DRIP Investing, Step by Step
If you currently own shares of a stock outside of a brokerage account, you need to protect the share certificates from theft and fire. (While stock certificates can be replaced, it can be a costly and tedious process to have the company issue replacement certificates.) A bank safety deposit box is usually the best solution.
Many DRIPs offer a "certificate safekeeping service" for account holders. If you hold certificates directly, you can send to the company and they will hold them on your behalf. Check with the company to see if they offer this service.
Whether you hold certificates yourself or the shares are held in your DRIP account, dividends are still reinvested in your account.