Garden insurance: what you need to know

As part of our garden insurance feature video, Felicity King-Evans interviewed Julie Owens, head of home insurance at moneysupermarket.com. There was some extra information and advice we didn't include, so we've released the full interview for you...

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Felicity King-Evans: So Julie, isn’t garden cover included as standard in most home insurance policies?

Julie Owens: Well, the good news is that a large number of insurers are now recognising the time effort and expense people are going to and actually creating their gardens, and clearly they want to protect that.

The average value of a garden is about £1,500, which is a whooping amount and really the easy picking in a garden are now things like garden furniture, barbeques, lawnmowers and decorative pots and these are items that can be easily transported and thieves can sell them at car boot fairs.

So, what you are finding now is that most insurers will offer an element of garden cover, but there are three things to look out for - there are three different types – and all insurers offer different levels and limits for those types of cover. So, the first thing to look for is whether you have ‘contents in the open cover’, that will typically cover things such as your barbeque, your garden furniture and your pots. Now some insurers such a LV will offer up to £1,000 for contents in the open, Hiscox will offer £2,500, so there are big variations.

FKE: Is that overall or is that per item?

JO: That would be overall, so there would be a need to specify any high value items that you have, the second thing to loom for is whether they cover plants in your garden, and that does exactly what it says on the tin – its cover for you plants and also your shrubs and your hedges – now there is a lower limit to that, typically someone like the AA would offer you £250, but some providers go up to £500.

And the last area is for items in your out buildings, so that thing that you have in your shed or your garage. Someone like More Than will offer up to £75,000 for that and M&S actually offer unlimited cover.

So, very different areas of cover, very different limits, so the idea really, I would urge people to go online use our comparison site and actually check those limits in detail, side by side so you know what you are covered for.

FKE: And you have got the right cover for your particular garden?

JO: Absolutely.

FKE: You mentioned outbuildings. How important is it that people secure their sheds properly, can that effect how people make their claim?

JO: Absolutely it does. It’s very difficult to make a claim if you haven’t locked and securely protected your shed or your garage. You have to remember that thieves actually don’t like a challenge so sheds and garages are really easy pickings for them – they are gold mines – so always make sure they are secured with a padlock and they are bolted as well for extra protection. And whatever you do don't leave any tools or implements lying around in your garden which could then be used to break into the shed or garage.

Insurers will want to know you have secured that building before they pay out on a claim.

FKE: Julie, thank you very much indeed.

JO: Thank you!

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