Don't be green about securing your garden valuables

Garden gnomes have been known to go walkabout – and not by themselves – while hot tubs are easier to uninstall than you may think. Why are we mentioning these seemingly unrelated facts?

Well, think home insurance – and how it relates to your garden. Neither the theft of garden gnomes nor the overnight disappearance of a hot tub may be covered. And, while one is pretty inexpensive to replace (albeit it may have plenty of sentimental value), the other can run into thousands of pounds.

Other expensive items you may have sitting outdoors right now could include garden furniture, patio paving stones (yes, these have been known to go AWOL too) and perhaps even an ornamental fountain, coveted stone statue or a couple of large terracotta flower pots.

Then again, perhaps you have a garden shed? If so, these can contain thousands of pounds worth of expensive gardening equipment, not to mention the odd bike and lawn mower. Police in Warwickshire reported a staggering 3000 garden shed thefts in 2014.

Sit down and total it all up and you may be surprised at the total price of the assets sitting out there on your garden lawn or back yard. Could you afford to replace them all again reasonably quickly? If the answer is no then it could be time to rethink your home insurance police to check just exactly what you’re covered for in the event of a gang of thieves targeting gardens in the neighbourhood.
And that might not be as strange a proposition as it sounds. A recent Home Office survey, for instance, found that you’re more likely to have something pinched from your garden (9,6 per cent chance) than your credit or debit card stolen (8.2 per cent).

What is typically covered with home insurance?

Your fixed (non-moveable) assets ie garden shed, wall and gate will usually come under the umbrella of buildings insurance. Moveable items on the other hand are usually part of home insurance – but only up to a point eg depending on how much cover you have it could up to £3,000 worth, or £500 worth etc.

In addition, if stolen tools were in your shed then there would need to be signs of fixed entry and verification that the door was locked in the first place.

The Metropolitan police recently revealed that the most common items stolen from sheds were (in order of popularity): bikes, lawnmowers, sports equipment, power tools and finally, garden tools.
Meanwhile, it’s also worth checking your insurance policy to see if you can claim for garden items which have been destroyed after suffering severe weather damage (you may not be able to in this instance).

Bizarre items stolen from gardens

  • A garden lawn. A mum from Livingston in Scotland paid £3000 for Astroturf in her garden for her sons to play football – only to discover it had disappeared overnight.
  • A wrought iron gate. Canadian Ellen Kuryk woke up to find that not only had the 40-year-old gate to her home been stolen overnight – but also those of a handful of neighbours.
  • A brass steam train light. This was stolen from a Brighton man’s shed overnight. Sussex police believe it may later appear on collector’s sites, or even the likes of ebay.
  • Wisteria hanging baskets. An organised gang was suspected of going round the streets of Hampstead in North London two years ago and cutting down baskets filled with pretty wisteria hanging over doorsteps.
  • A 45kg stone wizard statue. This heavy piece of garden ornament was stolen from a garden in Lindfield, Sussex. Presumably a truck was involved…

To speak to a member of our friendly team about your home insurance today, call us on 02394 003 174.