If you're a green-fingered gardener – or even if you just have a garden – you should consider the value of your plants, ornaments and other pieces of outdoor equipment and give some thought to appropriate insurance cover.
While your standard buildings and contents home insurance policy will include a certain amount of cover for garden items, the amount and level of cover will vary – so it's vital to check there's enough cover in place.
You might think you don't really need insurance cover for your garden, but thieves see them as a source of rich pickings. Many gardens are adorned with expensive items, from pots and lawnmowers to plants and Yorkshire stone paving.
Other items at risk of being plucked from homeowners' gardens include barbecues, furniture, antiques and ornaments – not to mention hot tubs, patio heaters and even bird tables and gnomes.
What's covered under your home insurance policy?
Sheds, patios, conservatories, garden walls, fences, hedges and gates will typically fall under your buildings insurance, as these are classed as part of your home's fixtures and fittings.
Items that are moveable count as contents, and these include garden furniture and equipment. Usually, home contents insurers limit the amount you can claim for items in your garden, with a separate limit for those in a shed or outbuilding.
Check the detail carefully. You could find, for example, that there is a limit for items secured in a shed – this might be £2,000, for example – while garden items cover might be £250. Remember that sums can vary significantly from policy to policy.
Also, while you will be covered for items taken from a shed or outbuilding, this only applies if you have secured the door with a lock, and there is evidence of forced entry. Your policy might require you to use locks of a certain standard.
You might think you don't really need insurance cover for your garden, but thieves see them as a source of rich pickings
Beware of gaps in the cover provided by insurance policies, as plants in the ground in your garden, rather than in pots, might be excluded from contents cover. If you've a penchant for expensive exotic plants, this is an important consideration.
If you have some particularly expensive items, you may wish to pay an additional sum to add these to your policy. For instance, if you have a pricey lawnmower, check with your insurer if this falls under standard cover or if it's necessary to pay extra for specific protection.
As with any form of home insurance, keep receipts for items you buy – any claim you make will run more smoothly if you can show these to the insurer.
Getting specialist cover
When it comes to gardens there are some exclusions, such as severe weather damage, which may not be covered under your policy. Lawns can also be lifted by determined and well-prepared thieves, but this might not be covered.
If you have a garden adorned with expensive items you might want to consider specialist cover from insurers such as Hiscox.