Shed insurance

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If your shed is full of bikes, tools and gardening gear, you'll need to check you've got adequate insurance.

garden shed

Sheds can be easy targets for burglars as they often contain valuable items such as bicycles, gardening equipment and tools. In this guide we explain how to keep your belongings secure and how to go about insuring shed contents.

Lock up

Secure shed doors with a padlock attached to a strong hasp and staple (also known as a 'padbar'). Shed hinges should be secured with coach bolts or non-returnable screws. You could also install a 'shed bar,' which is simply a horizontal bar laid over the width of the shed door frame. This is a highly visible deterrent for thieves.

If you keep a bike in your shed, the shed must always be kept locked otherwise insurers might not pay out if the bike is stolen. Your policy will set out their approach to this issue and tell you what you need to do.

You would still normally get a pay out if any other items are stolen from an unlocked shed, although once again it's worth checking the small print to be sure.

Keep your shed well maintained

Replace any rotten doors or window frames as these are obvious weak spots for a thief to target. Use perspex or polycarbonate as a more secure alternative for shed and garage windows. Use a window lock or simply screw windows shut if you do not use them.

You could also place a strong grille or wire mesh over windows for extra security. Use curtains or netting so people cannot see what you store inside your shed.

Get an alarm

Shed alarms are available from DIY stores for as little as £15. They are easy to fix and you simply type a number into a keypad within twenty seconds of entering and leaving the shed.

Cover for theft

Your belongings in your shed are normally covered for theft under your home contents insurance. Many will have a maximum pay-out limit for your shed, together with other 'outbuildings' such as your garage, greenhouse or summer house. There may therefore be a risk of being underinsured if a burglar broke into all your outbuildings.

Avoid keeping valuable items such as golf clubs, power tools or telescopes in your shed

Limits vary from insurer to insurer, so you should check the small print of your policy. Aviva for example covers £2,500 theft from garages and £2,500 theft from outbuildings which includes your shed, greenhouse, or summer house. Other insurers such as Halifax have a higher limit of £5,000 but this includes garage AND outbuildings.

Think about what is stored in your shed and other outbuildings and try to add up the value. Do you have adequate cover? If not, you may want to talk to your insurer about buying additional cover, or store less valuable things in the shed where it is more vulnerable.

Cover for fire, flood and storm

Your shed itself is insured under your home buildings insurance for the usual fire, flood and storm damage. Cover for damage done to your belongings in these scenarios would be included in your home contents policy. Unlike for theft, there is not normally a maximum pay-out limit for damage caused by fire, flood or storm.

What to keep in a shed

Avoid keeping valuable items such as golf clubs, power tools or telescopes in your shed. These should be more securely stored in your home.

It's worth remembering that insurers have a 'single article limit' which is the most they will pay to replace one specific item, regardless of where it is kept. This is normally between £1,500 and £3,000. So beware that if you had a set of golf clubs worth £4,000, for example, you may not automatically receive its full value.

If you want full cover for your most valuable items, you should declare them specifically to your insurer who will arrange additional cover at an extra cost.

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