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Insuring your garden, shed and garage

Many people made changes to their outdoor spaces during lockdown, increasing the value of items in their gardens and sheds.

We’ve all realised the importance of our outdoor spaces in the last few years, so how do we protect them from theft or damage?

Shed with patio furniture outside

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Will my home insurance cover my shed, garage, or outbuilding?

In most cases your home insurance should cover a shed, garage, or outbuilding but you need to check your policy. Generally if it's connected to your home or in the garden it should be included.

Thieves tend to target tools in outbuildings most of all since they're valuable and portable. Bicycles usually come next on the thief’s agenda.

When the UK went into lockdown in 2020, many people took to converting their outdoor spaces into offices. It’s likely then that valuable work items – like computers and laptops – are being stored away from the house, making them easier for thieves to get to.

Just like your home, your outbuildings might need protection with buildings and contents insurance, especially given the high cases of thefts.

Structure-wise, your shed or outbuilding should be covered through your buildings insurance. This typically covers roofs, walls, floors and ceilings, to name a few.

For example, if there’s a storm and a tree falls causing damage to your shed, you should be covered on your buildings insurance policy.

Anything stored inside your shed should be covered by your contents insurance policy. However, you might find that your policy has an overall limit for contents in your shed, so check the details.

You might also need to specifically list high-value items that exceed your policy’s single-item limit.

For example, if you invested in an all-singing, all-grilling barbeque worth over £1,200, you should mention this to your insurer.

You might also find that some insurers exclude musical instruments, which is important to know if an outbuilding is regularly being used for band practice

You can also list laptops and bicycles worth over £150 in your home insurance quote with the option to add cover while you're away from home. Also known as personal possessions cover, this add-on is useful for those taking their tech with them to the office, or simply for those who want peace of mind their gadgets are insured while they're out and about, as well as at home.

Cover for the garden and outbuildings varies between providers, so make sure you check your policy wording, so you know exactly what’s covered.

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What about my garden? Do I need separate garden insurance?

Who doesn’t love a sausage outdoors? Many Brits flocked to their local DIY shop when restrictions allowed, buying new garden furniture and barbeques.

But where do these fit into your insurance policy? Anything in your garden should be covered on your contents insurance policy.

You know what we’re going to say here though - make sure you check your policy wording to make sure you’re covered.

However, like with your tools or your bike, anything individually worth more than your policy’s single item limit should be mentioned separately to your insurer.

Jessica Willock, home insurance expert at Confused.com comments:

“We’ve spent a lot more time in our gardens in the past few years than ever before – it’s no surprise many people spent hundreds in making it a better space to enjoy.

“But in investing in more expensive items, we’re putting ourselves at a higher risk of theft. While most items should be covered under our contents insurance, this isn’t always guaranteed. Always check your policy details!

“Ultimately, keeping our gardens and sheds secure will be the most effective way in protecting our valuables."

 

How can I keep my shed, garage or outbuildings safe?

To avoid having to claim for theft altogether, it’s worth investing in extra security. You might find that your policy doesn't pay out if you haven’t taken appropriate steps to keep items stored in your shed and outbuildings secure.

Gravel can act as an audible alert if someone’s walking up your driveway, while motion-sensor lights can put off thieves. You could also try raising your fences to stop any unwanted peepers.

If you have a small shed, thieves might be able to lift the sides. It’s worth considering anchoring it to the ground or to a wall if you can.

Check prices for shed anchors on Amazon

 

Once your shed is fully anchored, make sure you lock it securely using a padlock or a door bolt.

Check prices for bolts and padlocks on Amazon

 

Often, smaller sheds have hinges on the doors that are easy for thieves to cut through. Replacing these with nuts and bolts could make them more robust. You could even superglue the nut to the bolt to make it more secure.

Check prices for hinges on Amazon

 

Once your shed is like Fort Knox, store your tools, expensive furniture or your barbeque in here to keep it safe. Be sure to add extra locks for security.

If you don’t have a shed, bolt down your items to the patio or decking.

Motion-detected floodlighting is also worth looking into, as thieves are less likely to continue stealing if they’re fully illuminated.

Check prices for motion detected flood lighting on Amazon

 

Backing this up with a camera or home security system should work well to capture thieves in the act. Some can even alert you if there’s something happening in your garden that shouldn’t be.

Check prices for security cameras on Amazon

 

Finally, bear in mind that your house is likely to be more secure in general than any outbuilding. So, if you're using one as an office, or recreational space, consider bringing pricier but easily transportable items into the house.

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