Butch and Sundance blew them up. Al Capone was fond of them, although the one Geraldo opened was empty. And Charlize Theron looked great cracking them in "The Italian Job. " But let's face...

Share story

Butch and Sundance blew them up. Al Capone was fond of them, although the one Geraldo opened was empty. And Charlize Theron looked great cracking them in “The Italian Job.”

But let’s face it, safes aren’t sexy.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

Unless, of course, a wildfire has just reduced your house to a pile of ashes, and you’re looking for a copy of that homeowners policy explaining your coverage.

Gee, it’s probably in the safe, right, honey?

Before you run out to your local big-box home improvement store, be aware that all safes are not created equal. You get what you pay for.

For the average consumer, fire protection for important documents is the main reason for a safe. Brands such as Sentry offer a variety of small to medium-size chests and file cabinets that will keep papers safe from fire for at least 30 minutes and, in some models, from water damage or an explosion.

And, in keeping with advancing technology, some small safes that will protect computer and audiovisual media, such as storage devices, computer discs and photographic negatives.

About $75 to $500 can buy one of several safes that will store your tax returns, passports, birth certificates and the like that provide 30 to 60 minutes of fire protection.

Such models are mainly designed to stay cool inside and don’t offer much theft protection. If you are seeking real security, you’re looking at more custom models, and you’re likely to spend in the thousands.