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Antique Safes/Suitable safe for Canada and USA



Good to see you are still out there - hope you are keeping well.  I have been asked by a UK insurer to recommend two safes; one to secure $26.5 CAD and the other for $14.5 USD.  It seems pointless recommending European or British products but I am not familiar with cash ratings for UL rated safes.  Can you give me any guidance?




I know I may be missing something - but it seems kind of pointless to lock up $14.50, so I'm sure that you must have meant either thousands, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Generally insurance companies will "dictate" to their customer what level of security that THEY require for the "risk", or the amount being insured.   So while I do not believe that is the insurance companies responsibility to recommend a particular "BRAND" of safe, it is perfectly acceptable for them to demand a certain level of protection.    Requiring a particular brand of safe could be viewed as a conflict of interest, as the insurance agent may be receiving a kickback from that particular safe company.   Demanding a "LEVEL" of protection is an acceptable requirement, as the customer then has the flexibility to buy what ever safe they want, from whom ever they want, as long as it meets the requirements of the insuring agent.

There are several different "standards" depending on who you are talking to, when discussing $$$ value that will stored in any particular safe.   I have my standard, which tends to be a little more conservative than some.   The bank industry has their standard, the jewelry industry has their standards, insurance and mercantile industries have their standards, etc.

My standards are based on my experience in the industry from over 40 years, how safes are built, and my personal feelings.   Other industries may use different standards than I use.

Fire resistive safes are ONLY designed to provide heat resistance for document protection in fire.   They are NOT burglary resistive safes and should NOT be used for overnight storage of cash, jewelry or valuable documents.

Composite safes are both burglary rated and fire resistive.   How much depends on the rating.

Non-rated safes (class B or C)          $3000 to $10,000   Depending on the safe and its construction.   As these safes are NOT built to a consistant standard, EVERY safe must be evaluated for ITs protection capability.

TL-15 rated safes          $10,000 to $50,000
TL-30 rated safes          $50,000 to $100,000
TL-15x6 and TL-30x6 rated safes         $100K  to $250K respectively
TRTL-30x6 rated safes          $250K to $500K
TXTL-60x6 rated safes          up to $1 million

Having safes installed inside of class M, 1, 2, or 3 bank style vaults will increase the security levels, and larger amounts may be kept.   Spreading the values out over several safes may also meet requirements.

In the coin and valuable metals markets, many of the insurance companies have required that in addition to the safes (as listed above), the safes be placed inside of a class 1 or 2 vault.   As the value of Gold and other precious metals rises, more protection may be required.

My recommendation is that you discuss the $$$ value that you plan on keeping inside the safe (maximum amounts - not minimum amounts), with your insurance agents to find out what THEIR requirements are going to be, as THIS will be the real standard that you are dealing with, not my recommendations.   At that time, you are ready to start shopping.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


Thanks for such a detailed response.  Somehow my decimal points got moved and should have read $26,500 and $14,500 respectively so a TL-30 would cover both values.  It is obviously a lot simpler here.  We have an organisation called the Association of Insurance Surveyors (AiS) who have a Safe Committe that issues a list of suggested overnight cash ratings for every safe currently marketed in the UK and literally hundreds of safes no longer in production.  I am a guest advisor on the committee and we meet 3 times a year to consider any revisions and any newly introduced makes and models.  The list used to be limited to insurers only but in recentl years it has been made available more widely and just about everyone uses it so we mostly sing from the same hymn sheet.  

The list is revised and re-issued every year on a CD and includes sections on underfloor safes, prefabricated vaults, paper and data safes and miscellaneous security containers.  YOu may find a copy useful so if you give me a postal address, I will ask someone to send one over to you.

Best regards,



I would enjoy seeing what they have covered.   If you can obtain a copy for me, please send it to me at:

Andy Andreasen
c/o Security Safe
1753 Addison Way
Hayward, CA   94544

As I mentioned, because of the inconsistency in safe manufacturing, we also make suggestions based on the actual safe that any particular customer buys, however a site like this simply doesn't have the space to go over every possible safe.


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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 40 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of two Tilton & McFarland Safes from the 1860's. Will answer Safe & Vault related questions concerning age, value, restoration, moving, opening & repairing, parts, operation and history. Note: It is not my intention to teach you to open safes or to provide information which may aid in the unlawful opening of a safe. I will not give out drill points or information which I deem inappropriate.


40 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. Service Manager for one of the largest Safe & Vault companies on the West Coast. Graduate of Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing, Safe lock Manipulation and Safe Deposit Lock Courses. Graduate of Locksmith Institute. Certified Instructor for the California Locksmith Association teaching Basic and Advanced Lock Servicing, Basic Safe opening and Repairing. Factory Trained by AMSEC, LORD Safes, LeFebure, Mosler, KabaMas, LaGard and Sargent & Greenleaf

Safecrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association

Graduate of Locksmith Institute 1972 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing 1974 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Manipulation 1975 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Deposit Lock Servicing 1985 Instructor Certified - California Locksmith Association - 1985 Factory trained by AMSEC, MAJOR, STAR, Johnson-Pacific, Kaba-MAS, Allied-Gary, ISM, Lord, Brown Safe, EXL, Mosler, Diebold.

Awards and Honors
2009 - 2013 Listed in AllExperts top 50 Experts. All Experts Categories - Safes & Security Containers, Locksmithing, Antique Safes. Retired US Army Chief Warrant Officer (CW4), with 39 years of total service. With numerous awards from Vietnam, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. US Navy - 1971-1981 US Army Reserve 1984-2013 US Army Retired

Past/Present Clients
US Secret Service, FBI, BATF, Local Law enforcment agencies, Diebold, Hamilton Pacific, Red Hawk Int., Chubb International, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, Mechanics Bank, El Dorado Savings Bank, many Credit unions and smaller banks. McDonalds, Togos, BurgerKing, TacoBell, Carls Jr. FoodMaxx, SaveMart, Lucky's, Albertson's, Raley's, Safeway, NobHill, Bell Markets, PW Markets. Great America, Century Theatres, Cinemark Theatres, UA Cinemas, and many homeowners and small businesses. Provide warranty service for lock and safe manufactures. Service area is Northern California - Fresno to Oregon, including western Nevada

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