A safe deposit box, also known as a safety deposit box, is an individually secured container, usually held within a larger safe or bank vault. Safe deposit boxes are generally located in banks, post offices or other institutions. Safe deposit boxes are used to store valuable possessions, such as gemstones, precious metals, currency, marketable securities, important documents (e.g. wills, property deeds, or birth certificates), or computer data, that need protection from theft, fire, flood, tampering, or other perils. An individual can purchase insurance for the safe deposit box in order to cover e.g. theft, fire, flooding or terrorist attacks.
Many hotels, resorts and cruise ships also offer safe deposit boxes or small safes to their patrons, for temporary use during their stay. These facilities may be located behind the reception desk, or securely anchored within private guest rooms for privacy.
The contents of safe deposit boxes may be seized under the legal theory of abandoned property.