Thieves grab garden gear as nights get lighter

British Summertime sees a 20% rise in shed and garages thefts

With the long-awaited British Summertime just around the corner, homeowners are being warned to lock their garden sheds and garages as light-fingered thieves will be out to take advantage of the extra daylight.

Analysis of ten years of our claims data* reveals that thefts from gardens and outbuildings shoot up by 20% when the clocks go forward with the average haul totalling around £850.

And thieves will be keen to get their hands on anything within easy reach – from children’s toys to bikes to garden tools:

Of the garden equipment stolen last year:

  • 42% of thefts were for power tools, of which 56% were drills
  • 39% were for simple hand tools like spades, shovels, rakes and forks
  • 19% were for electric and petrol lawnmowers, chainsaws and ladders**

However, the thieves don’t just wait for British Summertime to begin before they start looting gardens, as the lighter evenings in March show a 10% increase in thefts compared with the dark nights of January.

And as the nights get lighter the number of claims increase, with July and August peeking at almost 30% higher than at the start of the year.

Jonathan Cracknell, our household underwriting manager, says; “We’re all looking forward to a bit more sunshine, but lighter evenings also mean all your expensive power tools, bikes and children’s toys are more visible to passing criminals.

“So after a day in the garden or doing a bit of DIY ensure everything is secured away inside your home, shed or garage. And remember items such as ladders and wheelie bins are perfect for burglars to use to get into your home, so keep them out of reach and out of sight if you can.”

Our cover

Our household policies provide cover for theft of contents in locked/secured outbuildings, garages and garden sheds up to £2500, so that would include your mountain bike, lawnmower and set of golf clubs.

Up to £500 of your contents in the garden are also covered, as standard, for theft and damage caused by things like fire, malicious damage or extreme weather events.  This includes patio furniture, pots and BBQs, but if you have some particularly nice garden ornaments or a fancy table and chairs that cover can be increased to £1500 from around £9 a year.

But remember bikes are not covered if you leave them lying in your garden.

If you do want cover for your bikes outside the home and anywhere in the world you might want to take out extra cycle cover which again costs from around £9 a year for the whole family’s bikes. (Cover limits from £300 to £2,500)

Similarly if you would like your golf clubs or fishing tackle to be covered outside the home you could consider taking out additional personal belongings cover, which again covers you anywhere in the world. It costs from around £27 a year for £2000 worth of cover.

Our  Top Tips to beat the shed burglar

  • Don’t tempt the thieves in, put away your garden tools, paddling pool, trampoline and bikes at the end of the day
  • Lock your sheds and out-buildings, replace any rusty padlocks.
  • Close gates and repair damaged fences - deterrents are sometimes the best prevention.
  • Hide or cover bulky items which can’t be locked away, such as large gas barbecues and picnic benches.
  • Lock up ladders and secure wheelie bins – they are perfect for giving burglars a leg up into the rest of your home!

* Aviva claims data 2003 – 2012

** Aviva theft claims data from January to December 2012

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