If you're a keen gardener you've probably spent a lot of time and money tending to your plants, trees, lawn and shrubs. You can't insure your garden against frost or slugs, but you can protect it from theft and malicious damage. In this guide we explain how to get the right plant insurance.
Do you need plant insurance?
If you add up how much you have spent in gardening and DIY centres it can come to a frightening amount. Even mature shrubs you raised from cuttings could now be worth £50 each.
While it would be unusual for a thief to dig up entire borders, some plants are particularly vulnerable to theft. Popular species found in pots such as olive trees, box balls, conifer pyramids and bay leaf trees are all expensive to buy and relatively easy to remove. Hanging baskets are also easy targets.
Disturbingly, some victims of plant theft believe there is a trade in specific plants stolen to order, which can make your garden and greenhouse a target if you have particularly rare or valuable species.
While it would be unusual for a thief to dig up entire borders, some plants are particularly vulnerable to theft
It's not just theft that can be a worry for gardeners. Fire, malicious damage, impact from falling objects and a car crashing into your garden call ruin expensive plants as well.
How can I protect my plants?
Think about the security of anything in baskets, pots or metal containers, as these are the most vulnerable. Expensive bay leaf trees look lovely next to your front door but it might be very easy for a thief to take them in the middle of the night. Consider cementing or bolting the containers into place. You could also place bricks into the bottom of tubs to weigh them down and make them harder to remove.
New garden plants are also at risk because they are easily pulled up, so do not draw attention to them. Remove the labels and water the whole area so that the new planting does not stand out.
Improve your general garden security with good fencing, gates and lighting to keep intruders out.
Are my plants insured?
Cover for plants is sometimes found within your home contents insurance, but there is a big variation amongst different insurers.
Some simply offer no cover at all, so even if you had hundreds of pounds worth of plants stolen from your garden it you would not get a pay-out. Others have maximum limits on plants of £1,000 or £2,000, although many cap pay-outs for single plants at £250.
It's worth pointing out that most insurers will not pay out if your plants are damaged by storm or flood. Accidental damage is also not covered, so don't expect a pay-out if you simply forgot to water the garden.
Get the right insurance
Take a look at your garden and try to add up the rough value of your plants. Then check the small print of your home contents insurance to see how much plant covered is offered. Check if there are any exclusions such as plants in pots. If you need more cover, talk to your insurer and see if additional cover can be arranged at an extra cost.
Aviva, for example, doesn't provide plant cover under standard policies but you can arrange add-on cover to provide £2,500 for replacement plants and re-landscaping, with a £250 single article limit.
If your insurer can't help, talk to a specialist insurance broker who will be able to find you the right level of cover for your garden.