double check your priorities and consider the following points.
For one thing, access to your precious metals is limited by the bank’s hours. If the bank is closed, you’re out of luck if you want to quickly grab some of your gold or silver.
Another drawback: The bank doesn’t insure precious metals that are stored in a safe deposit box. That’s up to you. Purchasing insurance on your own can be costly, and that could minimize the financial strength of these assets. Plus, it can be hard to find an insurer willing to cover precious metals that are being kept at a bank. Oh, and don’t forget the expense of renting the safe deposit box.
An at-home safe is the ideal place to stash important documents like birth certificates or wills, but it can also be great for storing precious metals.
Most importantly, an at-home safe keeps your gold or silver out of sight. That’s important if a burglar breaks into your house or some other ill-intentioned visitor starts snooping around. At the same time, your precious metals are always nearby. You can see your gold coins and hold your silver bars. For many people, being able to physically touch their precious metals means security.
However, keeping gold and silver in an at-home safe also means checking that your home insurance will cover the potential loss of those precious metals. You might need to buy extra coverage if you do decide to put gold or silver in an at-home safe.
Storing precious metals in a safe at home can be a good bet as long as you:
- Buy a sturdy safe that’s waterproof and fireproof.
- Install the safe in an out-of-the-way spot in your home (but one that’s not extremely difficult for you to access).
- Keep quiet about the fact that you have an at-home safe loaded with gold and silver.
Depository (Vault Storage)
Precious metals owners looking for next-level, professional security measures might want to consider a depository (otherwise known as vault storage).
The professionals at a depository know how to keep precious metals safe and to protect them from the elements, such as extreme heat. Of course, like a safe deposit box at a bank, access to a depository is limited by the facility’s hours.
Another benefit of keeping your precious metals at a depository is that the facility is usually responsible for insuring them—not you.
A depository will keep a very close eye on your precious metals. Your gold or silver can be held in the same storage area as other precious metals or they can be kept in their own special area. Regardless of how it's stored within a depository, your precious metals always belong to you.*
Did you know? The most famous bullion depository in America, United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox, holds about 147,341,858.382 ounces of gold! Can you imagine the security?
Yes, you can store gold or silver in many hidden places in and around your home. You can bury it in the backyard. Or stuff it under your mattress. Or tuck it into a box of junk in the basement. Or even hide it in the freezer.
But those storage methods hardly give you confidence about the security of your precious metals, even though you can conceivably access them at a moment’s notice.
On top of that, do you really want to expose the gold or silver you’ve purchased to potentially harmful conditions? And do you want to store your precious metals somewhere you might forget, or for someone to stumble upon them?
Keep in mind that different types of coins might require different storage methods. For instance, you don’t want to store a certified/graded coin anywhere it could be damaged, as its condition is a key factor in its overall price and market appeal. A gold or silver bar is probably the only type of precious metals you can afford to be “rough” with.
Precious Metals Storage FAQ
Q: Where Is the Safest Place for Gold and Silver?
Essentially, you can store gold and silver in three places:
- Third-party storage facility
The safest place to store your precious metals depends on your preferences. Some people believe that the safest place for gold and silver is a third-party storage facility or depository. Why? Because these facilities are paid to do one thing: protect your gold and silver.
Depositories (like the Texas Precious Metals Depository) that keep gold, silver, platinum, and palladium insure the precious metals within their facility. Their insurance policies cover theft and natural disasters. Furthermore, depositories undergo independent audits of what they’re storing.
In addition, these depositories are tightly secured. Among their typical security measures are private vaults, armed security guards, around-the-clock surveillance, alarm systems, metal detectors, bulletproof doors, and biometric scanners.
Q: Can You Keep Gold and Silver at a Bank?
Yes, you can keep gold and silver at a bank. But keep in mind that, according to The New York Times, no federal laws govern safe deposit boxes at banks.
Additionally, a bank isn’t required to compensate you if your gold or silver is stolen or destroyed while it’s in a safe deposit box, the Times reports. Therefore, you’d need to buy separate insurance to cover any gold or silver you store in a safe deposit box.
Then there’s the issue of what would happen to your gold or silver if it’s stored at a bank that goes out of business. The FDIC reports that banks fail almost every year, though these numbers are decreasing:
- In 2010, 157 banks failed.
- In 2012, 51 banks failed.
- In 2014, 18 banks failed.
- In 2016, 5 banks failed.
Q: How Much Gold and Silver Can I Keep at Home?
You can keep as much gold and silver at home as you’d like. Are there risks to consider if you increase your at-home precious metals holdings? There’s no such thing as a perfect, totally risk-free storage solution.
For one, your home probably isn’t as secure as a depository or bank. This means gold and silver that you hold at home could be more susceptible to theft (unless your house happens to be locked down like Fort Knox).
Also, some standard homeowners’ insurance policies likely wouldn’t cover the full value of gold and silver you store at home, whether it’s in the attic or a fireproof safe. At-home storage could require that you buy extra insurance coverage in case something happens to your gold and silver.
If you do choose your home as a storage facility, one expert suggests keeping half of your gold and silver in an at-home safe and the other half in a bank safe deposit box. Also, The Royal Mint recommends that when it comes to your at-home stash, tell as few people as possible where your precious metals are located.
Q: Can You Store Gold or Silver in Water?
This question might have you thinking of sunken treasure, which typically refers to gold discovered in oceans. And because saltwater doesn’t damage the yellow metal, sunken treasures containing gold are well preserved. Saltwater does, however, damage silver.
So yes, you technically could store your gold in a body of salt water, but not your silver.
More to the point, because gold and silver don’t corrode, you could store them in a water-filled fish tank.
Rather than storing them in water, though, it’s recommended to store gold and silver in dry places like a depository, a safe deposit box, or an at-home safe. If you use one of those locations, consider putting your gold and silver in a waterproof container to be on the safe side. We do not recommend storing your gold and silver, especially certified coins, anywhere other than their protective casings because changes to a certified coin’s condition could impact its price.
Examine Your Situation to Choose a Storage Method
In the end, how you keep your gold and silver safe will depend on the type of precious metals you own, how you live, and your comfort level. If you live in an apartment or a remote area, some storage methods may not be available to you. Or, perhaps your career has given you unique insight and access to special facilities. Your personal situation can open up all sorts of creative avenues for precious metals storage. Examine your life to choose the gold and silver storage method that feels best to you. That's the only way to store precious metals safely.
If you have questions about what to buy or where to store your purchases, let’s talk. Call 1-844-307-1589 for a one-on-one consultation with an experienced precious metals Account Executive.
*U.S. Money Reserve does not guarantee the performance or service of any depository.