Ten steps to keep your garden safe

Published:
03 June 2010
Topic:
News,Insurance,Home

Here in the UK, we may not get much sun but when it does start to shine, we start to splurge. Many of us have gardens crammed full of expensive ornaments, tools, plants and recreational gear like barbeques and outdoor furniture.

In fact, M&S Home Insurance found the average shed contains £888-worth of kit, while splashing out on patio heaters and chimeneas can add thousands of pounds to the value of your outdoors property.

Watch our latest video 'Thousands of pounds at risk in your garden' to see just how quickly the value can rack up.

Despite this, many of us have never thought about whether or not our home insurance would cover property in our gardens if anything were to be stolen or damaged. In fact, many people's gardens are underinsured, as levels of protection can vary hugely.

Most home insurance policies will include some sort of garden cover in their standard home insurance policies, but this can range from a £250 cap to unlimited cover from M&S. Here's a table showing what some of the leading deals protect:

 Insurer

 Limit for items in garden

 Limit for items in outbuildings

 Barclays
(with garden cover)

 £1,500

 Sum insured
£3,000 for theft

 Barclays
(without garden cover)

 £500

 Sum insured
£3,000 for theft

 Budget

 £1,000

 £2,000

 Churchill

 £250

£2,000 

 Egg

£500 

Sum insured 

 esure

£2,000 

£2,000 

 Halifax

£500 

Sum insured 

 HSBC

£500

£2,000 

 Legal & General

£1,000 

Sum insured
10% of sum insured for theft 

 M&S

Unlimited 

Unlimited 

 Aviva
(with garden cover)

£1,500 

£2,500 

 Aviva
(without garden cover)

£1,500 

£2,500 

 The AA

 £1,000

 £3,000

Sourced by www.moneysupermarket.com 21.04.2010

So, if you're starting to tally up the value of your garden glories, here are our top 10 tips for keeping your garden safe.

Read your policy

Some insurers will cover some items but not others, or will only pay out if whatever it is was secured in an outbuilding like a shed. Read your small print to make sure everything in your garden has the protection you think it does.

Lock and bolt gates

It's the basics of garden security, really: keep your fences in a good state of repair and lock your gate when you're not using your garden. Thieves will soon give up and look for an easier target.

Secure your shed

From garden strimmers to bicycles, the real value in a garden is often found in sheds, so make sure yours is properly secured. Many insurers will turn down a claim if it turns out you hadn't locked your outbuildings.

Don't give thieves a helping hand

You may not think it matters if you leave the odd tool out of your shed, but make sure you don't have anything lying around your garden that could help them break in!

Protect your walls

Fences, walls and gates are not always covered under home insurance policies, so find out if yours are. Otherwise, you risk an unexpected bill one windy day.

Light up your garden

Install a security camera in your garden to frighten off would-be thieves. It's best to put this next to your house so that it's harder for anyone to break into your home or steal from your garden.

Keep your receipts

Have you spent so much money on a fire pit that you think your insurer will never believe you? Keep receipts for all your prized but pricey possessions so there's no dispute over any of your claims.

Sure you don't need specialist protection?

Do you have lots of expensive items in your garden? Perhaps you collect sculptures or have the finest collection of rare snowdrops seen in Hampshire? If you're a special case, you need specialist insurance - so consider opting for a high net-worth policy.

Name any high value kit

Some people have lawnmowers worth more than cars. If you have a small number of particularly high-value items then declare them to your insurer. Otherwise you might be caught out by a single item limit on your policy. Bear in mind that swimming pools are not usually automatically covered, so you should tell your insurer if you have one.

Protect your home

If the sun does shine this summer, many of us will spend the evenings and weekends enjoying our gardens, but make sure the front of your home is secured against opportunistic thieves.

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