Home insurance Updated:
The clocks have moved forward, the days are longer, and spring has officially sprung – but more hours of sunshine herald the need to check that your outside spaces are protected from opportunistic thieves.
The beginning of spring means that the green-fingered among us will be heading outside with their gardening tools and equipment, while others will be bringing the patio furniture out from its winter of hibernation. But is your garden secure enough to cope with it?
Figures from Lloyds Bank Insurance show that unforced burglary claims cost an average of £1,120 last year, with there being a 14% rise in such claims during the summer months than in winter. Claims of this nature reached their peak in July, showing a clear correlation between the temperature and garden theft.
Given how much you can spend on your garden in a typical year, it makes a lot of sense to protect it. The figures went on to reveal that UK homeowners spend an average of £318 on items for their garden every year, while those with children spend even more (£380/year on average), with things like Wendy houses (20%), swings/slides (26%) and trampolines being particularly popular.
These kinds of items can be desirable to thieves, but even more traditional garden purchases can garner attention – expensive tools, lawnmowers and even pricey plants can all prove attractive. However, despite the amount spent on outdoor spaces, 41% of respondents admitted that they haven't got secure locks on garden gates and 22% said they left items outside that weren't insured, and a further 16% didn't know if they were insured or not.
Happily, it needn't be too expensive or time-consuming to rectify things. Start by making sure that garden sheds, gates, garages and outbuildings remain securely locked when not in use, and make sure there aren't any gaps in fences or bushes that could provide an easy path for thieves.
Don't leave expensive equipment in plain sight – always safely store tools and lawnmowers away from prying eyes – and you may even want to invest in gravel for the paths or driveways so that you can be alerted should anyone be on your property. And, if the worst should happen, make sure you're prepared by marking valuable items with your postcode and keeping photos in case anything is stolen, and make sure that your home insurance includes garden cover for added peace of mind.
"We know that burglars will often follow the path of least resistance, so it's a good idea for homeowners to ramp up security outside the home at this time of year to avoid becoming an easy target," said Tim Downes, senior claims manager at Lloyds Bank Insurance. "Taking some cost-effective simple steps and having adequate insurance that includes garden cover can help you avoid stumping up for stolen items should the worst happen."
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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