How to protect your garden against thieves

The sun has finally decided to make an appearance, so it’s time to spruce up the garden and dust down the barbecue.

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Perhaps you also want to lay some new turf, put in a York stone patio, or invest in some stylish garden furniture?

The advent of summer brings out the gardener in all of us. Unfortunately, it also brings out the thieves.

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Theft from gardens shoots up by about 25% during the warmer months, so you should watch out for thieves as well as weeds.

Power tools are a big attraction for burglars, but so too are hand tools, barbeque sets and garden ornaments and equipment, such as mowers and strimmers.

And don’t forget bikes – more on that below.

Some thieves have even been known to roll up turf and carry it off. Same applies with paving slabs.

Are you covered?

You might expect garden theft to be covered by your home contents insurance. But it’s by no means guaranteed. You should therefore check out the terms and conditions of your policy because you might need to buy separate cover for the garden.

If your insurer includes garden contents, it will probably only offer cover up to a certain limit. The limits vary from policy to policy, but could be as low as a few hundred pounds. However, a top-of-the-range policy might offer cover up to £5,000.

Cover limits

The limits might sound generous, but the cost of patio furniture and garden ornaments can soon mount up. A garden table alone can cost as much as £1000.

It’s therefore a good idea to carry out a garden inventory when you choose your policy, especially if you have invested time and money in your garden, just to make sure you have adequate cover in place.

You can increase the amount of cover provided your policy, but you’ll have to pay a larger premium.

You can increase the amount of cover provided your policy, but you’ll have to pay a larger premium

Sheds and garages

Most insurers will also cover the contents of your shed or garage – but only if they are locked. The firm might even insist on a padlock.

If you don’t comply with the conditions, the insurer will not pay up in the event of a claim.

For example, let’s say you were trimming the hedge and left your tools in the garden while you popped inside for some lunch. If the tools were stolen by an opportunist thief, you would not be covered. 

The small print will also tell you the limit on the contents cover for outbuildings. And again, different firms impose different limits.

Bicycle protection

It’s worth mentioning bicycles because most insurers cover bicycles on a home contents policy. However, the conditions are usually strict.

The bike must normally be kept either inside the house or inside a locked shed or garage. In other words, the insurer would not pay out if the bike was left in the garden and subsequently stolen.

Security measures

Homeowners can help to prevent theft by clearing up the garden at night and locking away any valuable items.

On the subject of locks, make sure any locks are secured with coach bolts or clutch-head screws, rather than ordinary screws that are easy to undo.

It can also help to put up blinds or curtains in the shed, or even attach grills to the windows. 

Practical steps

You can make your garden more secure by:

-Erecting boundaries, such as fences or prickly hedges

-Loose gravel can be an attractive feature of a garden, but it’s also a good deterrent because it’s noisy under foot

-Security lighting can deter intruders, too. After all, thieves don’t want to be in the spotlight.

-Fix hanging baskets out of reach or chain the basket to the bracket securely.

-You can also cement or bolt statues, ornaments and flower tubs in place, or put bricks or stones at the bottom of tubs to weigh them down.

-It can help the police if you mark valuable items with your postcode using a permanent marker. They can then be returned in the event of a robbery

-Keep photos of your valuables, too, to help with identification and recovery.

If you’re concerned about your garden’s security, why not consult your local police force for information about crime prevention or look into a neighbourhood watch scheme in your area.

Please note: any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

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