Would you be covered if your shed was broken into?

A recent survey of Which? members has revealed three in ten (31%) have more than £2,000 of equipment stored in their sheds and garages but we’ve found some insurance policies may not provide cover for all the contents if you suffer a break-in.

Belongings kept in sheds and garages are usually covered for theft under your home contents insurance but, depending on the value, they may not actually be protected. We looked at 38 standard policies and found that eight didn’t cover thefts worth more than £2,500 from outbuildings, meaning some gardeners may have insufficient cover in the event of a break in.

Analysis of 10 years’ worth of claims revealed that thefts from gardens and outbuildings can shoot up by around 25% during the summer months.

Many insurers have a ‘single article limit’ (the most they will pay to replace one specific item). This could mean that if expensive items like high-end bikes or ride-on lawnmowers are stolen, you may not receive the full value.

With more of us are using our sheds as offices, thefts of computers and mobile devices from sheds and outbuildings are on the up. Between 2012-14, 342 laptops, 387 computers and 447 phones were stolen from sheds in the London area alone.

Which? Gardening editor Ceri Thomas, said:

“With thefts from sheds on the rise in summer months, people should check whether their home contents insurance covers outbuildings and whether they need to cover items held outside the home separately.

“In the meantime, our advice is to keep sheds locked at all times, fit a battery-operated alarm and chain and padlock expensive items.”

Notes to editors:

1.    Survey of 995 Which? members carried out in April 2015

2.    Aviva analysis claims statistics from 2002-2011

3.    Theft data collated from figures released under the Freedom of Information Act

4.    Results and reviews of standard building insurance policies can be foundhere


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