This is the #1 question I get in the help emails. To attempt to save myself the effort of typing out the information each time, and to try and get this information out to more people...I'll post it here as well. This information is coming straight from Newsletter #2, and can also be found in the helpfiles. (Yes, I am working on updating the helpfiles as well.)
Newbie Trader Hint #2: I'm Out of Newbie Turns, How Do I Log Out Safely
Once you use all of your initial 500 newbie turns, you only have two options with which to keep your trader safe while logged out of the game: Planets and Federal Protection.
Planets themselves are not that safe, especially at the beginning of a game. Even higher level planets later on in the game are not always safe havens, as a determined team can take down even the biggest planet. So, to be truly safe, Federal Protection beacons are a trader's best friend.
Now then, just because you are in a Fed zone does not mean you are automatically protected. The Federation will not protect any traders that have illegal goods on board their ship. So if you trade in slave, weapons, or narcotics, make sure your holds are empty of these items before logging off in Fed.
Another overlooked cause of death in Fed zones is your attack rating being higher than what your alignment will allow protection for. Here is a simple chart that outlines what your attack rating can be for each level of alignment:
If your alignment is +300 or higher, your attack rating can be 5/ in Fed Space.
If your alignment is between +150 to +299, your attack rating can be 4/.
If your alignment is between -149 to +149, your attack rating can be 3/.
If your alignment is between -150 to -299, your attack rating can be 2/.
If your alignment is -300 or lower, your attack rating can be 1/.
As you can tell, traders that have deputized are able to keep more weapons on board, while those traders that have joined the underground must sell off the majority of their weapons in ORDER to take advantage of Federal Protection. If you are in doubt as to whether or not you are protected, before logging out of the game, click on 'Trader' on the left side of your screen and CHECK your status. If you are protected, you will see a message letting you know that you are under Federal Protection. If not, double CHECK for illegal goods or too many weapons on your ship.