How to insure valuable items you find in the attic

Most of us are guilty of packing unused things away, only to let them gather dust in an attic, cupboard or garage. But it might surprise you to learn that many common household items, particularly if they’re antique or vintage, can be quite valuable. To make sure they’re covered, consider adding them to your home and contents policy.

Review your home and contents insurance policy regularly

By reviewing your policy regularly, you can ensure you’re paying for the coverage you need and reduce your risk of being underinsured. Though new items may be covered by your home and contents insurance, it’s likely they’ll only be covered up to a specified amount. This might be okay for some things. But if you discovered, say, a Sidney Nolan in the attic, you’d probably want to insure it for its full value.

With GIO’s Home and Contents Insurance, works of art are automatically covered, up to a limit which varies depending on your level or coverage:

  • Classic policies cover artworks for up to $10,000 per item or set, up to a total of $50,000.
  • Classic Extras policies cover artworks for up to $20,000 per item or set, up to a total of $80,000.
  • Platinum policies cover artworks for up to $200,000 in total.

That said, if you find something that’s worth more than the default limit, you have the option to increase its limit on your policy. Doing so will affect your premium, but you may rest a little easier knowing you can repair or replace it if it’s affected by an insured event. If the item can’t be replaced, as may be the case with a unique artwork, we’ll pay you its value.

The best place to check what is and isn’t covered by your policy is your Product Disclosure Statement. If you need to update your policy, simply log into GIO Online Services. Select the policy you want to update and choose the ‘Update my policy’ tab. Or, if you’d prefer to talk to one of our insurance specialists, call 13 10 10.

Document new valuable items

If you need to make an insurance claim on a valuable item, you’ll be asked to provide proof of ownership and value. These kinds of documents include:

  • proof of purchase
  • photographs of the item in your home
  • a recent certificate of valuation from an Australian qualified professional valuer, and
  • a copy of a police report if you suspect something has been stolen.

You could ask someone you trust to keep either digital or paper copies of this documentation, in case you misplace yours. 

Maintain the condition of your storage area

Don’t forget to check in on the condition of your attic every once in a while. Home and contents insurance usually excludes certain events and circumstances, such as loss or damage caused by deterioration or creepy crawlies like insects, rodents, termites or vermin. Keeping your storage areas in tip top shape means the potentially valuable items in your attic are more likely to be covered in an insured event.

7 valuable vintage items you might have in your attic

1. Instruments

Instruments can be incredibly valuable. Take vintage guitars for example. Some models, especially those made by Fender and Gibson, are highly sought after.

2. Perfume bottles

Though the perfume itself isn’t valuable (and probably long expired), perfume bottles can be. If the bottle is rare, custom made or produced by a particular glassmaker, it might be worth more than you think.

3. Barbie dolls

Love them or hate them, Barbie dolls are a collector’s item. Depending on the model, dolls like the Stefano Canturi Barbie have sold for a considerable amount of money at auctions in America. A quick search on eBay or Gumtree should give you an idea of whether the Barbie dolls in your attic are worth having insured.

4. Lamps

Your antique and vintage lighting, whether a lamp or a chandelier, could be worth a bundle if it’s an original item. Look for a label, stamp or metal pull that identifies the manufacturer. If you’re not sure, have it valued by a professional, so you know how significant a piece it is.

5. Christmas ornaments

You might be surprised to learn that some Christmas ornaments are valuable, particularly if they’ve been hand-blown. Take extra care with them the next time you decorate the tree!

6. Postcards

Postcards are a fairly common item to have lying around the house. Some are less valuable than others, of course, but factors such as age, condition and subject matter will inform how rare – and therefore valuable – a postcard might be.

Some older postcards, particularly those with photographs on their front, might be considered useful social records depending on what they depict. The same goes for if it was originally signed by a notable person.

7. Pens

A popular gift item and fashion statement, vintage pens come in a variety of styles. From dip pens, which have a nib for dipping into an inkwell, to fountain and ballpoint pens, your trusted writing implement could be a collectible.

Don’t have home and contents insurance? If your attic is a treasure trove of forgotten valuables like the ones listed above, you may find some form of cover useful. GIO offers three Home and Contents Insurance options, so you can choose which one is right for you. Don’t forget to add on Portable Valuables Cover if you need to insure items you’ll carry with you away from home.

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Insurance issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as GIO. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.