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Home contents warning ahead of Shed of the Year Awards

23 June 2015

Celebrating the best of British sheds, the competition showcases wild and wonderful sheds created by enthusiasts across the UK. But, even if you just own a standard shed in which you store garden equipment, bicycles or old paint pots – Home Insurance is warning owners to make sure they have adequate insurance cover.

Sheds and other garden outbuildings are usually covered as fixtures and fittings under buildings insurance. This cover pays out for any damage to the structure arising from events such as fire, vandalism or burglary.

Moveable items such as garden furniture, cycles, garden and DIY tools are considered as household contents. Generally speaking, insurers impose restrictions on the amount you can claim for these items damaged or stolen from your garden outbuildings.

An analysis of over 350 home insurance policies* revealed that:

  • 3% of policies don’t provide any cover for contents left in outbuildings
  • Of those providing cover for contents in outbuildings, cover ranges widely from £500 to unlimited
  • Bicycles are treated separately – with limits on both the pay-out for an individual bike and the total amount payable.   11% of policies exclude cover for pushbikes

Policies typically have a separate limit for theft from outbuildings (ranging from none to unlimited cover) with most policies providing between £1,000 and £3,000 worth of cover. However, insurers generally only cover theft claims if the items were stolen from a securely locked shed or outbuilding where there are signs of forced entry

Ben Wilson, home insurance spokesperson at, commented: “As the Shed of the Year competition illustrates, for many people a garden shed is much more than a place to house the lawnmower, gardening tools, or old decorating equipment.

“But whether you use your shed just for outdoor storage or as a garden pub, a studio or a home gym, you should stop to consider the value and security of your shed’s contents.  When you stop and add up the cost of replacing items housed in your shed, you might be surprised by their collective value. Thieves target sheds because despite some containing a range of valuable contents, security is often overlooked, making them an easier target than a house. 

“Home insurance policies differ considerably in terms of cover, excesses and exclusions for sheds and other outbuildings. To make sure that you have the protection you need, it’s important that you compare product features, not just prices.     

“Insurers will also expect you to take care of your possessions and may only settle a theft claim if the shed was securely locked, with good quality locks and where there is evidence of forced entry. So if you have particularly valuable items, such as an expensive bicycle, you need to check that it is covered by your insurance and whether there are any other requirements such as locking it to an immoveable object inside the locked outbuilding.”       

For more information on shed insurance visit's shed insurance guide.

To help you estimate the value of your contents, including in your shed/outbuildings, you can use’s handy new home contents calculator.


Notes to editors:

*Defaqto Matrix of 359 contents insurance policies - instant and unbiased market and competitor intelligence, from independent financial researcher Defaqto (21 May 2015). Percentages are rounded up to the nearest whole number.