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A fairly common home-safe capacity is 1.2 to 1.3 cubic feet, which should easily accommodate a foot-high stack of 8½- by 11-inch papers, for example.Most home safes are designed to protect their contents from fire, theft, or both. We don't test safes here at Consumer Reports, but many are tested by independent organizations such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and Intertek (which uses the ETL mark).But if you want to safeguard hard-to-replace items such as family photos, birth certificates, passports, and tax records while keeping them close at hand, a safe could be a relatively inexpensive solution.

And the Insurance Information Institute points out that a home safe can be a good place to store an inventory of your possessions...

Home safes might not be the best place for your precious jewelry, rare coins, or 1952 Mickey Mantle rookie card.

For those kinds of treasures, a safe-deposit box at a bank probably offers more protection.

Dale Soos, an engineer with Intertek, says his organization confers a "verified" mark on safes that meet their manufacturers' criteria for water resistance.

Some safes are submerged to simulate the effects of a flood or broken water line.

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