All safes come with some sort of rating to indicate:
- What kind of protection they provide.
- How much of that protection they provide.
There are two main types of rating which you will see mentioned frequently: the cash/valuables rating and the fire/data rating.
Cash and Valuables Rating
The cash rating of a safe gives an indication of how burglar resistant it is. The higher the cash rating, the more secure the safe is. These ratings are generally based on insurance industry security standards. The valuables rating – sometimes called the jewellery rating – is always ten times the cash rating, as valuables tend to be more difficult to steal.
Your insurance company will in most cases cover any theft from the safe up to the value of the cash and valuables rating. For instance, if €5,000 in cash is stolen from a safe with a cash rating of €5,000, your insurance company should cover the full amount. They should also cover the loss of up to €50,000’s worth of valuables (ten times the cash rating) from the same safe.
The cash and valuables rating is a guideline only. It is advised that you consult with your insurance company before buying a safe, as they may apply a different cash rating to it.
To guarantee your safe is up to the task of fending off thieves and protecting your cash and valuables, you should always choose one that has been independently tested and certified for burglar resistance.
Fire and Data Rating
Fire resistant safes are rated according to how long they can resist flames and high temperatures, and according to what kind of contents they can protect. There are three typical levels of protection:
Paper – Paper and documents are surprisingly resilient to heat and so require the least amount of protection. Unless otherwise specified, a safe’s given fire rating corresponds to its ability to protect paper. Fire ratings for paper are usually represented by the letter “P”. For instance, a safe with a 60P fire rating will provide 60 minutes protection for paper.
Data – Computer media such as CDs, DVDs and hard drives are far more prone to heat damage than paper. Safes that can protect these types of items are usually called data safes and have a data rating rather than a fire rating. Data ratings are usually represented by a “D”. For example, a safe with a 120D rating will protect data media for two hours (120 minutes).
Diskette – This includes very fragile data media which is particularly susceptible to heat, such as floppy disks and magnetic tape. The only way to be sure a data safe will provide the protection required is to check what sort of fire test it has been subjected to. You will need a safe tested to “Diskette” or “Class 125” levels to protect these fragile items.
To be certain that your fireproof safe provides the protection you need, you should always be sure to choose a safe that has been independently tested and certified for fire resistance.
Note that data inserts – which are typically designed for storing digital media in fireproof filing cabinets – may be rated to a Data or Diskette level but will only provide this protection if correctly placed within a safe or cabinet that has been rated to protect Paper.
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