An increasing number of homes are making use of the space in garden to erect a shed, outbuilding, or other structure for storage, a place of retreat and escape from the pressures of daily life – and maybe even a so-called granny annexe for an elderly relative.
Structures like these are many and varied but if they share one thing in common it’s likely to be the relative expense of construction. For that reason alone, you will want to know whether the building is covered by your existing home insurance policy.
Add to this the likely value of the contents – and if you are using it as a home office or garden room, computer equipment and other electronic gadgets probably represent considerable expense – then you’ll want to know whether these are also covered under any existing insurance policy.
Does building insurance cover my outbuildings?
Building insurance is typically the major component of home insurance and protects the structure and fabric of the building against such potentially serious risks as fire, flooding, escape of water, storm damage, impacts, theft, and vandalism.
As the Association of British Insurers (ABI) points out, most building insurance policies extend cover to outside structures such as garages, greenhouses, and garden sheds. That is not always the case, however, so you need to check with your insurer to determine exactly what is and what is not covered – especially since the potential range of outbuildings can be as varied as sheds, home offices, summer houses, games rooms, garden bars, or even residences such as granny annexes.
Just as you would your home itself, any of the outbuildings must also be kept locked. Indeed, warns the Lancashire Constabulary, outbuildings to homes in rural areas attract more than their fair share of thieves and intruders. Window locks or grills can be fitted to the windows of sheds and garages, with their doors either lockable or secured with padlocks.
What about the contents of my outbuildings?
It might be comforting to know that most home insurance policies also cover the contents of any outbuildings on the property.
Look carefully at the small print, however, and you are likely to find that, even where cover is included, claims are probably limited to a given maximum per item – and that maximum might be as low as just £1,000 or £2,000.
As a story in the Guardian newspaper on the 17th of April 2021 advised, therefore, you might do well to arrange separate insurance for the contents of certain outbuildings.
According to the financial pages of the Daily Mail on the 5th of March 2021, more than 70,000 thefts from outbuildings have been reported in England and Wales since 2018 and thieves have made off with an estimated total of £30 million of goods.
You might be surprised by the value of the contents of your outbuildings. Take a moment to think about the value of the garden furniture in your summer house, for example, the gaming equipment or electronic devices in your garden room, the office equipment in that building from which you are working from home, or the apparatus in your gym.
Those values might soon outgrow the limits of cover contained in your current home insurance, so you might want to review and upgrade your property insurance cover.
How do I get contents cover for my outbuildings?
Here at UKinsuranceNET, we are delighted to announce that we have a panel of insurers that should be able cover you need for the outbuildings in your garden and their contents.
Contents cover can be arranged for a huge range of outbuildings used for purposes as diverse as sheds or offices, garden rooms and games rooms, garden bars, and summer houses, or even your fully equipped gym.
Minimise your risk
As with any type of general insurance, an onus rests with you to minimise the possibility of loss or damage to outbuildings and their contents and to mitigate the insured risks. The guiding principle is that you take as good care of the insured items as you would if there were no insurance in place. So:
- always lock your outbuildings;
- install movement-detection sensors to spot potential intruders;
- remove high-value items from view through the windows – and store smaller items in a safe;
- use a floor-mounted padlock and chain for expensive kit such as bicycles and motorbikes;
- think about the security of fencing around your garden – hedges of holly, hawthorn, or other prickly shrubs will deter all but the most determined of intruders; and
- remember that gravel or paths of loose stones will make it more difficult for thieves to creep up on your property unheard.
The good news is that we can arrange insurance to put your mind at rest about cover for your beloved outbuildings – whether it is a simple shed, a more luxurious summer house, a garden gym, your garden room, a home office, or the alfresco bar at which you are looking forward to entertaining your friends. Why not contact us today to find out more?