Does my home insurance include garden cover?
Most home insurance policies will provide cover against loss, damage or theft of things in your garden as standard.
Your policy will have a set limit on the amount it will pay out for garden contents.
If you have a lot of expensive garden equipment, exotic plants and ornaments, and need more cover than your standard home contents policy offers, you could look at upping the cover limit on your existing policy.
Or you can add specialist garden cover to your policy - it’s offered as an optional extra by many providers.
- Home insurance often includes a set amount of cover for your garden and outdoor equipment
- For more valuable garden items, you might need a policy add-on or specialist cover
- To avoid underinsuring, make sure you include the contents of your garden and shed
- Your policy may require you to lock and store valuable items away safely
Garden cover with buildings insurance
You’ll usually find that the permanent fixtures in your garden are covered by your buildings insurance policy. By that, we mean things that are considered part of the structure of your home, like:
- Outbuildings, sheds, garages and summer houses
- Items fixed into the ground like permanent swimming pools, hot tubs, garden ponds and gazebos
- Garden fences, gates and walls
- Paths, driveways, patios and decking
- Gas, oil, or septic tanks on your property
Garden cover with contents insurance
A home contents insurance policy will usually include some level of cover for the moveable items you keep in your garden and outbuildings. Things like:
- Garden and patio furniture
- Patio heaters
- Plants, shrubs, bushes and trees - according to Defaqto, 198 out of the 334 policies listed include plants in their garden cover as standard
- Garden ornaments and statues
- Play equipment - children’s slides, swings and trampolines
- Things you keep in your garden shed - lawnmowers, garden and power tools
Does home insurance cover items left in the garden?
You’ll need to check the terms and conditions of your policy, as some insurers may not protect items left outside as standard.
Typically, things left out in the open like garden furniture, plants, pots and containers, will be covered. But you might be required to keep certain valuable garden items securely locked away overnight.
Be aware that if you don’t follow your insurer’s guidelines and your items are stolen or damaged, you may not be covered.
How do I insure my garden?
While you can find providers that offer specialist garden insurance, most home insurance policies include a set amount of cover for your garden.
This will protect your garden, outside items and things you keep in your outbuildings from theft, loss and damage.
If you want more protection for expensive items, like top-of-the-range barbecues or garden furniture, you may be able to pay an extra sum to include these under your home insurance.
Some insurers will sell different levels of cover and others will offer garden cover as an optional add-on to your policy. Or you can take out standalone specialist insurance.
How much cover do I need?
To get the right level of cover, look around your garden. Work out how much it would cost to replace everything by adding up the value of what you can see.
Keep in mind that there’s often a limit on the total value of contents you can insure that are kept in outbuildings and sheds, so check that your policy offers enough cover for your belongings.
According to Defaqto, 296 out of the 334 listed policies offer contents in outbuildings cover of £2000 or higher.
You may need to list expensive items separately, like trampolines or hot tubs, if your policy has a single-item limit. This is often between £1,500 and £2,000 but can be a lot less, depending on the policy.
What isn’t included in the garden cover offered with home insurance?
Again, this will vary between policies, so it’s worth comparing different providers to see what is and isn’t included.
For example, you might find that any damage to your outbuildings and possessions caused by severe weather won’t be covered, so make sure you check this.
And some insurers will only cover plants that are damaged if they’re in pots, but not if they’re planted in the ground. Certain species of plants or flowers may also be excluded.
Other common exclusions include:
Indoor items, gadgets and valuables left outdoors
Certain gadgets and valuables that you typically use and store indoors (laptop and tablet, for example) might not be covered if you leave them unattended in the garden for any length of time. So if they got stolen or damaged, you usually won’t be able to make a claim.
Contents policies require that you keep your contents safe for them to be covered.
Items exceeding the single-item limit
You may find you have to take out extra or separate insurance for high-value items that exceed the single-item limit of your policy. This is the maximum amount your insurer will pay out for any one item that is stolen or damaged.
Outbuildings not disclosed when buying your policy
If you didn’t tell your insurer about an outbuilding in your garden, they won’t include it in their risk calculation when pricing your policy. So any theft from it might not be covered if you needed to make a claim.
Contents stolen from outbuildings that aren't locked or show no signs of forced entry
Thieves target sheds and outbuildings as they often contain expensive items like power tools and pedal bikes. So keep them locked securely when they’re not in use, especially overnight.
If you make a claim for stolen items from your shed, your insurer will ask you to provide proof that it was locked and that the thieves forced entry. If you can’t prove this with a police report or photographic evidence, they can reject your claim.
Extreme weather damage
You’ll need to read the small print, but in some cases, storm damage to garden gates, hedges and fences may not be covered by garden insurance.
What do I need to remember when looking at garden insurance?
When insuring your garden, it’s important to check what cover is included with your home insurance policy.
And make sure you look at the single-item limits - you may need to get extra cover for valuable items or take out specialist insurance.
It’s a good idea to take photos of your more expensive items as proof of ownership and to keep hold of your receipts. This can make it easier if you need to make a claim.
Remember that if your policy pays out on a new for old basis - you’ll need to have the right level of cover to buy replacements at today’s prices.
How to improve your garden security
Many thieves are opportunists, so don’t leave valuable items, like patio heaters, out in the garden overnight. Lock them away in a shed or outbuilding. If that’s not possible, hide them from view or cover with tarpaulin.
Secure garden furniture to the floor with ground anchors.
Don’t leave ladders or wheelie bins next to fencing or garden walls as thieves could use them to gain entry to your garden.
Install security lights, motion sensors and a home alarm system.
Heavy planters are difficult to move but for extra security you can secure pots to the ground with chains or bolts.
Gravel makes it harder for any intruder to keep silent when they approach your home and garden.
Lock sheds and outbuildings when not in use and keep expensive tools in lockable cupboards inside. Buy a shed alarm and add laminate sheets to windows so they’re difficult to break.
Install high fencing that’s difficult to climb over at the back of your house (around 1.8 metres high). Plant spiky shrubs along garden fences and walls to act as further barriers to entry.
Gates should be heavy, durable and lockable, the same size as your fencing and preferably fitted with two locks (top and bottom).
If you don’t have a shed or outbuilding, consider buying a garden storage unit to keep things like tools, garden chairs, lawnmowers and barbecue safe.
Frequently asked questions
If you need to dig up your garden to access blocked or damaged pipes, your home insurance will usually cover you for accidental damage to underground services if the blockage is your fault.
That includes breaking the pipe and fixing it again, if it can’t be easily unclogged.
It won’t cover the cost of re-landscaping, but if you need to make a claim it’s worth asking.
If you keep fish in a pond or livestock in your garden, you might need to consider pet insurance.
If a tree from your own garden falls onto your house, provided you told your insurer about the tree when you took out your home insurance, then you’ll be covered for any damage it’s caused.
You won’t be covered if damage is caused because you were lopping or felling the tree though.
If a tree from your neighbour’s garden falls on your house, you’ll need to make a claim on your own home insurance policy, unless you can prove that the tree wasn’t properly maintained. In that case, you may be able to claim against your neighbour’s home insurance policy.