Protecting your garden with home insurance

Family in their garden

More than half of garden-owners have picked up a trowel for the first time as they spend more time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Amy McDonnell

But whether you’ve just bought your first pair of gardening gloves or take pride in your outside space year-round, many of us are guilty of overlooking the value of our gardens.

With the average British garden containing more than £1,400 of valuable items 1 and garden thefts on the rise 2, leaving it uninsured might be a bigger headache than just replacing a few pots and plants.

Fortunately, the answer might be in your policy documents. Here’s what you need to know on insuring and securing your outdoor space.

How to insure your garden

While some insurers offer specialised garden insurance, most standard home insurance policies include limited cover for your garden and its items at no extra cost.

As the garden falls within the boundaries of your home, buildings insurance will usually cover structural elements such as your shed, conservatory and any garden fences, gates or walls from damage.

Movable items like garden furniture and plant pots can be protected by your contents insurance, but this is a little more complicated which we’ll explain below.

Check you have enough cover

If you have existing home insurance, read your policy documents or speak to your insurer to find out what’s covered. A recent survey revealed that 59% of garden-owners’ insurance doesn’t cover all of their outdoor belongings 1.

What’s the value of your garden contents?

Look around your garden and add up the value of everything. If your garden is filled with lots of high-value items such as a BBQ, trampoline or hot tub, you may need to insure them separately as most policies have a single item limit, usually between £1,500 and £2,000. 

Items worth £2,000 or more can be added individually, so make sure you speak to your insurer if you need specific cover. If in doubt, ask your insurer what they’re prepared to cover and how much they pay out for individual items.

Insurers will replace lost or damaged items with new ones, so if you bought any of your tools or furniture a long time ago check the current price to calculate the value of your entire garden.

You should also hold on to receipts of any high-value items to make any future claims process easier.

Lock it up

Most insurers only cover items kept locked and secure. If you have expensive items like patio heaters or BBQs, your insurance may not cover them unless they’re locked away. 

If you’ve converted your shed or outbuilding into a gym or home office, you may need to check whether your insurer covers the costs if someone breaks in and steals your laptop.

Know what’s yours

Do you know which garden fence or wall you’re responsible for? You can usually check your garden boundaries on your home deeds to find out which fence belongs to you. This will help avoid disputes with neighbours if any fences are damaged as your insurance will only cover what belongs to you.

How to secure your garden during summer

Keep your back door or gate locked

Even if you only leave the house for a short amount of time, always fully lock your back door, windows and garden gate to keep your home safe.

Many garden gates are secured using a sliding pad bolt and padlock combination, however many people skip the padlock out of convenience, making it easier for thieves to break in. 

Secure your shed or outbuilding

If you store valuables like tools, office appliances or gym equipment, your home insurance may only cover them if stolen with clear forced entry. 

While not essential, you should install a BSI standard lock on your shed or outbuilding to protect. Ideally, you want a BS10621 lock as it means if a burglar gains entry via a window, they can’t run straight through the door as it’ll be locked.

Installing motion sensor lights makes it easier to catch anyone snooping around your garden. Couple it with a security camera and burglar alarm for full protection. Just make sure your alarm is loud enough to hear if you’re asleep. 

Cover your garden furniture

Most home insurance policies don’t pay out for general wear and tear, so protect your garden furniture with appropriate covers when they’re not in use. If you can, store your furniture in a safe and dry place during colder months to avoid damaging it. 

Secure ornaments and expensive garden equipment

Avoid any breakages due to windy weather by securing any ornaments or valuable garden equipment. This also deters thieves from running off with your belongings. And when you’ve finished with your tools, toys or gardening equipment, secure them in the garage or shed rather than leaving them lying around in the open for any opportunistic thieves.

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