Precious metals like gold and silver are considered secure investments, helping investors diversify their portfolios and hedge against market fluctuations. You can choose from several precious metals storage options for your newly acquired assets.
However, keeping your precious metals at home offers advantages over alternatives like safety deposit boxes, private depositories, mobile vaults, or peer-to-peer storage.
Storing precious metals at home provides access to your assets without third-party fees or risks, putting you in complete control of your investment’s security. Understanding at-home storage options can help you balance safety and accessibility when investing in precious metals to grow your wealth.
Why Choose Home Storage Over Third-Party Storage Facilities?
Facilities like bank safety deposit boxes or professional vaults offer storage services for your precious metals. However, these options come with drawbacks.
While they promote advanced security features as a major benefit, storing your gold, silver, or platinum assets with a third party is less safe than you might assume. Using a third-party service means relinquishing possession of your precious metals to another organization, making them harder to access and protect.
Additional problems with third-party storage include:
- Storage fees. Unlike home storage, using a third-party service requires paying recurring fees, negatively impacting your investment returns.
- Privacy and anonymity. Third-party storage solutions must keep records of their clients’ names and the assets they store for security and accountability reasons. They may be unsuitable if privacy and anonymity are among your top concerns.
- Limited access. A third-party storage facility is typically bound to opening hours and appointments. These factors limit your ability to quickly withdraw your precious metal assets, such as during emergencies or market volatility periods.
- Insurance considerations. Insurance coverage provided by banks and private vaults is often limited, and some storage solutions may have no coverage. For example, FDIC deposit insurance does not cover safe deposit boxes or their contents.
Types of Home Storage Solutions
Using reliable home storage solutions is the safest way to protect your investments. Home storage can be adapted to your needs and lets you retain complete control and access to your precious metals.
Typically, there are four options for secure home storage of precious metal bullion, numismatic coins (when placed inside a coin sleeve or protective case), and other assets like jewelry. These include standard box safes, upright safes, floor safes, and diversion safes:
- Box safes. Standard, box-shaped home safes for home storage are available in various sizes and shapes. While each offers different capacities, locking mechanisms, and protection ratings, box safes are medium-sized and designed to fit inside furniture.
Typical locations for box safes include shelves inside your wardrobe, under the kitchen sink, or inside the laundry room. If a break-in occurs, the weight and design of a box safe will deter most thieves from taking it; however, you may want to secure it to the wall or floor for extra protection.
- Upright safes. An upright safe is a large, cabinet-sized safe with plenty of interior capacity for all your precious metal assets. While there are many generic upright safes, some specialized models, such as gun safes intended for long guns (rifles, shotguns), are also suitable for storing gold, silver, or platinum.
While finding a suitable place to install an upright safe may be more challenging, their size and shape act as deterrents against burglars looking to lift and steal it.
- Floor safes. Floor safes are designed for installation inside a hard floor, providing a secure storage space under your existing furniture. Most floor safes are designed to fit into your home’s foundation by cutting a hole into the concrete surface and inserting the safe.
A floor safe can offer many benefits over a box or upright models. They are easy to conceal under floorboards, for example, can be hidden under existing furniture, and protect your assets from the elements.
- Diversion safes. A diversion safe is not a true home safe. Instead, it is a storage compartment that resembles everyday objects or house elements. Examples include hollow books, bleach containers, candles, wall plugs, and food cans.
Diversion safes are unsuited as a primary storage solution due to their low capacity and lack of protection. However, a diversion safe can hold smaller valuables, hiding them in plain sight. They may be an excellent temporary storage solution for small collections of precious metal items, especially if you need access for fast liquidity.
Selecting an appropriate safe for your precious metals is a critical step that requires careful consideration. You must compare security ratings, size, and the safe’s resistance to environmental factors like fire or moisture to choose the right solution for safeguarding your valuable investment.
An essential feature determining the suitability of a safe is its security ratings, which determine the safe’s durability, materials, and resistance against theft, fire, and flood damage.
Most quality safes have been tested and reviewed by independent entities such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or ETL-Intertek. Look for the following three types of security ratings:
- Theft or burglar rating. These ratings indicate minimum material and safe construction requirements to protect them from tampering for a set period. For example, a UL TL-30 safe is rated to resist tampering with hand tools, lockpicks, drills, grinders, power cutters, and other tools for up to 30 minutes. Additionally, UL TL-30 safes must feature an UL-approved combination or electronic lock.
- Fireproof rating. A quality safe should protect its contents from damage due to fires or high temperatures. Look for a safe with fireproof ratings from UL or ETL-Intertek. For example, a UL Class 350 2-hour rating guarantees the interior of a safe does not exceed 350°F when exposed to a fire or heat of 1,850°F for two hours.
- Ingress protection rating. One of the most widely recognized standards for safes and other items is the IEC’s ingress protection (IP) rating. IP codes feature two numbers; the first is resistance against solid particles (e.g., dust), and the second is resistance to water and liquids.
Some IP codes feature a third character for particular testing protocols. One of the highest ratings is IP69K, which denotes a dust-tight safe (6) that is also resistant against high-pressure, high-temperature water jets (9) at close ranges (K).
Interior Capacity and Asset Sizes
Another critical consideration when choosing a safe is ensuring the model you pick has enough interior space for all your physical assets. For instance, precious metal coins require the least storage space.
Bullion bars can be large and bulky. A 1-kilo gold or silver bar has dimensions comparable to a smartphone. Storing multiple bars may require a large amount of storage space.
Precious metal jewelry can vary in size, type, and design. Some types, such as rings, can be smaller than coins. Others, such as large chokers, tiaras, and other display pieces, can exceed the bulk of a bullion bar. Adapt your precious metals storage options according to the type and size of assets you wish to store.
How to Protect Precious Metals in a Safe
While using a safe protects your precious metal assets, they may still be vulnerable to degradation if improperly stored or handled in your safe. The three main risks are scratching, tarnishing, and chemical reactions.
- Scratching. Gold and silver are softer than rhodium, palladium, and platinum, making them more vulnerable to scratching. If you have a large quantity of gold and silver coins or bars, consider storing each in protective cases or containers.
- Tarnishing. Silver tarnishes when continuously exposed to air, moisture, and pollutants. While storing silver in a safe can partially protect it from tarnishing, no safe is completely airtight. Store your silver in individual, airtight containers to prevent them from tarnishing.
- Chemical reactions. Exposure to sweat and oils naturally produced by human skin is chemical exposure that can tarnish or degrade your investments. Handle your assets as infrequently as possible, and wear latex or nitrile gloves before touching your precious metals. If you have any stained or chemically damaged items, keep them separate from your pristine items to avoid cross-contamination.
Diversify Your Portfolio with AU Precious Metals
Are you considering investing in precious metals like gold, silver, platinum, palladium, or rhodium? Our friendly and professional staff will help you find the right precious metals for diversifying your portfolio.
We also offer storage tips and recommendations, ensuring your new investments retain their value and beauty. Contact us today to learn more about our precious metal services.