Bicycles, barbecues, lawnmowers, power tools, gardening equipment, patio heaters, extra furniture that doesn’t fit in your home - Britons stash almost anything in garden sheds. In fact, UIA Mutual Assurance has estimated that we each have an average of £1,300 of personal items stored in sheds, outhouses and gardens, and thieves know this too.
Luckily, most standard home insurance
policies cover the building and contents of sheds and outbuildings. But you’ll want to account for the value of the items stored in the shed and the potential cost of replacing the shed itself, when totting up the sum insured for your policy. And you’ll need to take proper security measures with the shed, including keeping the shed locked, to keep your cover valid.
Does my home buildings insurance cover my shed?
Insurance for the physical structure of sheds is usually included as standard in your home buildings insurance policy. This means you can make a claim for damage suffered by the shed due to fire, floods, natural disasters and other insured events.
This cover usually also extends to other outbuildings, including greenhouses, garages, and summerhouses. But you’ll want to check the fine print of your policy documents to see what exactly is covered and excluded by your policy.
Does my home contents insurance cover items in my shed?
Usually home contents insurance policies will cover the items you store in your shed. There are some caveats and exceptions, however.
Firstly, some insurers may place cover limits on contents kept in outbuildings. These can be generous (for example £3,000 or £5,000) but they can be quite restrictive (£500). Typically, there’s also a limit on the value of each individual item. £1,500 is common, although some higher-end policies are more generous. And some items you store in sheds, including golf clubs, bicycles and expensive power tools may exceed this limit. You will need to declare these high value items to your insurer when arranging cover either for a surcharge on your premiums or possibly look for separate insurance policies for them. Insurers may refuse to cover valuable items you store in sheds. This may include laptops, musical instruments, money and other valuables.
Additionally, most of these policies will only pay out for theft if there are signs of forced entry. That means you’ll need to keep your shed secure to ensure your policy is valid.
How do I keep my shed secure?
Theft is the main cause behind a large number of home insurance claims for sheds. To deter thieves and keep your policy valid, it’s worth taking the following precautions:
- Keep the shed locked with a padlock: You wouldn’t leave your home unlocked, so you shouldn’t leave your shed unlocked. Invest in a heavy-duty, weather and corrosion resistant padlock to thwart burglars. Insurance policies typically won’t pay out for theft claims on sheds unless there are signs of forced entry i.e. the criminal didn’t simply walk through the door you left unlocked when you put away your barbecue.
- Keep your shed in good condition: A shed with crumbling walls and broken windows is an easy target for thieves. Check the hinges and locks on doors and that the windows are in good condition.
- Hide high value items: Conceal expensive power tools and furniture under dust sheets and lock up other valuable items, including bicycles either with locks onto other items, or in a locker or lockable cabinet or cage.
- Cover or secure windows: Prevent thieves from eyeing up your lawnmower by blacking out windows or securing them with bars or a grille.
- Is your shed visible? Can you see your shed from your home, the street or neighbouring properties? Thieves are more likely to target sheds that are out of sightlines. Also consider installing automatic security lights around your shed.
Are allotment sheds covered by my home insurance policy?
No, unfortunately. Home insurance policies only cover buildings located on the same property, which means your allotment shed and its contents won’t be covered by your house’s policy.
You may be able to obtain cover, either for yourself or as a group, through the allotment association.