Are you safe & secure?
Find out how to keep burglars at bay during the dark winter months
This guide explains why it is worth insuring your shed, how to secure your belongings and how to make sure that your contents are adequately covered
Meanwhile the quest for more living space has seen us replacing our workhorse garden sheds with chic, sleek summerhouses in increasing numbers, or even converting them into soundproof studios, home offices or extra bedrooms.
The contents of these outbuildings can easily run into the thousands to replace, and because they tend to be set up away from the home, they are a much easier target for would-be burglars.
Most home insurance policies cover the structure of any sheds and outbuildings on your property, and their contents, although you should check the policy details to see exactly what is and isn’t included.
‘For many of us, if our shed or outbuilding was broken into and items were stolen, we would have a hefty bill on our hands to replace them. From garden tools and furniture to bikes and BBQs, sheds often end up as a walk-in wardrobe for our expensive tools. Make sure you check the fine print of your home insurance policy to check what’s covered, you can then add additional contents insurance if you need to.’
Many domestic buildings insurance policies extend cover to outbuildings (including greenhouses and summerhouses) as standard, so as long as your home insurance is up to date, you should be covered against weather damage to the fabric of the shed. Usually, the level of cover is unlimited – but it’s wise to check the fine print of the policy.
From lawnmowers to bicycles and tool kits to golf clubs, the value of the contents of your shed could add up to a hefty amount. Luckily, contents insurance will help cover these items against the cost of repair and replacement costs caused by theft, malicious damage, fire and flood.
Remember to include the contents of your shed or outbuilding when estimating the value of your home contents and to note high-value items. If there’s anything in your garage that’s worth more than the single-item limit specified on your policy, you’ll have to declare it on your policy.
Also bear in mind that any high-value items, like a bike, which are damaged or stolen when you take them off your property won’t be covered unless you’ve opted for cover away from home (sometimes called personal belongings cover).
Add up how much your shed and outbuilding contents are worth as accurately as possible, which will make sure you’re covered for the full value. If you’re under-insured, your pay-out won’t cover the full costs of replacement or repair.
To work out the value, make a list of everything you store in your shed or outbuilding and estimate the cost of each item. This needs to be the amount it would cost to replace the item today, which may not be the same price as when you bought it.
If any of your items are worth more than £1,500, you may need to add extra cover to your insurance policy. Find our more about estimating the value of your home.
The usual maximum coverage for contents is £5,000 – but if you feel your belongings are worth more, you may want to consider moving some things into your home.
If you have any particularly expensive items, it’s worth making sure they’re covered. If you have any possessions worth more than that the standard single-item limit, you’ll need to list them separately on your policy.
If you intend to take the item out and about with you, make sure you’ve said you want cover outside your home.
Greenhouses and summerhouses are a type of outbuilding, so they may be covered under a standard home insurance policy. But if you have expensive items in your outbuilding like furniture, art or a big TV, you may need additional contents insurance. Check the policy details to see what’s covered.
Generally no – the shed needs to be on the same plot of land as your home to be covered by your contents insurance policy. You may be able to get group or individual cover through the allotment association, so check to see what they have in place.
You may be able to cover your gardening equipment on your home insurance if you’ve taken out personal possessions cover for portable belongings outside the home such as mobile phones, bags and cameras. However, it is better not to leave anything of value in your allotment shed overnight and it is often advised not to lock it, to prevent people breaking in for nothing.
If you want to use your shed or outbuilding as an office, your normal home insurance policy may cover you for working from home, but you’ll need to check. You might be able to extend your existing policy to cover having business guests at your home.
However, depending on your set-up – if you employ anyone, for example – you may need business insurance.
If you’re using a shed or outbuilding recreationally as a bedroom or yoga studio, you’ll probably need to check building regulations. If your outside space will permanently function as an additional home living space, you may need planning permission.
It’s important to keep your shed or outbuilding securely locked to deter burglars and to make sure your insurance policy is valid. Here are some ways to secure your garage:
You can avoid paying a shedload for your shed or outbuilding contents insurance when you compare home insurance with MoneySuperMarket. Simply give us a few details about your home and circumstances, and we will provide you with a range of options from our partner providers.
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