If you thought that the valuable items you have deposited in the safety locker facility provided by your bank are safe and the bank will provide compensation if your valuables are lost or damaged due to some natural calamity, then you are sadly mistaken. The fact is that the bank is not liable for any loss or damage caused to your valuables due to any reason.
If you want to confirm the fact stated above, just open the copy of your locker agreement and read the disclaimer clause. The clause would be typically read something like this: “The bank shall not be responsible or liable for any loss or deterioration of or damage to the contents of the locker whether caused by rain, fire, flood, earthquake, lightening, civil commotion, war, riot or any other cause/s not in the control of the bank and shall also not be liable or responsible for any loss sustained by the hirer/s by leaving any articles outside the locker.”
The bank denying any responsibility for loss or damage caused by natural calamities which are beyond the control of the bank may be still understandable, but what happens if there is burglary and the articles get stolen or the valuables are lost or damaged due to negligence on the part of the bank? As per a Financial Express report, the Reserve Bank of India has clarified in June 2017 that the “banks have no liability for loss of valuables in lockers”. If this is the case, then what the heck are lockers meant for?
The banks take cover behind the non-disclosure clause to shrug off their responsibility. According to this clause, the hirer of a safety locker need not disclose the contents or the value of the items deposited in the locker. This gives the banks the much-needed loophole: since the value of the contents is not disclosed, the banks cannot be held responsible or liable for an undisclosed value.
However, this loophole can be easily plugged by making disclosure of the value of the articles deposited mandatory so that banks can take a group insurance policy for all the lockers. These changes in the disclosure clause can go a long way in providing real safety for the valuables deposited in safety lockers.