A bank locker can be taken as a safe where the locker holders keep their important physical items like jewelry, will, papers of property or any other item of value which people consider to be unsafe to keep at home. There is so much to highlight about these lockers. People very frequently raise questions like are my belongings safe with the bank; can a bank open my locker without my permission; is it necessary to open a fixed deposit account to get a locker and so on. Continue reading to get answers to all these questions.
How a bank locker is opened?
In order to get a bank locker, you need to request your bank to provide you the same. Bank lockers are available in different shapes and sizes and accordingly their charges vary. However, the charges also depend upon bank to bank and ranges between Rs. 750 to Rs. 50,000. As per rules, lockers are allotted on first come first serve basis.
Is fixed deposit required to get a locker?
This is one such big question that has been answered differently by different banks. There are many banks who continuously repeat that a fixed deposit is mandatory to get a locker. However, as a matter of fact, fixed deposits are required by banks as security and a bank can ask you to open a fixed deposit account with the bank for an amount that can cover for 3 year rent of locker and breaking charges.
How a locker is operated?
Each locker has two keys – one key is given to the hirer at the time of allotment of locker and the other one remains with the bank. In order to open a locker, both the keys are required. Normally, the concerned bank officer applies his key and leaves you in the locker room to allow you to operate your locker. These lockers are of high quality and are therefore secure enough.
Can a nominee be assigned for locker?
Yes, of course, a locker can be obtained as single holder/ joint holder and a nominee can be assigned for the same. In the event of death of the hirer/ joint hirers, nominee can get access to the locker. However, in that case, the nominee will be required to fill a claim form with the bank and need to provide a death certificate to the bank along with certain other important documents, if required.
Can your locker be opened by the bank without your permission?
Now, this one is to your surprise as the answer is YES. A bank can break your locker without seeking your permission. However, the necessity of breaking a locker arises when the locker hirer fails to operate the locker for a long period of time and also fails to pay the rent. Ideally, a locker is to be operated by the hirer at least once in six months or in a year. In case, you are unable to operate your locker for say next two years because of any reason, then the onus will lie on your shoulders to inform the bank. But even in that case, full amount of rent is required to be paid to the bank as and when it becomes due.
Is it safe to keep belongings there?
Well, just to console yourself, you can believe that bank lockers are safe and secure. Now, think of a situation, you have a safe at home and you have taken all possible measures to keep it secure. Once there was a robbery which was not under your control and you lost whatever you kept in that safe. Since your safety system was strong and there was nothing wrong in it but still the robbers were able to break your safe and take things away, who will you blame now?
Same is the condition of bank. If the bank has taken all possible measures to safeguard your lockers and anything wrong happen say, robbery, flood, earthquakes, etc. which is not in the control of a bank, then the bank cannot be held responsible for your loss.
However, if the bank fails to perform their duties and because of their negligence, a customer has suffered loss, then the locker hirer can always ask a bank to compensate for the loss.
Practices to Follow
- Don’t operate your locker in presence of banking official
- Always avail a locker with a reputed bank
- Before leaving the vault, ensure that the locker is properly locked
- Don’t keep your documents without cover. Get your documents laminated to avoid for any damage.
- Don’t forget to operate your locker frequently.
- Always pay your locker rent on time
- Always maintain a list of items you have kept in locker.