With the hottest summer on record hitting the UK and Brits spending increasing amounts of time outside, new research from the UK’s leading price comparison website, MoneySuperMarket, reveals although the average value of a British garden now sits  at over £1,250, only a quarter (25 per cent) have listed a key garden item on their insurance policy.

While high value items such as bikes and BBQs can often be a target, small cost items such as plants, ornaments and even paving slabs can be valuable to intruders too. Although standard buildings and contents insurance policies will include a certain amount of cover for garden items, MoneySuperMarket’s research shows that the majority of Brits (76 per cent) have never listed a key ‘outside’ item of value on their home insurance policy.

MoneySuperMarket data cites gardening tools as the item Brits are most likely to have in their garden (70 per cent), followed by a lawnmower (61 per cent), furniture (45 per cent) and a BBQ (41 per cent). Almost one in 10 also have camping equipment (nine per cent) or a fridge (nine per cent) kept outside their home.

Although more than two thirds of Brits with gardens own gardening tools, less than five per cent actually insure such items, with just three percent also insuring their BBQ -– a piece of kit costing an average of £2501. Despite the average cost of a bike in the UK sitting at £2332, MoneySuperMarket also found that only 15 per cent of Brits listed one as a separate item of value on their home insurance policy3.

Potted plants are among the items Brits are likely to own and not think about insuring (38 per cent vs 0.7 per cent), followed by gardening tools (70 per cent vs five per cent) and BBQs (41 per cent vs three per cent).

Garden items Brits are likely to own and insure:

 

  % of Brits that own the following item % of Brits that own the following and have specifically added the item to their home insurance policy
Potted plants 38.44 0.6
Gardening tools 69.65 4.8
BBQ 40.96 3.0
Lawnmower 61.39 5.1
Garden furniture 45.09 3.8
Power tools/tools for DIY work 29.49 2.6
Camping equipment 9.29 1.3
Fridge 9.41 2.8

 

Two thirds (67 per cent) of Brits have a garden or shed, with that figure jumping to nine out of 10 of those aged over 55, compared to 57 per cent of 18-24-year-olds. When looking across the country, London tops the list for those with a balcony (14 per cent) and falls nearly bottom of the list for owning a garden (75 per cent), closely followed by Scotland (seven per cent) and the North East (70 per cent).

Kevin Pratt, consumer affairs expert at MoneySuperMarket, commented:

“Standard buildings and contents policies include a certain amount of cover for garden items, but the specifics will vary – so it’s vital to check there’s enough cover in place to protect the items of value.

“However, prevention is always better than cure and in the summer months, there’s the temptation to leave the shed unlocked or leave valuable items outside. This is risky on two fronts – it makes life easier for a thief, and it could possibly void your home insurance, since many policies only cover belongings that have been locked away. It takes no more than a few minutes to jump online and read through your policy, and if you’re about to renew your cover, you should shop around to switch if you feel you could get a better offer elsewhere.”

MoneySuperMarket’s top tips and tricks to keep gardens and sheds safe this summer:

Know your policy

Polices will vary by provider and type, so it’s important you understand the ins and outs of your particular policy. Items that are moveable count as contents – this includes garden furniture and equipment. Usually, home contents insurers limit the amount you can claim for items in your garden, often with a separate limit for those in a shed or outbuilding.

Lock valuables away

Make sure valuables are locked away in a shed or outbuilding, as it’s generally one of the first questions the insurance provider will ask if you make a claim for theft. They may ask for proof that there was forced entry.

Secure your bikes

Even if you put bikes inside your locked shed, lock the bikes themselves. And if the bikes are in the garden, lock them to an immovable object. Some policies stipulate that you do this.

Defend your property

Fit locks to garden gates and consider security lighting in the garden. You could even plant shrubs and bushes along your borders to deter someone climbing over the wall.

For Brits looking to understand more about home and contents insurance policies, visit MoneySuperMarket’s home insurance hub.