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How secure is your shed? New research has revealed that the average household stashes £1,787 worth of valuables in their shed, and not everyone is diligent enough to make sure these goods are properly secured.
One in five homeowners are leaving sheds and outbuildings at risk of damage or theft, according to the survey by Policy Expert. What's more, 48% of respondents admitted to not knowing whether their outbuildings and contents were insured or not, which means that thousands of pounds worth of goods could be without any form of protection.
It's easy to check your home insurance policy to see if it also covers sheds and outbuildings, but too many people simply assume that such protection is included, or don't even think about it. This could be a rather costly mistake, as aside from the average of £1,787, the survey revealed that one in 10 people have more than £5,000 worth of kit lying unprotected!
As you'd expect, the most common items stored are garden tools (which 85% of respondents stated they stashed in outbuildings), lawn mowers (81%) and DIY equipment (61%). The real pricey goods uncovered by the survey, however, included £10,000 worth of fishing rods, a £7,000 hot tub, £5,000 in diving equipment, £4,000 worth of vintage crockery, a £3,000 tractor, a £2,000 bronze statue, and a dove house (£500).
Even if you don't have anything this expensive to store, it's still a good idea to check what you're leaving vulnerable, especially if you're one of the 40% of people who use their shed as a workshop, the 10% who use it as a 'man cave', or the 6% who have turned their shed into a makeshift gym. All of these uses tend to require expensive equipment, which can all be at risk if you're not careful.
Adam Powell, head of Operations at Policy Expert, commented: "People store all sorts of items in their sheds and garages, and it's easy to overlook the sheer value of these possessions. People can't forget that outbuildings are often seen as an easy target for opportunistic thieves. When choosing an insurance policy, it's really important to check the small-print and make sure that the contents of your outbuildings are included … It's also worth investing in some additional security measures such as external lighting – and not just for peace of mind, it could bring your premium down too."
In better news, 83% of survey respondents said they have a fence in place to protect their garden and outbuildings, while 54% have a locked gate. However, only 8% use CCTV to monitor their surroundings and a mere 11% have a shed alarm. Thankfully, Policy Expert has gathered some handy tips to help you protect your valuables outside the home.
Aside from making sure your home insurance policy includes outbuilding protection, always make sure you have at least some security measures in place, such as outdoor lighting – preferably motion-sensitive – and/or a sturdy lock. Remember that tools stored in outbuildings could be used to break into your house, so there's every reason to want them protected!
As with the valuables inside your house, it's prudent to keep them as far away from prying eyes as possible. You wouldn't want to advertise your pricey possessions to thieves, so one thing to consider could be blacking out your shed's windows to make sure nobody can scout it out.
Of course it's not only thieves that could make life harder for you – there's also the weather to consider. You wouldn't want your priceless collection of vintage crockery, for example, to be ravaged by a flood or roof collapse, so make sure your outbuildings are defended from the elements as well as nefarious acts.
If, despite implementing the above tips and other security measures, the worst should still happen, you'll want to know you at least won't lose the value of your shed-ssentials. That's why you should check your home insurance policy to see if outbuildings are covered, and make sure that any pricey equipment is named specifically in the policy. If this is not the case, why not use our home insurance comparison tool to see if you could find more inclusive cover, and possibly save some money at the same time!
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