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Protect your garden from green-fingered thieves

Protect your garden from green-fingered thieves

Category: Home insurance

Updated: 10/04/2017
First Published: 10/04/2017

MONEYFACTS ARCHIVE
This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

The gorgeous weather of this weekend means many of us will have been out in our gardens, and as spring arrives, so do thoughts of becoming green-fingered. Unfortunately, the same applies to thieves – many will be keeping a close eye on people's gardens over the next few months as sheds start to fill up with pricey kit, so make sure your home insurance policy is ready for it.

Shed-ding costs

Research from M&S Bank shows that many people seriously underestimate the importance of keeping their garden secured, with 26% of those with a shed admitting to leaving it unlocked, and 17% saying they never secure it, despite the typical contents being valued at an impressive £567 – and 19% saying their shed contains more than £1,000 of kit.

Even more worrying is the finding that 28% of shed-owners say that either they or someone they know has had items stored in their shed stolen or damaged, which makes the lack of security even more surprising. Many don't think about their home insurance implications, either, with 47% saying that items stored in their shed either weren't covered by their policy, or they didn't know what was covered.

Garden goodies

It isn't only sheds that are targeted, either – surprisingly, 14% of those with a garden said that they or someone they know has had their garden greenery damaged or stolen, but given that the average garden contains around £424 worth of bushes, plants, shrubs and trees, it's perhaps little wonder that thieves are so green-fingered.

Many homeowners spend a lot of time and effort keeping their garden looking pristine, too, with 22% estimating that they spend between two and four hours each week on its upkeep during spring and summer, and 11% spending more than 10 hours a week doing so. Even so, 66% don't know or haven't checked whether their garden is insured, with only 11% confident that their garden greenery was covered under their home insurance policy.

"People often invest significant time and money into their garden, and the value of items, whether in the shed or in the garden itself, can quickly mount up," said Paul Stokes, head of products at M&S Bank.

"That's why it's surprising that a significant proportion of homeowners still don't know whether they have adequate cover for theft or damage to both the shed and garden, should the worst happen. As we head into spring, we would urge households to review what measures they may need to secure their garden, as well as what is included within their policy, to ensure they are covered."

Security measures

Thoroughly checking your insurance policy so you know exactly what you're covered for can give you valuable peace of mind this summer, leaving you safe in the knowledge that your expensive gardening tools and even the greenery itself will be covered should the worst happen.

But what can you do to prevent the worse from happening in the first place? M&S Bank has the following tips:

  • Fix a good-quality lock or padlock on the shed door, as well as any garden gates, to prevent easy access

  • Similarly, fit locks to any shed windows and ensure they're kept shut

  • Ensure the shed is locked whenever it's not in use, but especially at night. Double-check after a day of gardening

  • Don't keep items on display in the garden. Instead, lock all appropriate belongings (such as barbecues and lawnmowers) in the shed overnight, as items left out in the garden may not be covered for theft

  • As is the case inside the home, don't leave expensive items in direct view; you may even want to fit a blind over shed windows so that contents can't be seen

  • Install automatic security lighting in the garden to act as a deterrent

  • Similarly, a prickly hedge around the garden (or even tall fences) can help deter intruders

What next?

Check your home insurance policy for inclusions, and if you're not happy with the level of cover, start comparing home insurance quotes so you know what's available when it's time to renew – use our quote tool to find the best home insurance policy for your needs.

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.

 
 
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