Most people have little or no idea what their jewellery is worth and almost all have never had it valued, a survey by jewellery claims specialist Loss Management Group (LMG) has revealed.

The survey showed that although 35% of people grossly exaggerated the value of their jewellery in the event of a claim, a similar percentage underestimated its worth. Elderly people were the most likely to undervalue their jewellery.

More than 95% of jewellery owners have no photographs or documents to prove what jewellery they possess and the same percentage of owners have never had their jewellery valued.

LMG, which handles 25,000 claims each year on behalf of major insurers such as Zurich and CGNU, has launched a new jewellery valuation service with the aim of speeding up claims settlements.

LMG managing director Tony Le Fevre said most people hoped their jewellery would not get lost or stolen, then panicked when it did. "It's a nightmare for insurance companies, who often have to rely on holiday snapshots or people's memories when it comes to calculating how much a particular piece is worth," he said.