One in ten home insurance policies doesn’t include barbecues, patio furniture or lawnmowers, despite many thousands investing in lockdowns
- 90% of UK households have access to a private or shared garden.
- Less than one in six policies covers gardening items up to £2,000
- One in five policies will not cover anything if stolen from an unlocked outhouse
Millions of households have spent expensive items on their gardens during various lockdowns, but many don’t have coverage for it, a new analysis by Defaqto shows.
The pandemic and increased work from home has seen more people spend, sometimes running into thousands of pounds, on patio furniture, grills, pizza ovens, lawnmowers, play equipment and a host of other expensive outdoor goods.
Around 90 per cent of UK households have access to a private or shared garden but for those with home insurance and home insurance one of 10 It’s estimated they don’t have cover for gardening supplies – and they may not know it.
Garden gold: Many households have pimped their gardens with gadgets and furniture (archive image)
Garden sofas, whirlpools and summer houses have gained great popularity since 2020.
However, according to the rating agency Defaqto, not all household contents insurance covers items left in the garden, such as furniture, grills or children’s playground equipment.
For those policies that do include coverage, many have low limits, typically £1,000 or even less, on items left in the garden as the outside area cannot be secured in the same way as a home.
One way to protect your patio furniture from thieves is to secure items in a shed or outbuilding when they are not in use.
97 per cent of home insurance policies cover items stored in outbuildings against damage, although fewer than one in six policies cover between £250 and £2,000.
It’s important to make sure you know the value of items left in outbuildings and that your policy covers the full cost of items in your yard – especially large appliances like a freezer, riding lawn mower or expensive tools.
It’s also important that outbuildings and garages are locked, as nearly 20 percent of policies don’t cover anything if it’s stolen from an unlocked outbuilding.
While garden insurance policies typically cover loss or damage from fire or theft, they often exclude natural damage from storms or floods.
This is a fairly universal exclusion since storm damage is so common, but when it comes to fences, walls, gates, and hedges, gardeners and homeowners can foot the bill for damage to those garden borders.
Most policies only provide coverage if damaged by a flying or falling object such as a falling branch or tree. You are not insured if the damage was caused by storm, flood or frost.
Defaqto’s Brian Brown said: “A few years ago most people would just have a BBQ and patio in their backyard, possibly with some sun loungers and a slide.
“Nobody had heard of ‘garden sofas’ and hot tubs were only for reality TV stars.
“It is not uncommon these days for people to have £10,000 worth of items in their garden as they have really become an extension of our indoor living spaces.
“Unfortunately, gardens typically offer little to no protection from thieves and the elements. Because of this, insurance coverage is often limited and gardeners could be left behind in the event of damage.
“It’s wise to keep this in mind if you’re buying something you plan to keep outside.
“If you have expensive items in the yard, check with your insurer to make sure you have adequate coverage and minimize risk by locking them away or attaching them to the building whenever possible.”
What should be considered when buying garden insurance?
New for old: When deciding how much coverage you need for your insurance, remember that your lost or damaged items will likely be replaced with new items. You should have adequate insurance to cover the purchase of new patio furniture and tools at current prices.
Buildings vs. Content: Coverage for things in your yard is split between buildings insurance and contents insurance, similar to your home insurance. Make sure you are fully covered with both types of insurance.
Coverage limits: Each insurer sets a cap on the total amount of coverage it pays out and on the amounts it pays out for individual items. These limits can vary greatly depending on the type of insurance. To ensure everything in your garden is fully insured, check your coverage limits.
Lock it up: Check the terms of your policy to determine what needs to be sealed, such as: e.g. garages and sheds. Locking up your valuables reduces the chance of them being stolen and not locking them in could void your insurance.