Shed and outbuilding insurance

Including the value of your shed and its contents in your home insurance policy means you won’t be left out of pocket if you need to make a claim. Find out more about how you can protect your shed and any other outbuildings.

Eve Powell
Eve Powell
Updated 5 December 2022  | 3 min read

Should I insure my shed or outbuilding?

From bicycles and barbecues to power tools and garden equipment, the items in your shed or outhouse can add up to more than you realise.

In fact, these days, the humble garden shed is often much more than a place to store tools.

It’s becoming increasingly popular for them to be used as garden offices, studios, home gyms, and even extra bedrooms.

So, just as your home needs protection, you should make sure your outbuildings and their contents are covered too.

Key points

  • Home insurance can protect your shed and its contents, up to a limit
  • Levels of cover vary widely between providers so check the policy wording
  • You may be covered for using your outbuilding as a home office, but if it’s used for business purposes, you’ll need separate insurance
  • Expensive items in your shed should be listed separately on your policy

Are sheds covered by home insurance?

Most home insurance policies will cover your shed and its contents. But cover can vary widely between providers so check the policy details to find out exactly what’s included.

Buildings insurance for sheds

The structure of your shed is typically included as part of your home’s building insurance cover. This protects it against the risks of fire, theft, flood and damage from storms.

This type of cover will only protect the shed itself from damage, it won’t cover the loss of or damage to any of the equipment or goods kept inside the shed.

Contents insurance for sheds

Your contents insurance will include cover for items inside your shed. It’s designed to pay out for repairs and replacements following events like fire, theft, malicious damage and floods.

It’s important to have the right amount of home insurance cover. So, when you’re calculating the value of your contents, you should include an estimate of what’s in your shed.

You’ll need to list any high-value items separately and there’s usually a cover limit for contents kept in sheds and outbuildings.

Is my bike insured if I keep it in my shed?

If you keep your bike in a locked and secure shed or outbuilding, your home contents insurance should cover it if it gets stolen or damaged.

However, there’ll usually be a claim limit for it, which is often around £500.

If you want extra protection for your bike so it’s covered when it's away from home, you can buy bicycle cover as an optional extra.

Another option is to take out specialist bike insurance. This can cost a bit more but means your home insurance policy won’t be affected if you make a claim for your bike.

How can I calculate the value of my garden shed contents?

It’s important to work out the value of your shed contents to make sure you’ll have enough cover if anything was to get stolen, damaged or destroyed.

Make a list of everything stored in your shed and how much each item would cost today if you had to replace it. This could include:

  • Tools and gardening equipment
  • Soft furnishings and garden furniture
  • Bicycles and sports equipment
  • Desk and home office kit
  • Hot tub
  • Gym equipment

There’s usually a claim limit for shed items, so once you’ve calculated the total value, check your policy’s cover limit. You may be able to increase it if you contact your insurer.

Does shed insurance also cover greenhouses and summer houses?

Common garden structures like greenhouses and summer houses generally count as outbuildings, so they’re often covered by regular home insurance.

However, those that are more non-standard - for example, if they’ve got a flat roof or are made from unusual materials - may not be covered.

Similarly, your summer house or garden room is unlikely to be covered if you use it for business purposes. You’ll usually need separate insurance for this.

Check your policy wording and if you’re not sure, contact your insurer.

Are allotment sheds covered by shed insurance?

No. Because allotment sheds aren’t on home property, they won't usually be covered by your home insurance policy.

However, your tools and possessions may be covered from theft and damage on your allotment if you’ve got personal possessions cover, as this can cover you taking them away from home.

You may also be able to take out insurance for your shed and its contents through your allotment society. This can also cover you for public liability if someone has an accident because of something to do with your allotment.

What if I want to use my shed as an office, or as a bedroom or yoga studio?

Whether your home insurance will cover you will depend on your insurer and how you intend to use the space.

If you’ll be using your shed as a garden office to work from home, it’s likely you’ll be covered for activities like working at a computer, doing paperwork and making calls.

But if business guests will be visiting your shed or garden room, you may need to take out business insurance. This also applies if you’ll be using the space as a yoga studio, unless it’s purely for personal recreation.

You can use your outbuilding as a bedroom, but if you’ll be using it as extra living space in the long term, it needs to comply with planning permission for your policy to be valid.

Insuring your shed for bad weather

Sheds and outbuildings often bear the brunt of bad weather in our gardens, but your home insurance should cover weather-related damage.

However, it’s important to keep your shed well maintained.

If you don’t look after it properly or didn’t make necessary repairs before bad weather hits, there’s a good chance any claim you make will be rejected.

And although your policy should protect your shed, be aware that storm damage to fences isn’t usually covered - so check the terms and conditions if you’re concerned.

What are the most effective ways to keep sheds and outbuildings secure?

To make a valid claim, you’ll need to show that your outbuilding was secure. Plus, the better security you have, the cheaper your premiums are likely to be.

To keep your outbuilding secure, try to:

  • Keep it well maintained, replacing any hinges or elements that are showing signs of wear
  • Padlock bikes and mowers together
  • Secure windows and consider reinforcing them with measures like a metal grill
  • Hide the contents by using blinds or curtains 
  • Store very valuable items in the house
  • Bolt the roof of the shed to the frame at regular intervals
  • Secure external hinges with coach bolts
  • Fit an alarm
  • Use a heavy-duty padlock on the shed or outbuilding door
  • Add security lights