6 Ways to Protect Yourself Under the New locker Rules
MAS Team | 25 October 2021
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In August 2021, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced new guidelines for bank lockers, which we analysed in our previous blog post. In this post, we suggest some protips on how you can protect yourself.
 
1. Maintain an itemised list of all the articles in the locker. Update the list whenever you remove or add items from the locker. Having an updated list, will help you identify if an item goes missing from your locker.
 
2. Locker holders must operate their lockers at least once a year, or else banks are permitted to break open the lockers using the protocols laid in the locker agreement. But before banks take any such action, they are required to send notice to locker holders when their locker accounts become inactive. Locker holders need to provide a valid reason for their non-use of the account. Banks can rule if the reason is valid or not. But, even if the bank breaks open the locker, it needs to be opened in the presence of Bank officers and two independent witnesses, and the video of the same needs to be recorded. The list of inventory needs to be duly recorded by the Bank and communicated to the customer. In order to avoid all such problems, one must just operate the account at regular intervals and pay annual locker rent on time. 
 
3. As per the new rules, the RBI has permitted banks to get a term deposit from new customers while allotting lockers so that such deposits can be used to recover locker rent for up to three years along with the charges towards breaking the open locker under contingency. However, if the customer has a satisfactory bank balance, the bank may not additionally require the term deposit. In case you fail to pay the rent for three years, the bank can at its discretion break open the locker. It would be prudent to pay your locker rent on time to avoid such troubles.
 
4. The new locker rules will come into effect from 1st January and banks will need to renew agreements with the current customers from 1 January 2023. The RBI has notified that banks shall ensure fair terms and conditions. But you must read your locker agreement carefully and retain a copy of it with you.
 
5. Split your valuables if possible. Bank lockers are not 100% safe. In an ideal scenario, the valuables in your locker should not be worth more than 100 times your annual locker rent. One can keep the rest in a safe location at your home, in a high-quality safe locker that you can purchase from any reputed manufacturer. 
 
6. Opt for an insurance policy for your valuables. Insurance can protect against loss of value due to theft, fire, burglary etc. The insurance company will inspect and ascertain the valuation of your articles. Insurance can be bought for items kept both in your bank locker and your home locker. But, chances of claim settlement are higher if the articles are kept at home. 
 
What if you lose the bank locker key?
 
Although one key to the locker is always available with the bank, as per Bank Locker Rules you would be liable to bear the cost of replacing the lost key. You need to inform the bank immediately if you lose the key and return it if you find it in the future.