Does home insurance cover my fences and gates?

They help to keep your property private and secure, but the cost of repairing or replacing damaged fences and gates can really add up - so are they covered by home insurance?

Eve Powell
Eve Powell
Updated 25 January 2022  | 3 mins read

Are fences and gates covered by home insurance?

You’ll need to check your documentation, but most standard home insurance policies will include some level of protection for structural elements outside, like fences, gates and sheds.

Because these fall within the boundaries of your home they’ll come under your buildings insurance.

On the other hand, moveable items in your garden - like pot plants and items kept in your shed - will fall under your contents insurance.

Typically, your gates and fences will be covered for damage from unexpected events like fire or vandalism, but policies will vary so you’ll need to read the small print.

Key points

  • Outdoor structures like gates and fences are usually covered by your buildings insurance
  • Damage from high winds and storms is often excluded, so check your policy
  • You’ll usually be covered for damage from falling trees, but it can get complicated if it’s your neighbour’s tree
  • You won’t be covered if your fences and gates haven’t been well maintained

What if my gate or fence is damaged by a storm?

Storms and high winds are a regular occurrence during the winter and they can cause some nasty surprises in your garden.

But while buildings and contents insurance policies usually protect your home against storm damage, you might find some exclude damage to structures in your garden.

In fact, storm damage to gates and fences is a common exclusion.

If it’s covered by your policy, most insurers require that you keep your home well-maintained. So, if there’s any sign of wear and tear on your gate or fence, your claim may be refused.

Am I covered if a tree falls on my fence?

This depends on a few factors, but home insurance will typically cover you if your fence is damaged by falling trees or branches. Although to make sure you’ll need to check the exclusions on your cover as policies do vary.

If the tree is on your property and it fell because of storm damage then, depending on your policy, you may not be covered.

Similarly, if you own the tree but you hadn’t taken steps to maintain and ensure its safety before it fell, it’s unlikely your insurance policy will pay out.

So, having your trees checked regularly and removing any dead wood is the best thing you can do to help prevent damage or having to make a claim.

What if a neighbour’s tree falls on my fence?

If you discover that a neighbour’s tree has fallen and damaged your fence, you won’t be able to claim against them on their insurance. This is because a home insurance policy will only protect the policyholder’s property.

However, if you can prove they’ve been negligent by not taking good care of their tree or if they didn’t act when they knew it was unsafe, you may be able to make a claim on your policy.

You’ll be required to pay the excess if you want your insurance to help cover the costs of the repairs though.

Is vandalism covered?

Yes, most home insurance policies will cover you for vandalism or malicious damage, even when you don’t know who the culprit is.

As long as you can show that you haven’t been negligent in leaving your home unsecure, like leaving your gate open, you should be able to make a claim.

Any vandalism damage that’s made to your fence or gates will fall under your buildings insurance.

What if a car crashes through my fence or gate?

If you need to claim for any damage, typically covering the cost of this will fall under the car driver’s insurance.

But whether your claim will be successful will largely depend on the evidence you collect soon after the incident happens.

You’ll need to have the driver’s name, address, registration number and, if possible, their insurance details. You should take photographs of the scene and report the incident to the police, you’ll also need to let your home insurance provider know.

The driver’s insurers will be responsible for dealing with any claim for damage to your property.

If it’s a hit and run incident and the driver can’t be traced, you might be able to make a claim on your home insurance but it’s likely you’d lose your no-claims bonus.

What types of things aren’t covered by home insurance?

Your home insurance won’t cover every eventuality outside. Most policies won’t cover you if:

  • The damage is caused by storms, floods, or subsidence
  • You haven’t lived at your property for 30 days or more
  • Your fence and gates are showing signs of wear and tear or haven’t been maintained
  • You’re subletting your property to tenants (this would invalidate your policy)

Do I need specialist home insurance for my fence and gates?

While most home insurance policies will offer some protection for external structures, there’ll be a limit on the amount you can claim for.

If there are expensive items in your garden or you’d like a higher level of cover - for example, if you’ve got an electric gate that would be costly to repair or replace - you might want to look into specialist garden cover or arrange extended cover with your insurer.

If you’re not sure, you can check with your insurer to see whether you need extra cover.

What to do before claiming on your insurance?

It can be a stressful time if you discover major damage to your fences and gates, but before you make a claim there are a few things you should do first:

  • Read your policy carefully to understand what you’re covered for
  • Gather evidence by taking photographs and collecting any receipts you have for the fences, gates and maintenance work
  • Don’t throw away any damaged items
  • Have your policy number ready and contact your insurer to explain what’s happened
  • If necessary, arrange temporary repairs to stop any damage from getting worse, but try to speak to your insurer before you do this

Tips for keeping your gates or fences protected

Your fences and gates are important in looking after your boundary and if they receive regular care and maintenance they can last for around 20 years.

To keep them well-maintained and protected try to:

  • Prevent rust on hinges and latches by keeping them clean and lubricated
  • Check any lockable bolts on doors and gates for loose-fitting and signs of wear
  • Protect wooden panels from the elements by using primer and paint or wood stain
  • Regularly refresh wood preservatives - some will need to be applied annually
  • Try to coat both sides of the gate and fence at the same time to prevent warping
  • Cut back any overhanging branches to avoid damage if they fall
  • Check your fence panels regularly for damage, especially before and after high winds
  • Reinforce any damaged posts with concrete

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