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When it comes to protecting valuables, nothing beats the security of a safe-deposit box. If you are lucky enough to possess an item that people will pay big bucks for, then you have probably considered how best to keep the item safe from thieves. Whether you have a gold wedding band, a platinum necklace, or the Hope Diamond, your home is certainly not the safest place to keep such valuables. Keeping all of your valuables within your home gives thieves a chance to rob you blind. An enormous and thick-plated safe can obviously deter criminals, but it cannot be denied that valuable items are best kept inside of a safe-deposit box within a heavily secured bank. Generally speaking, even criminals who are bold enough to rob banks will avoid attempts at accessing safe-deposit boxes. It could be said that gaining access to a safe-deposit box is next to impossible, unless you are the keyholder. Unfortunately, there is one exception, and that exception is termites.

Termites are clearly small-sized creatures, even for insects. This makes it easy for termites to crawl in between extremely tight crevices. This may seem obvious, but you would be surprised at how termites can shimmy through even the tightest of spaces. For example, there has been plenty of documented instances of termites crawling in between tiny cracks in cement. Considering this, accessing a safe-deposit box is no challenge for a termite. But how often do banks become infested with termites? Well, in countries where termite species are diverse and abundant, like India, termite infestations in banks are not unheard of. Nobody knows this better than Dwarika Prasad. Prasad stopped by his bank one day only to proudly add to his stash of hard-earned cash. Sadly, Prasad only found “termite dust”, partially eaten bank notes and damaged transaction records.

For nearly fifteen years Prasad had been adding money to his safe-deposit box. The money was supposed to go to his retirement fund, but it went into the guts of termites instead. The bank staff posted a sign on the window telling customers that the bank had been infested with termites. However, Prasad did not see the sign until he visited his bank in order to access his safe-deposit box. The bank staff did not send warning emails to their customers. Prasad had nearly twenty thousand dollars worth of rupees and a few valuable items within his safe-deposit box. Not only did the termites destroy every last piece of currency, but they even ate a decorative, but valuable sheen made from unique textiles. Naturally, Prasad complained to his bank’s home office, but he is still waiting for a response several months later. The bank officials are claiming that they are not liable for items stored within their safe-deposit boxes unless the boxes were physically broken into. This makes Dwarika Prasad a uniquely unlucky guy.

If you were in Dwarika Prasad’s shoes would you hold the bank staff liable for damage inflicted by insects?


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