Safe deposit boxes at the bank are often considered the best way to store gold bullion bars or coins. They offer more security than home storage, they're cheap to rent, and you can store just about anything in them without having to declare the contents. It all sounds great. However, when it comes to storing large amounts of precious metals, a bank safe has several risks.
We've all seen bank robbery movies where criminals tunnel into the vault to steal jewelry, gold and other valuables before vanishing into thin air.
In this type of situation, most people think that only the bank loses out, since the owners of the safe deposit boxes are insured... but this is not the case. Insurance terms can vary significantly from one bank to another, but as a general rule the contents of the safe deposit box are only partially insured, if at all. A bank does not require to know what is in a client's safe deposit box, so they do not insure the entire contents to the fullest extent.
Of course, bank robberies are rare, but the lack of insurance is not the only risk inherent in safe deposit boxes.
During the financial crises in Cyprus, Greece, and more recently in Lebanon, banks closed their doors to their clients for an indefinite period. Not only did they freeze bank accounts, but they also forbade access to the safe deposit boxes. This type of restriction prevents people from having a means of payment at hand to meet their needs, when access to traditional means of payment (cash, credit cards, etc.) is blocked. We could eventually see a similar scenario in France or elsewhere in Europe.
Banks seem to obey laws that apply only to them, and if they decide to block access to the vaults, there is nothing you can do about it. They may also close for other reasons, such as construction or vacations. Except that in the event of a crisis, you will need to have quick access to your precious metals.
People generally invest in gold for security, to protect themselves against risks. By storing your gold in a bank, you remain highly exposed to the banking and financial system.
The size of a bank vault is limited. It will be difficult to store a large quantity of metals, especially silver metal, which is much denser and bulkier than gold.
In addition, to avoid deterioration, some metals need to be kept away from sources of moisture and heat.
This is why it is much safer to store your bullion and coins through a company specialized in the safekeeping of precious metals, where the conditions of preservation are adapted and the storage capacity is practically unlimited, even if the cost is a little higher than that of a bank safe. Moreover, your investment will be insured against the worst scenarios.