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what is my stuff worth?

hidden valuables in your home

You don't own fancy jewelry or gallery-worthy art, so you don't need much personal property insurance, right? Not so fast. You might be surprised by how much your everyday items and dust-covered collectibles actually cost to replace.

How much property insurance do I need?

The simple answer to this question is: enough to replace your possessions if they're ever stolen or damaged. But how do you know what's enough? That's where a home inventory comes in.

A home inventory involves going room to room, taking stock of all your household belongings, and calculating what they would cost to replace. It can be tedious, but it's also very important if you don't want to be underinsured in the event of, say, a fire or home burglary.

Besides, there's also a really fun part to the home inventory: discovering all the hidden gems you own! On top of obvious big-ticket items like engagement rings, LCD TVs, and grandma's silver, many ordinary possessions carry surprisingly high value, too. But if you're not careful, you could miss them.

Surprisingly valuable items in your home

Think you don't have much worth protecting with your homeowners insurance? Here are some household treasures that might be worth more than you think.

Eclectic jewelry

Sure, your diamond rings or elegant pearls are worth a fortune, of course, but what about all the tacky pieces stashed in boxes or the old hand-me-downs with names you can't pronounce? An appraiser might find significant value in items like costume jewelry or vintage watches, particularly those that wind by key.

Mid-century furniture

Many items from the baby boom era are enjoying a resurgence. In particular, '50s and '60s furniture — like that old set of dining chairs you pull out only to accommodate the Thanksgiving crowd — could be worth a pretty penny. Just make sure they aren't a knock-off.

Vinyl records

And here your parents thought all those days you spent thumbing through racks at the record shop were useless! The right album — especially if in mint condition and in its original sleeve — could be very valuable. A rare pressing of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, for instance, can draw around $8,000, and an early version of The Beatles' The White Album goes for around $11,000, according to Record Collector magazine.

Oriental rugs

Yep, the carpet under your dining room table does more than mask spills. It also serves as a valuable investment, one worth insuring. Antique oriental rugs can be worth 4 or even 5 figures.

Vintage clothing or accessories

Most of the generic stuff lining your closet isn't worth much. But some vintage duds are in high demand and could be difficult to replace out of your own pocket. And designer accessories like handbags can be worth even more.

Leather-bound books

Once a book has been read, does it have anything left to offer us? If you've stacked your bookshelves with antique leather-bound first editions (that haven't been dog-eared to death), yes, there could be plenty.

Electronics and parts

Almost everyone knows to include their current computer or tablet in a home inventory. But it's easy to forget about all the past electronics you've bought that are now sitting in a desk drawer or basement box. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that an average American household has 24 electronic items. And each one could have valuable parts or materials that you don't want to miss out on.

Antiques

This is vague, but only because valuable antiques can be found just about anywhere. A rare doorknob, light fixture, porcelain vase, or even child's toy could all have a major impact on the amount of property insurance you should have. It might be worth it to have an appraiser do a full scan of your pad to scout for these sorts of hidden gems.

Homeowners insurance for your valuables

While this really just scratches the surface of hidden valuables in your house, hopefully it shines some light on the need to do a thorough home inventory — and to never judge a book by its (dusty, old-fashioned) cover.

Don't rush into setting your contents insurance limits until you know what's worth protecting. Give us a call at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262) or grab a free homeowners quote to start enjoying expert coverage for all your household treasures.

Additional coverage for your personal property

Something you own might be worth more than many of your other belongings (say, a tennis bracelet or an autographed baseball), meaning it would be hard to find the money to replace it in the event of a covered loss. That's why scheduled personal property exists — it's an optional coverage that provides increased limits for certain high-value items, so you can be sure that your treasured heirlooms are as protected as the rest of your stuff.

Related links

Time to take inventory
Here are some guidelines to follow when compiling your home inventory.

5 things that could increase your premium
Covering expensive possessions, adding a family dog, or running a home business are a few things that can raise your rate.