Companies and homeowners are seriously under-estimating the value of their property and possessions but brokers can help, says a leading valuation firm.

Rushton International warned that everything from heavy plant machinery to fine art, and from castles to schools, public bodies and even blue chip firms - all failed to acknowledge the wealth in their possession, and consequently under-insured.

Rushton director Susan Davies said: "We have known cases where the shortfall is as much as one third of the value, which means grave consequences for the organisation should the worst happen."

Davies said it was crucial that regular valuations took place for insurance purposes.

"Brokers should ensure this happens to protect their clients from the dangers of under-insurance," she said.

Similarly, any over-insurance, resulting from over-estimations can be identified using the same process.

This occurred in about 10% of cases, said Davies. She highlighted that over-insurance could lead to a direct reduction in client premiums.

"When we identify such cases, our work immediately pays for itself several times over."