Millions of households splashed out on expensive items for their gardens in various lockdowns, but many do not have cover for them, new analysis by Defaqto shows.
The pandemic and increased working from home resulted in more people forking out for garden furniture, BBQs, pizza ovens, lawnmowers, play equipment and a raft of other expensive outdoor goods, sometimes totalling thousands of pounds.
Around 90 per cent of households in Britain have access to a private or shared garden but for those with home insurance and contents cover, one in 10 are estimated not to have cover for garden items – and they may not realise.
Garden gold: Many households have pimped up their gardens with gadgets and furniture (stock image)
Garden sofas, hot tubs and summer houses have soared in popularity since 2020.
Yet, according to rating firm Defaqto, not all home insurance covers contents left in the garden, such as furniture, barbecues, or children’s play equipment.
For the policies that do include cover, many have low limits, typically for £1,000 or even less, for items left in the garden, as outdoor space cannot be secured in the same way a home is.
One way to protect your garden furniture from thieves is to secure items in a shed or outbuilding when not in use.
97 per cent of home insurance policies cover items stored in outbuildings against damage, although less than one in six policies give cover between £250 and £2,000.
It’s important to ensure you know the value of items left in outbuildings and to check your policy covers the full cost of the items in your garden – especially large appliances such as freezers, ride-on lawnmowers or expensive tools.
It’s also important that outbuildings and garages are locked as almost 20 per cent of policies won’t cover anything if it is stolen from an unlocked outbuilding.
While insurance policies that cover gardens usually include loss or damage caused by fire or theft, they often exclude natural damage from storms or floods.
This is a fairly universal exclusion, as storm damage is so common, but when it comes to fences, walls, gates and hedges, gardeners and homeowners may well find themselves footing the bill for damage to these garden boundaries.
Most policies will only provide cover if they are damaged by a flying or falling object such as falling branches or trees. They will not be covered should the damage be caused by storm, flood, or frost.
Brian Brown, of Defaqto, said: ‘A few years ago, most people would have just had a barbecue and patio set in their garden, with possibly some sun loungers and a slide.
‘No one had heard of ‘garden sofas’ and hot tubs were just for reality TV stars.
‘Today, it is not unusual for people to have £10,000 worth of contents in the garden as they really have become an extension of our indoor living spaces.
‘Unfortunately, gardens usually offer little, to no protection from thieves and the elements. Because of this, insurance cover is often limited and gardeners could find themselves left out of pocket should something happen.
‘It is wise to keep this in mind when buying anything you intend to leave outside.
‘If you have expensive items in the garden, check with your insurer to make sure you have appropriate cover in place and minimise the risk by locking it away or securing it to the building whenever possible.’
What to consider when buying garden insurance
New for old: When deciding how much cover you need for your insurance remember your lost or damaged items will likely be replaced with new items. You should have enough insurance to cover buying new garden furniture and tools at current prices.
Buildings vs Contents: Protection for things in your garden is split between buildings and contents insurance, similar to your home insurance. Make sure you’re fully covered with both types of insurance.
Cover limits: Every insurer imposes a limit on the total amount of cover they will pay out, and on the amounts they pay out for individual items. These limits can vary hugely depending on the type of insurance you have. So, to make sure everything in your garden is fully insured, check your cover limits.
Lock it up: Check your policy’s terms to determine what needs to be locked up, such as garages and sheds. Locking up your valuables reduces the chance of them getting stolen, and not locking up could invalidate your insurance.