Our cash rating safe guide will help you make an informed decision on the best safe to buy, and explain the different standards of safe that you can purchase for your home or business. A cash rated safe or graded safe is a safe that has been tested to a specific set of standards (in the UK, they are tested to European standards), and has been deemed suitable to hold a certain amount of cash or valuables that is covered up to in terms of an insurance claim.
So in essence, a rated or graded safe, graded to a certain amount of cash or valuables, is for the purpose of insurance.
Naturally though, the better grade a safe has, the harder it is to break into.
These tests are done independently through a variety of testing methods to see how strong, secure and robust a safe actually is.
But first of all then, let’s understand the basics of how a safe is cash rated and who decides the cash rating of a safe.
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Who Decides The Cash Ratings?
For a safe manufacturer, the process of certification and gaining a ‘cash rating’ is fairly straightforward and simple.
A number of tests will then be performed on the safe under laboratory conditions. These tests will primarily concern how much time it takes to breach a safe, and how it was breached. Safes will be subjected to all types of attacks from blunt force to specilaist tools. Safes can also be subjected to water or fire, and rated accordingly.
Once the tests are done and certifications and ratings are given, the Association of Insurance Surveyors (AiS) then review the certification and ratings, and decide whteher or not to approve it.
AiS are independent risk management and reduction experts that advise insurers in the UK on risk. If a safe is AiS approved, you can be assured that the safe is also approved by your insurer up to the specified cash rating (But we recommend checking with your insurer anyway, as they will have a list of safes that they approve).
So if you were to buy an AiS approved safe which is rated to £4,000, then an insurer would cover any losses up to £4,000 if a break in was to occur and the safe was breached.
How Are The Ratings Decided?
Cash rating safe/valuable ratings are determined by a number of independant tests on the safe, these tests look specifically at:
- How the safe is attached to a wall or floor, and how robust that fitting is.
- The weight and size of the safe.
- The build quality of the safe, looking at the strength and thickness of the safe walls and doors.
- The quality of the locking mechanism and bolts, and how they are designed and how many there are.
- How long it takes to gain access to contents of a safe using various methods.
- What tools are needed to breach a safe and how long it takes.
Once all of this information is compiled, the safe is then given certification for a certain rating. This rating is then assessed by the AiS and if it is approved, then generally all insurers will accept claims up to this amount in the event of a burglary and someone accessing the contents of the safe.
Cash Rating Safe – And Valuables Too
When we talk about how much a safe is ‘cash rated’ for, we are talking specifically about the amount of cash that can be held in a safe of which an insurance company will cover for in the event of a loss. ‘Risk’ is a huge factor for insurance companies, so grading safes this way determines their risk.
A cash rating safe level also has an automatic ‘valuables rating’. So whetever cash amount a safe is rated for, multiply it by ten, and you will get the ‘valuables rating’ as well.
For example, a safe with a cash rating of £6,000, will automatically be rated for £60,000 worth of valuables.
There are three main types of safe on the market that are both suitable for home and for business use.
It’s imperative that you choose the correct safe for your home or property, so it’s important you understand the type of safe that is available.
The three types of safe available are:
- A standard, non graded, non rated safe.
- A Certified E14450 ‘cabinet’ safe (low-medium security).
- A Certified E1143 safe (higher security).
Let’s now look at each of these safes in detail.
Standard, Non Graded, Non Rated Safe
Standard, non graded and non rated safes will be inexpensive to buy, and are commonly used in residential properties to store lower level valuables as well as important documents like deeds and passports etc.
They normally have little certification, and are not approved by the AiS or any other body.
You will often see that these types of basic safes have a recommended cash rating, and that rating will normally be up to £1000. It is really important that if you understand that this rating is just a ‘recommendation’.
They are viewed as ‘another level of protection and security’ more than anything else, and is peace of mind that if a break in was to occur, then the valuables in that safe will be exponentially safer than them not being in a safe at all.
The benefits of having a safe, any safe, are outlined in this article here.
A typical example of a non graded, non rated safe is this best seller from Amazon:
An EN14450 Safe
When is a safe not a safe? When it is classed as a safe cabinet of course. Yep, confusing I know.
An EN14450 safe is more concerned with a basic level of protection for personal items of a lower value. Safes that are graded as EN14450 are really designed as safe storage for things like passports, your camera, house deeds, etc.
Independent tests are carried out in laboratory conditions for EN14450 certification – however, the tests are far more low level than the higher certification of an EN1143 test. Typically, small and medium tools are used for this certification, such a hammers, screwdrivers and small power tools. The testing for this certification is not as extensive as the next level up.
These safes sit in between a non graded safe, and a EN1143 safe.
Within this classification, safes are graded within two grades – S1 and S2.
