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Keeping your garden secure

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If the last few summers are anything to go by, now is the time of year when we can all start moving outside more often into the garden. Indeed, for many, the garden is likely to become an alfresco extension of the house itself.

In many respects, that is how insurance companies view the situation too – elements of cover are extended to garden furniture and equipment against loss and damage in much the same way as the contents of your home.

Home insurance – what garden items are covered?

But as the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) warns, not all insurance companies provide the same degree or extent of cover for items in your garden as others. It is essential, therefore, to check exactly what your present policy covers – and, if necessary, contact us here at UKinsuranceNET to review your insurance needs.

With items such as patio heaters or elaborate chimineas in many gardens and a whole array of planted material, the contents of your garden may rapidly assume considerable value. So, one of the first things to check is any limit on claims under your present home insurance policy for items that are lost, stolen or damaged.

As BIBA indicates, however, the range of items for which claims have been made is wide-ranging indeed and includes plants, statues, garden equipment, iron gates, barbeque fires and even garden gnomes. 

The list reflects a survey cited by Country Living magazine on the 1st of May 2019, which identified the 10 most commonly stolen items from gardens – namely, bicycles, garden tools, plants and shrubs, hanging baskets, plant pots, garden ornaments (including gnomes!), children’s toys, solar lights, outdoor furniture, and delivered parcels and packages.

Sadly, the incidence of theft from gardens is on the rise, with the Office for National Statistics recently pointing to a 23% increase in the past two years.

Mitigating the losses 

Even though you have arranged adequate insurance to protect items in your garden, any insurer has the right to expect you to take all reasonable precautions against theft, loss or damage – if you fail to do so, you may be considered responsible for contributory negligence and any settlement adjusted accordingly. 

The kind of precautions you need to take, therefore, might include:

  • putting garden items into secure storage when they are not in use or making sure they are properly immobilised;
  • obvious items might include garden tools – an article in our Knowledge Base mentions the thieves who used a homeowner’s wheelbarrow to steal a patio heater;
  • ladders, too, may be awkward things to store, but don’t leave them unchained and padlocked for any thief to use to gain access through open upstairs windows;
  • most gardens have a shed of some kind or another, so make sure that garden tools and lawnmowers are safely stored inside it and that it is securely locked ;
  • lighting up your garden with motion-detecting security lights is a good way of deterring the thief in the night – but you might want to make sure that their sensitivity settings are correctly adjusted so that they are not set off by accident.

Home insurance policies may go a long way to protecting the items in your garden but remember that you also bear responsibility for keeping them safe and secure to mitigate against any theft, loss or damage.