With the UK enjoying its hottest day of the year over the weekend, the latest analysis from MoneySuperMarket has revealed that a large majority of people never insure items stored outside and 16% have had items stolen from their garden or shed.
According to the data, despite the average British garden containing £1,270 worth of valuable items, two thirds of people surveyed have never had any outdoor items insured, potentially leaving £24.4bn worth of goods at risk of theft over the summer months.
The most common items that Brits keep in their gardens include furniture (49%), DIY tools (46%), bikes (30%) and BBQs (29%). Of the 16% that have been victims of garden theft, the most commonly stolen items are bikes (24%) and DIY tools (23%). A third (33%) of those who have had items stolen from outside didn’t have those items insured, leaving them at a loss. Despite their common nature and often high value, only 13% of Brits have ever insured their bike under their home insurance policy.
MoneySuperMarket’s data also highlights the regional differences between the value of items stored outside, finding that those living in the West Midlands have the highest value items (a total of £1,525), while North East gardens contain the lowest value items (£853). Those living in the West Midlands not only have items that total the highest amount stored in their garden, but they’re also the most likely to have had items stolen previously at 23%, compared to the national average of 16%.
Helen Chambers, head of home insurance at MoneySuperMarket said, “Particularly in the summer months, there’s the temptation to leave items of value outside overnight or keep your shed unlocked, but that could leave you open to a risk of burglary and in turn, possibly void your home cover if you need to make a claim. Most standard contents insurance policies include a small amount of cover for garden items, but specifics can vary wildly, so it’s worth checking to ensure that your valuable items are fully covered.
“The home insurance market is very competitive, so it’s also worth checking if you could get a cheaper premium elsewhere. If you haven’t switched for a while, that’s probably going to be the case. It takes minutes to switch to a competitive policy and you could save up to 43% on your bills.”
Top tips to keep gardens and sheds safe this summer:
Lock valuables away
One of the first questions your insurance provider will ask in the event of a claim is if your valuables were locked away in a shed or outbuilding, and you’ll often be asked for proof of forced entry.
Defend your property
Fitting locks to gates and having lighting in your garden is a good way to put off any would-be-thieves. Planting shrubs and bushes along your borders can also deter unwanted visitors gaining access to your garden by climbing over walls.
Secure your bikes
Often the most valuable item stored outside will be a bike. Even if you put bikes inside your locked shed, lock the bikes themselves or chain them to an immovable object. Some policies stipulate that you do this.
Know your policy
Policies vary by provider and type, so it’s important you understand what you’re covered for personally. Items that are moveable, such as garden furniture or equipment, count as contents. Insurers often limit the amount you can claim for items in your garden, usually with a separate limit for those in an outbuilding or shed.