The following cash rating safe grades/valuables are applicable to these safes, which means they are rated up to the maximum of the values given:
Along with non rated, non graded standard safes, EN14450 safes are also quite common in residential properties, where homeowners want to store low to medium level cash and valuables. The difference here is that if you were to put a £40,000 watch in your EN14450 S2 safe, you were broken into and the safe was compromised and the watch was stolen, your insurer would cover the cost of that watch.
That being said, it is always wise to check with your specific insurer, because rules around cash rated safes differ from insurer to insurer.
The other difference – your insurance premium may be a lot cheaper if you had a certified safe protecting that watch.
EN14450 safes graded S1 and S2 are more expensive than a standard safe, but offer more protection.
Generally, the build quality of the safe is of a higher specification, and the locking mechanism and bolts are of a higher specification. Therefore, you are going to be paying more for a safe with this type of certification.
An example of an EN14450 S2 safe is below:
An EN1143 Safe
These safes are classed as ‘high security safes’.
These safes are classified on a ‘Euro Grade’ scale, which is the standards set for the whole of Europe. Within this Euro Grade classification, safes are graded within eight grades – from 0-7 with 7 being the highest level of security.
An EN1143 safe is more commonly used for businesses rather than in residential settings, especilly when you start getting past Grade 1, and the reason is simple – as the grades and security get higher, the safes typically get bigger, more inudustrial looking and a lot heavier – and a lot more expensive.
They will in most cases, need a professional installation, and will be overkill for the majority of people.
But if you have a business and store cash or valuables on the premises on a regular basis, then an EN1143 cash rating safe/graded safe is the only option for you, because insurers will not cover contents of safe that doesn’t have this certification.
These safes are also expensive – the nearer it gets to a grade 7, the more expensive the safe is.
You can see the gradings below:
An example of Grade 0 EN1143 safe is this safe from Toscana, and as you can see, it’s not too expensive:
What Safe Should You Buy?
If you are still wondering if you should buy a safe, then again we’ll say it one more time; having a safe, any safe, is better than having no safe at all.
The type of safe you buy is totally down to your budget and the value of cash or valuables you wish to protect. To help you make an informed purchasing decision, I have an article on the best home safe (UK Top 5) you can buy for your home today.
Be absolutely sure though, we recommend getting your home in the best possible shape before purchasing a safe. It’s much better to deter from the exteriorin the first place, rather than protect from within.
Buying a £2000 safe to protect your passports and your £200 watch is overkill, and wholly unecccesary. On the flip side, buying a £200 safe to protect your £20,000 in bank notes probably borders on stupidity.
That being said though, any safe is better than no safe at all, and it is a decision you will have to make based on the value of your cash and valuables, as well as your own comfort and peace of mind.
Our biggest and most impotant peiece of advice here is to liase with your insurance company about cover for your valuables.
If you have something that is extremely valuable (lets say you have a stamp collection worth £50k for example), then you need to cover it correctly with the correct cash rated/valuable rated safe, and furthermore you need to confirm with your insurer that the safe you are going to purchase is on their approved list of safes.
But for a regular watch, a regular laptop, most home buildings and contents insurance will cover the losses in the event of a burglary anyway, whether you have a safe or not.
Peace Of Mind & Extra Security
Most people who are buying a safe for their home will not worry too much about cash ratings and valuable ratings.
A home safe comes with many benefits, and for most people this means a cheap safe that they can fit inside their wardrobes, inside kitchen cupboards or under the stairs.
And we go back to that phrase – ‘Any type of safe is better than no safe at all’, and it’s true to the extent that a safe will give you peace of mind and an added layer of security for lower end valuables and important documents like deeds, marriage certificates, passports, birth certificates etc.
If you are one of those people that fall into this category, then something like this Yale Safe will do you just fine.
If you store any type of cash above £1,000 regularly, or have valuables that are worth a considerable amount, then it is recommended that you spend a little bit more, and buy something like this safe here which is EN1143 S1 grade, and will protect cash up to £4,000 and valuables up to £40,000.
Before buying any safe, it is also prudent to give your insurers a call, and confirm with them that the particular safe you are looking to buy is on their approved list of safes.
If you are looking at buying a safe with a specific cash rating to protect a specific amount of cash or valuables, it’s absolutely essential that you call your insurer first and check their rules and policies around the use of a safe.
Whilst we have taken great care to provide the most relevant and up to date information in this article, ultimately it is the contract and policy between yourself and your insurer that will dictate whether the safe you purchase will fully be insured against any losses.
So please, if you have substantial cash or high value possessions that you want to store securly in a safe, check with your insurance provider before any purchase of a safe.
Questions & Comments
As always, I welcome questions and comments on the article on cash rating safe. Use the comment section below to ask any questions, or simply share your own opinion on our cash rating safe guide.
Stay Safe. Stay Secure.