- Certain events could unearth items of value
- Consider getting anything old or rare professionally valued in order to buy adequate insurance
- An item's value can fluctuate so it's often worth revaluing your possessions
Your home's hidden treasures
Hanging on the wall, stashed in the attic, forgotten in the garage – you could have something valuable hidden in plain sight, so it's worth going through each room in your home to make an inventory of your dearest belongings.
Already have an inventory? Don't rest easy yet – there are several key life events that could trigger a review of your home insurance.
Looking a gift horse in the mouth
Celebrating another year of being you? Or perhaps you and your new spouse have a wedding table laden with presents? After unwrapping all your lovely new gifts, and taking time to enjoy them, make sure you single out anything that could be valuable. Even if you're going to re-gift it!
"Note down the value of important items and tell your insurer about any expensive items to make sure these are covered," says Laura Hughes, general insurance policy adviser at the Association of British Insurers.
It's also worth checking if you can add special possessions cover to your insurance so that anything you wear away from the home – an engagement ring, for example – is still covered by your policy.
More than just Monopoly money
If the kids have left home for college, then why not brave their room to rifle through the toy chest? There may be something of real value in there.
Toys, games and electronic games consoles from you or your offspring’s childhood could be worth more than you think – LV= has insured toy cars, model buses, a doll’s house and even a collector's edition of a Super Mario game, all of which may have increased in value.
The UK is Europe's largest market for toys, and it grew 5.9% last year to a whopping £3.2 billion, according to the British Toy and Hobby Association. Even more surprising is that some toys don’t even need to be particularly old to be worth a lot.
For example, an analysis by The Telegraph found that LEGO sets have shot up in value over the last 15 years. Sets in perfect conditions and no longer in production will be worth the most. Brickpicker.com can help Lego owners determine the value of their LEGO set.
An extra set of keys
Moving in together is a big step in any relationship, but shared space can cause problems, not least the question of whose stuff fits where.
If a partner or friend is moving into your home, you are moving into theirs, or you’re moving in together, then there may not be enough space for everyone's belongings. Before you start resigning anything to the 'throw away' pile, make sure you know the value of your more unusual items.
Vintage clothing, stuffed away in a closet, can be quite valuable, especially traditional garb such as family tartans. Managed to find space for your partner's arcade machine in the spare room? Arcade and pinball machines are often very valuable, so getting them valued is highly recommended.
Even the bags you packed everything in need to be valued and stored safely away – LV= has insured designer luggage sets worth thousands of pounds.
Helping out the relatives
It's not just your house that could benefit from an inventory: if you’re helping your parents or grandparents downsize, they could have all manner of items squirrelled away, such as military memorabilia and collector's items.
If there is a story behind their military heirlooms, it's certainly worth mentioning, as the value of medals is defined by both the recipient's story and the rarity of the medal.
Captain Noel Chavasse's Victoria Cross medals – one of only three people to have received the prestigious award twice – are a good example, as one was sold on for £1.5 million, according to This Is Money.
Large and complete collections of coins, stamps and even postcards, meanwhile, can be worth significant amounts – sometimes bolstered by standout individual items within the collection.
The art of a good appraisal
If you have a good relationship with your relatives they may leave you something in their will, such as a ceramic or a painting.
Whether bought or inherited, art is always worth taking to an expert for appraisal. Even if something has already been valued, it's still worth checking again.
"Like any market, art is constantly subject to changes in demand. Over the last decade certain areas of the market including 20th century, Contemporary, and Chinese art and jewellery have seen dramatic increases, requiring almost annual re-appraisals," says Harvey Cammell of Bonhams international auctioneers and valuers.
If you’re not sure of the value of your home's hidden treasures, old or new, seek an expert's opinion, ensure that your valuables are secure and insured and then put them somewhere safe, protected from the elements.
For more ideas about the valuable items in your home, check out our top 5 hidden treasures.