For many homeowners, their garden is their pride and joy, filled with beautiful blooms and ornaments to admire. For others, it’s a place to enjoy a summer barbecue with friends and make memories with family young and old.
Your garden feels like a part of your home. But does your home insurance cover it in the same way? In this article, we’ll look at the type of insurance you need to keep your plants, tools and furniture properly protected.
EASY AS HACK
Motion-activated security lights can deter thieves and help you to see if someone is in your garden at night.
AT A GLANCE
1. Most home insurance policies provide some level of garden cover, but you’ll need to check your policy documents carefully to see exactly what’s covered.
2. Remember to check your single item limit, especially if you have valuable tools or furniture.
3. Your home insurance will only cover walls and fences that belong to you – so make sure you know which is yours and which belongs to your neighbours.
What is garden insurance?
Garden insurance is designed to protect your home’s outdoor space against theft and damage.
It can cover everything from fences to hot tubs and patio heaters, which can be worth hundreds of pounds.
Most home insurance policies provide some level of garden cover, but you’ll need to check your policy documents carefully to see exactly what’s covered.
What does garden insurance cover?
Some items in your garden will be covered against unexpected events like fires and storms by your buildings insurance. Others will be covered by contents insurance.
Garden building insurance
Buildings insurance covers the structure and permanent fixtures of your home, so a policy with garden cover would typically include:
- Garden walls, fences and gates (although certain events such as storms may be excluded)
- Driveways, paths, patios and decking
- Sheds, garages and conservatories
- Swimming pools, garden ponds and hot tubs fixed into the ground
Garden contents insurance
Contents insurance covers belongings that can be moved, so in a garden that could include:
- Garden furniture
- Lawnmowers and gardening tools
- Plants, shrubs and bushes
- Plant pots, ornaments and statues
- Barbecues and patio heaters
- Children’s play equipment, including swings and trampolines
Your insurer might specify that gardening tools need to be securely stored when not in use for your policy to be valid, so it’s important to understand the details of any insurance.It’s also worth noting that any tools used for business purposes may not be covered.
What’s not covered by garden insurance?
This varies between policies, but common exclusions include:
- General wear and tear
- Damage caused by pets, birds, insects or vermin
- Damage caused by frost or drought
- Rot, mildew, fungus or plant diseases
- Indoor valuables left outside (e.g. laptops)
Check your policy’s cover limits. If you have a lot of expensive garden equipment or exotic plants, you may need to increase your cover level or add specialist garden cover for an extra charge to be fully insured. Specialist garden insurance may also provide additional cover, for extreme weather events or removal of fallen trees that standard Buildings or Contents cover wouldn't include.
Also check the single item limit. This is the maximum amount you can claim for any one item, typically around £1,500.If you have a top-of-the-range hot tub or lawnmower, for example, it might be worth insuring it separately. Your policy may have two limits – one for the maximum amount you can claim for a single item and one for total contents outside.
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Are garden fences covered by house insurance?
Your buildings insurance usually covers the areas that fall within the boundaries of your home, including fences. However, most standard policies won’t cover storm or flood damage to fences.
If you’re not sure which fences you’re responsible for and which belong to your neighbours, check your property deeds. Your home insurance will only cover fences that belong to you.
Insuring your shed
The value of items you keep in your shed can add up to a lot more than you think. After all, you might store your lawnmower, bicycle and barbecue in there, as well as power tools and kids’ toys.
Contents insurance often provides some cover for items in sheds and other outbuildings. There is also sometimes a lower limit for theft, although some items stored there e.g. bikes, can often be insured specifically under personal belongings or bicycle covers.
There is usually a limit for contents in outbuildings, sheds and garages and sometimes a lower limit for theft.
You should also invest in a strong padlock to secure your shed and make it less attractive to thieves.
Summer house insurance
If you have a summer house, it will also need protecting from damage and theft.
Secure summer houses that are permanent fixtures should be covered under a standard home insurance policy, but temporary structures will typically be excluded.
How much garden contents insurance do I need?
Go around your garden adding up the value of everything. Remember to include items in your shed, as well as furniture.
Insurance providers typically replace lost or damaged items with new ones, so if you bought any of your contents a long time ago, check the current equivalent price to work out their value.
You should also keep receipts for any high-value items as proof of ownership. This can make the process easier if you ever need to make a claim.
Learn more: How to value your home contents
3 top tips to make your garden more secure
Follow these steps to reduce the risk of burglars targeting your garden:
- Keep your garden well lit. Install motion sensor lights and add lighting to tall hedges and dark corners that burglars might hide in to assess your home and garden.
- Reinforce fences and gates. Repair any holes to fences and gates, and replace damaged panels if necessary, to make it harder for intruders to get in. Add padlocks to gates where possible.
- Secure your garden furniture. Consider using security chains to fix items like outdoor furniture and hot tubs to something solid like a fence or tree. And don’t forget any children’s play equipment.