Sign up for Equitymaster's free daily newsletter, The 5 Minute WrapUp and get access to our latest Multibagger guide (2017 Edition) on picking money-making stocks.

This is an entirely free service. No payments are to be made.

Download Now Subscribe to our free daily e-letter, The 5 Minute WrapUp and get this complimentary report.
We hate spam as much as you do. Check out our Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.
Are your belongings in the bank locker safe? - Outside View by PersonalFN
Are your belongings in the bank locker safe?

This Diwali, a lot of you might have bought precious metals in the form of gold coins, gold bars and so on. Many people prefer holding a portion of their investments in physical assets. But the question is where do you keep these expensive investment instruments? Usually people prefer keeping their assets (especially jewellery, gold and silver coins or bars, important documents etc.) in bank lockers as they are perceived to be safe. But, are your belongings in the bank locker really safe?

You see, Section 152 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 states that, "Bailee when not liable for loss, etc., of thing bailed.-The bailee, in the absence of any special contract, is not responsible for the loss, destruction or deterioration of the things bailed, if he has taken the amount of care of it described in section 151." So to simply put, the bank is not responsible for the contents of your locker, if it has provided for its protection. Hence, unless you can prove that your contents were stolen or damaged due to the carelessness of the bank, there is no guarantee that your loss will be reimbursed.

It is noteworthy that, banks are not aware about what is placed inside the locker. And therefore, they hold a firm ground that they should not be held responsible in case the contents of the locker are lost. Also often, contents of the bank locker are not insured.

Thus, PersonalFN is of the view that for the safety of your valuables, it is important that you keep the following points in mind while opting for and while operating a bank locker:

  • Read all the terms and conditions carefully before you sign up for a bank locker

  • Ensure whether the bank has adequate security measures for the protection of your locker belongings (including cameras, alarms and so on)

  • Check the condition of the locker and the area where the lockers are located

  • Place fragile and perishable commodities in appropriate containers

  • Keep with yourself a list of all the items that have been placed in the locker
As you might be aware, there are two keys to your locker, one of which is always with the bank. While unlocking your locker, make sure that you are alone and the bank personnel has left

Make sure that you drop in the bank from time to time to check on your locker contents

Before leaving, make sure that the locker has been correctly locked

Remember that, sometimes bank employees, in their eagerness to achieve business targets, take customers wanting to opt for a bank locker on a ride by asking them for deposits beyond what is specifically permitted. They may ask you to become a priority customer so as to increase your chances of getting a locker soon. What should you do in such cases?

Well, if bank personnel sets any pre-condition for offering lockers, you should simply ask to have it in writing. Most of the banks will be hesitant to give anything in writing and may put you on a wait-list. If you are dealing with a private bank, you have limited options at this stage; but you can still write to the customers' grievance department or to the compliance officer. They must take a note of your complaint and have to get back to you in writing. You may also take your case to banking ombudsman in case you are still not satisfied and feel that the bank is deliberately denying you a locker.

If you are dealing with a public sector bank, you are slightly well equipped as you can launch an attack of questions under Right to Information (RTI) Act. You must write to Central Public Information Officer (CPIO). Please don't forget, now heads of all major nationalised banks are CPIOs. So you may address a letter branch heads, after making sure he / she is a CPIO.

PersonalFN believes that although unfortunate, there is a lot of uncertainty and risk in today's world. However, if you follow the above mentioned points, then the chances of losses are reduced. Moreover, by being a vigilant customer, you can also avoid being misled by any bank employee.

PersonalFN is a Mumbai based personal finance firm offering Financial Planning and Mutual Fund Research services.

The views mentioned above are of the author only. Data and charts, if used, in the article have been sourced from available information and have not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author and Equitymaster do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. The views constitute only the opinions and do not constitute any guidelines or recommendation on any course of action to be followed by the reader. Please read the detailed Terms of Use of the web site.


Equitymaster requests your view! Post a comment on "Are your belongings in the bank locker safe?". Click here!


More Views on News

The Right Financial Advisor Is Around the Corner (Outside View)

Mar 10, 2016

An opportunity to find an impeccably trustworthy and competent financial guardian is in the offing.

Why financial planning should be dull and boring (Mutual Fund Corner)

Feb 29, 2016

Most financial planners come out as whiz kids who throw around financial jargon. But financial planning can be actually easy, provided one follows a disciplined approach.

What Are E-Wallets And How To Use Them (Mutual Fund Corner)

Feb 12, 2016

PersonalFN highlights the benefits of parking a portion of your expenses in e-wallets and using them efficiently.

Is Consumption Boom Over In India? (Mutual Fund Corner)

Feb 2, 2016

Mutual funds take a bearish call on the FMCG sector. The sector has started playing out due to a combination of slower growth and expensive valuations.

How to Find a Saint Amongst Sinners? (Mutual Fund Corner)

Feb 1, 2016

Ethical practices help build long lasting relationships, and healthy long-term business relationships are often mutually rewarding. But PersonalFN is of the view that the financial services industry in India seems to have forgotten this.

More Views on News

Most Popular

Demonetisation Barely Made Any Difference to Tax Collections(Vivek Kaul's Diary)

Aug 7, 2017

The data tells us quite a different story from the one the government is trying to project.

Proxy Plays: A Smart Way to Bet on 'Off Limits' Companies(The 5 Minute Wrapup)

Aug 4, 2017

The small-cap space is full of small players that are clear proxies to great growth stories and Indian megatrends.

Should You Invest In Bharat-22 ETF? Know Here...(Outside View)

Aug 8, 2017

Bharat-22 is one of the most diverse ETFs offered so far by the Government. Know here if you should invest...

Signs of Life in the India VIX(Daily Profit Hunter)

Aug 12, 2017

The India VIX is up 36% in the last week. Fear has gone up but is still low by historical standards.

7 Financial Gifts For Your Sister This Raksha Bandhan(Outside View)

Aug 7, 2017

Raksha Bandhan signifies the brother-sister bond. Here are 7 thoughtful financial gifts for sisters...


Become A Smarter Investor In
Just 5 Minutes

Multibagger Stocks Guide 2017
Get our special report, Multibagger Stocks Guide (2017 Edition) Now!
We will never sell or rent your email id.
Please read our Terms