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UK households sitting on a goldmine of inherited possessions

February 13, 2019

  • Over half (53%) of Brits have inherited valuable items from friends and family
  • Yet, just 40% of people have had these heirlooms professionally valued 
  • Jewellery, antiques and art are the most commonly inherited items 

Brits could be unknowingly living with thousands of pounds worth of valuable items in their homes, according to new research from Zurich.

Well over half (53%) of Brits have inherited heirlooms, like jewellery or antiques, from friends or family yet, just two fifths (40%) have had these items professionally valued. This could mean millions of Brits are living with thousands of pounds worth of items they don’t know about in their homes. It is those aged between 45 - 54 who are most likely to have unvalued items in their homes (48%) while baby boomers aged 55+ are most likely to have heirlooms in their homes.

Most commonly inherited items:

  1. Jewellery – 51%
  2. Antiques (vases, furniture, silverware) – 26%
  3. Art / paintings – 13%
  4. War medals – 12%
  5. Coins / Banknotes – 12%
  6. Old toys – 7%
  7. Designer / vintage clothing – 3%
  8. Weapons (knives / swords) – 3%
  9. Sport memorabilia – 2%
  10. Shoes – 2%

Recent statistics from the ABI1 revealed some six million households have no insurance to cover their contents. In line with this, the Zurich research uncovered that 15% of people who have inherited valuables do not have any type of home or contents insurance and a further 10% have just buildings cover, which doesn’t insure any contents.


Phil Ost, home insurance expert, Zurich, comments: “It’s all too easy to think the value of your home contents isn’t worth the bother, but it’s important to check that your sums add up. Inherited art, jewellery, and war medals can be incredibly valuable, as can paintings or even old toys. Just think of Antiques Roadshow – getting a professional involved can unearth some unexpected treasures.


“Most home or contents insurance policies include single item limit cover which means that higher value items, like antiques, need to be declared individually to be covered by a policy. While many of these possessions also have a sentimental value, having adequate insurance in place can go some way to protecting these items should they go missing or be damaged.”   


- ENDS -


1ABI - Cost of home contents insurance falls to a record low, yet one in four UK households are uninsured -

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2037 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th - 6th November 2018.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

Notes to editors

For media enquiries, please contact:

Teamspirit PR

020 7360 7878 / 

Zurich in the UK

Zurich provides a suite of general insurance and life insurance products to retail and corporate customers.

We supply personal, commercial and local authority insurance through a number of distribution channels, and offer a range of protection, retirement and savings policies available online and through financial intermediaries for the retail market and via employee benefit consultants for the corporate market.

Based in a number of locations across the UK - with large sites in Birmingham, Farnborough, Glasgow, London, Swindon and Whiteley - Zurich employs approximately 6,000 people in the UK.

Our Corporate Responsibility strategy aims to create value for both our company and for society as a whole. We use our core skills, risk and investment management expertise, to have a positive impact on both. For more information about the Zurich's commitment to Corporate Responsibility and the Trust's work, please visit our websitehere.

Zurich Globally

Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich) is a leading multi-line insurer that serves its customers in global and local markets. With about 53,000 employees, it provides a wide range of property and casualty, and life insurance products and services in more than 210 countries and territories. Zurich’s customers include individuals, small businesses, and mid-sized and large companies, as well as multinational corporations. The Group is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, where it was founded in 1872. The holding company, Zurich Insurance Group Ltd (ZURN), is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and has a level I American Depositary Receipt (ZURVY) program, which is traded over-the-counter on OTCQX. Further information about Zurich is available at