Cash ratings and insurance ratings explained

Cash rating or insurance rating is a common term used in the safe industry to classify different safes and assist with understanding how secure a safe is when compared with other safes.

Not all safes are safe, this is very evident as soon as you begin comparing safes sold in hardware stores and office supplies stores to safes found in reputable safe suppliers. This is why there was a need for a system to measure them.

To help with a bit of background, an Insurance Rating, also known as Cash Rating, was created as a form of measurement of the security a safe would provide and was commonly used by insurance companies to determine if a particular safe was suitable for securing particular amounts of cash. If an insurance company was insuring a large amount of cash, they would require the cash to be held in a high security safe and if they were insuring a lower amount of cash, they would accept a lower grade of safe.

After much contention about the ability for an insurance company to determine the security level of a safe properly,  insurance companies decided to let the industry self regulate and adopted their own internal systems for determining risk. Safe manufacturers found that with some safes being advertised with cash ratings and other safes not, it made it difficult for consumers to properly understand and compare different safes.

Unlike in other countries where there are testing houses offering official certifications, in Australia there is no official testing criteria or body that is able to use a consistent form of measuring a safe’s security level, and therefore safe manufacturers would be able to label a safe with their own opinion of what the cash rating should be by using comparisons on the market. Most manufacturers do seem to apply pretty consistent ratings on their safes, however there are a few examples of cash ratings being inflated beyond what others would consider reasonable.

Some of the larger safe companies and brands will have their safes tested at international testing houses in order to get them certified as achieving a measurable level of security. By doing so, they remove any doubt as to the legitimacy of the security rating of a safe. For example, the Dominator Safes range of DS, FA and FX Series safes have all been independently tested and certified by Underwriters Laboratories in the USA. Underwriters Laboratories, or UL,  is renowned as one of the world’s leaders in testing and certifying products and can provide a complete breakdown of the methods used to calculate the level of security a safe can offer. In many cases, the certification system can be cross referenced with a cash rating that allows a more accurate assessment on the security a safe is able to offer.

The best way to be sure about the security of the safe is to look at the measurable aspects, not the subjective ones. Does the safe have a certified security rating? Is the safe fitted with a high quality and reputable branded safe lock? Is the seller a specialist safe supplier, or is it just found alongside general hardware products in their shelves? Are the installers police licensed and trade qualified?

These questions will help you determine what to expect from your supplier.

Another consideration when it comes to cash ratings is the use of the term “Unsupported”. This term is used to indicate that the recommended rating is applied to the safe when it is the only security offered to the valuables stored inside the safe. What this means is that the rating should be affected (Increased) if the safe is installed at a property that includes other types of security as well. For example, a property that has security screens to all windows and doors, a monitored alarm system and a CCTV camera system should demand a higher cash rating than a property that does not have these things.

Again, there is no official formula to work these ratings out, and this is why we would always suggest you speak with a specialist, police licensed safe company to discuss your personal needs.