Do you know how much your valuables are worth? Nearly half of UK consumers don't realise the value of their antiques or vintage items, according to new research from Direct Home Insurance.

Around 44% of respondents in Direct Line's survey admitted they find it difficult to estimate the value of personal possessions. Despite this, many owners are failing to take basic measures to protect such items – 46% don't keep receipts for major purchases and 85% don't photograph their home contents,

Direct Line say these findings suggest many householders could be sitting on more valuable items than they realise.

For many the impact of under-insurance is only realised when it's too late, but this is preventable.

Katie Lomas, head of home insurance, Direct Line
An atom of type quote lives here

This is especially true for the 43% of consumers who collect antiques or vintage items such as jewellery, vintage toys and vinyl. Over half (46%) don't realise how much they're worth and a further 41% don't account for them in their home insurance.

Many householders remain indifferent when it comes to protecting their valuables. Image by designer491/Shutterstock.com

The study reveals a trend of many householders being lackadaisical about the value of their contents.

A third of respondents told Direct Line they have never thought about having their possessions valued. 16% of people only realised they were underinsured following an incident where they had to claim, such as a fire or burglary. 

Direct Line's head of home insurance, Katie Lomas, said: "We urge people to regularly value their contents and make sure they are comprehensively insured on a policy that protects the full value of their prized possessions. For many the impact of under-insurance is only realised when it's too late, but this is preventable.

"When purchasing expensive items – whether it is a TV or a piece of jewellery – we would always advise people to keep a receipt. Regularly photographing the contents of your home is also an easy way to help keep a visual inventory."

Antiques expert, Drew Pritchard, added: "It is important to thoroughly inspect your antique, keeping a close eye on any manufacturers marks or imprints as this could make all the difference.

"When speaking with your insurer, you must enclose every little bit of detail to make sure your piece is correctly valued and you do not run the risk of being underinsured."

Direct Line's research also revealed 16% of respondents had unwittingly given away high-value personal items to friends, charity shops and other recipients and only realised they were valuable when it was too late. This includes items such as clothing, first-edition books and ornaments.

What's more, 16% of householders do not have any home insurance, Direct Line found. For those who are insured, two in five (40%) state they do not know their single item limit on their policy, putting them at risk of being underinsured.