How secure is your shed or outbuilding? What’s the value of the items you store in there? What would you do if they were stolen or damaged?
A customer poll recently undertaken by Policy Experts revealed that some 20% of homeowners are leaving sheds and outbuildings at risk of damage and theft.
And with the survey showing that the average British shed now holds nearly £2000 of valuables, with 10% containing more than £5,000 worth of kit, this is a worrying situation.
Are you in this position? Are you insured or have you effectively got thousands of pounds of goods which could be at risk?
A shed can hide an Aladdin’s cave of valuables and the research finds that the uses for British sheds are as varied as the items we keep within them.
Some use their shed as a workshop, others as a ‘Man Cave’, gym or workout space.
Others use if as a play room for the kids, a Granny Annexe or even a home cinema.
Of course for many a shed or outbuilding is simply a space to store garden tools, lawn mowers and DIY equipment.
However, this recent survey shows that some more rather unusual, and often expensive items are also stored, including
- £10,000 of fishing rods
- A £7,000 hot tub
- £5,000 of diving equipment
- £4,000 of vintage crockery
- A £3,000 tractor
- A £2,000 bronze statue
- A £500 dove house
Whatever the use, with all these valuable being stored it would make sense to protect the garden or outbuilding, perhaps by a fence, locked gates or additional security measures such as CCTV or an alarm.
Encouragingly, many of these responding to the pole do at least have a fence.
Adam Powell, Head of Operations at Policy Expert commented: “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.
That means you need to check whether the value of the contents in your shed is covered by your existing outbuildings insurance.
And if you have a prized possession hidden in your shed, make sure you declare this specific item to your insurer.
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.”
Diane Ray, MoneyHighStreet.com comments: “As with all of your home contents it’s important that you take time to assess what you have and what their value is so that you ensure you get the best insurance to suit your needs, and ensure that you are not underinsured.
Often you can get a discount on your home insurance by having an alarm fitted or extra security.
It may of course be a stipulation of some insurance policies too that certain security is in place, for example a particular lock on your front door or patio doors, or locks on your downstairs windows.
If for example you do have an alarm, and it is not a specific requirement for your insurance, rather an option for which you may get a discount, think carefully before you declare it and take advantage of the discount.
The reason for this is that by declaring the alarm, each time you leave the house it would be vital for you to put the alarm on in order to comply with your insurance.
If you went out and didn’t put the alarm on for some reason it could be a real issue should you need to make a claim for any theft that occurred whilst you were away from your property.”
Tips from Policy Expert to keep your shed or outbuildings safe:
- Make sure your home insurance policy includes shed or outbuilding protection and check exactly what this includes
- Make sure you use security measures e.g. outdoor lighting or a good lock. Any tools stored in your outbuilding could potentially be used to break into your house, so by protecting your outbuilding, you are protecting your house too
- Make sure valuable items are shielded from view. Consider blacking out your outbuilding windows
- Make sure your outbuilding is protected from severe weather conditions.