Discovering hidden treasures
Moving house? Doing some spring cleaning? Or reassessing your insurance? 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 belongings.
Already have an inventory? There are several key life events that could trigger a review of your home insurance
Looking a gift horse in the mouth
Celebrating another birthday? Or perhaps you and your spouse have a table laden with wedding presents? Single out items of value, even if you plan to re-gift them.
'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 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, rifle through the toy chest - you might find something valuable.
Vintage toys, games and electronic games consoles 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.
The UK is Europe's largest market for toys, and it grew 5.9 per cent in 2015 to a whopping £3.2 billion, according to the British Toy and Hobby Association
. Even more surprising is 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're moving into theirs, or you’re moving in together, 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's 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 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
Your relatives 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 your valuables are secure and insured and put them somewhere safe, protected from the elements.