Bank lockers don't have insurance cover
15 Jul, 2014 02:02 PM
The recent fire at the State Bank of India office on Rajaji Salai has raised, among others, questions on the safety of lockers. While insurers state that all big banks including nationalised and private banks take a comprehensive bank cover that includes the head office as well as the branch network, lockers are not covered under such policies.

"As banks don't know the contents of the locker, they don't have an insurable interest (where the insured person derives a financial or other kind of benefit from the continuous existence of the insured object) in the same," CVR Rajendran, CMD, Andhra Bank, said. Simply put: if there is a fire accident or a burglary, you get zero protection as a customer.

Insurers also echo similar views by stating that banks are merely renting space to the customers in the form of lockers to keep their valuables. "Banks normally take a comprehensive cover that includes loss due to fire, explosion and other dangers. Such policies normally cover the head office and the entire network including employees, furniture and fittings and other electronic equipment like computers but not lockers as what is kept inside them is not known," G Srinivasan, CMD, New India Assurance, said. "Bank covers are normally specialised policies that cover assets, cash holdings and securities, including pledged gold for availing a gold loan. They normally do not cover a customer's possessions in a locker," R Suresh Nair, head, product development, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, said.

The only protection that a customer has against a potential locker risk is to go in for gold jewellery and valuable cover with the insurance company. But that is easier said than done because insurers normally insist on a valuation report for such items before the actual policy is issued. Apart from establishing the identity of items, this report can be of use at the time of claim settlement. With many customers unwilling to declare the actual value of their valuables in the locker, such policies haven't found many takers yet.

In the case of SBI, the lockers which were located on the ground floor did not catch fire. These were subsequently shifted to the Rajaji Salai branch.
Source : The Times Of India

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