Protect your shed from burglars

Explore our five tips to protect your shed or outbuilding from intruders.

From the family bikes and scooters to your power tools and garden furniture, your shed may have things you chuck in and forget about until you need them.

And, although these things may be out of sight and mind, let’s make sure they’re safe in your shed throughout the year.

So, when it’s time to grab your trowel and gloves to sort out the garden for spring, they’ll be ready and waiting for you.

Is my shed or outbuildings at risk of burglary?

It could be. With millions of Brits seemingly leaving their sheds and outbuildings vulnerable to thieves, it’s worth exploring what risky behaviour may look like.

Less than two fifths (38%) of people always make sure that their sheds and (or) outbuildings are locked before going to sleep or leaving home for a trip, according to our recent survey of 2,007 Brits. Footnote [1]   

And almost one fifth (18%) of those surveyed said they usually don’t lock their shed or outbuildings when mowing the lawn, gardening or doing other outdoor chores with around one in eight (12%) usually keeping them unlocked if they’re home. Footnote [1] And you might wonder who would be so bold as to steal while you’re mowing the lawn or cleaning the gutters, but burglars could see that as an opportunity.

“We tend to think,” says Hazel Johnson, Director of Home and Motor Claims at Aviva, “that burglaries happen when everyone is out of the house, but burglars can strike at any time, including when we’re at home.”

Over a quarter (27%) of Brits surveyed said they experienced an actual or attempted burglary of their sheds or outbuildings and more than two fifths (44%) were at home during the burglary. Footnote [1] More striking is that almost two thirds (63%) said the burglars also attempted to break in or successfully broke into their home at the same time. Footnote [1]   

What are the most stolen items?

The most nicked items from sheds and outbuildings include:

  • garden tools and equipment, like lawnmowers (37%) 
  • bikes (31%)
  • sports and hobby equipment like skis, golf clubs, telescopes, fishing gear (28%)
  • power tools (28%)
  • electronics like computers, speakers, radios (20%)
  • outdoor furniture (16%) 

On average, thieves steal £870 worth of items.

Statistics of items stolen from sheds and outbuildings as described above

How can I protect my shed or outbuilding?

“Our research,” says Johnson, “shows that burglary from sheds and outbuildings could not only mean a significant financial loss but may also increase the risk of home burglary. In more than three in five cases, burglars also attempted to break in or broke into the home.”

Here are 5 tips to help protect your shed or outbuildings:

  1. Locks – make sure to lock your sheds and outbuildings, including when you're at home. This also means replacing any rusty padlocks, as they’re easier to bash open.
  2. Security lights – installing security or motion-activated lights near outbuildings could help shine a light on dodgy activity and send a message to burglars to buzz off. 
  3. Cover and hide – for those bulky items that may be difficult to lock away (barbeque, fire pits, and garden furniture), cover them and try to place them in a secure area. 
  4. Keep the receipts – in case you need to make a claim, and let’s hope that doesn’t happen, having receipts for any high-value items could make the claims process easier. 
  5. Knowledge – Knowing the difference between your Buildings Insurance and Contents Insurance can help you in case something goes wrong. While Buildings Insurance covers damage to structural parts of your shed or outbuilding, Contents Insurance covers moveable items like your garden furniture, plant pots and garden tools.

    It’s also worth checking your single item limit within your insurance policy, especially if you have any high-value items, like top-of-the-range barbecue or luxury garden furniture, stored in your shed or outbuilding. You may need to separately list any items above the limit in your policy.

    Also remember that the total sum insured in sheds and outbuildings is often lower than the main home, so be mindful of what you store there.

Building these safety habits means you can be more confident in finding your barbeque and fire pit where you’d expect them, ready for the next big garden party.

Find out more about home insurance

Our home insurance is there to protect your pocket from the cost of fixing damage or replacing things that are stolen, usually because of bad weather or break-ins. Fingers crossed this never happens, but if it does our home cover will help you get your home back in shape.

Find out more