Shed and garden insurance

Sheds, outbuildings and the contents of your garden can be covered by home insurance. Find out the type of cover and policy features you need to look for.

Amy Smith

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Are sheds and gardens covered by home insurance?

Home insurance can extend to your garden and everything in it.

Sheds and other outbuildings are usually covered under buildings insurance and you’ll need cover on your contents policy to include the things you store inside them.

Key points

  • You'll find cover for sheds and other outbuildings on your buildings insurance policy
  • Cover for your possessions stored in shed will be on a contents insurance policy
  • Garden insurance will come under your contents policy and will cover things like plants and furniture left out in the open
  • Levels of cover for sheds and gardens can vary enormously so read your policy with care

Outdoor valuables

Your shed can house some expensive possessions, like lawnmowers, patio heaters, garden furniture, tools and gym equipment.

If you have contents insurance, check that the garden contents sum in your policy will cover your costs if you need to make a claim. Look for the total sum covered under ‘contents in outbuildings including garages’ in your policy documents.

For extra security, don’t store extremely valuable items in your shed or outbuildings and keep telescopes, golf clubs and power tools indoors to deter thieves.

If you’ve got rare or exotic plants, statues or art in your garden, it might be worth looking at specialist garden cover.

“There's a considerable difference between home insurance policies 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”

Ryan Fulthorpe, GoCompare’s home insurance expert

Calculate the value of your garden and shed contents

Make a list of all the items you store there and how much they’re worth - how much each item is worth should be based on how much it is new, not second hand.

Look at the claims limits of policies to see if it offers enough cover. If the limits aren’t enough, contact your insurer to see if they can increase them.

The structure of your shed or outbuildings should be covered by the same maximum claim limit as the rest of your property

If you must keep valuable items in your shed, tell your insurer what they are to make sure they’re covered.

Finally, find out what cover you have in the event of a fire, flood or storm.

Keep your shed secure

Shed and outbuildings are usually easier for thieves to break into than your home. They’re attractive targets, especially as they usually contain valuable items.

“Insurers expect you to have a duty of care for your possessions and will only pay out for theft if the shed was securely locked with good quality locks and where there is evidence of forced entry,” says Ryan Fulthorpe, GoCompare’s home insurance expert.

“In addition, if you have particularly valuable items - perhaps an expensive lawnmower - some insurers will expect you to secure it to an immovable object inside the locked outbuilding.”

Keeping your shed well maintained and secure makes it less likely your insurer will have a reason to refuse your claim.

Replace rotten doors or window frames, use a window lock or screw them closed and invest in a sturdy lock or two. You could even take it a step further, by getting a shed alarm.

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Insuring the shed and garden for bad weather

Your garden shed and outbuildings should be covered for weather damage, but fences damaged in a storm are rarely covered - check your terms and conditions if you’re concerned.

You might want to check whether accidental damage is included too.

Accidental damage will cover mishaps, like a breakage or spill, but isn’t often part and parcel of standard home and contents insurance - you may have to buy it as an add on.

Insuring fish in the pond

If you keep fish in a pond or livestock in your garden, these might not be covered, so you might need to consider pet insurance.

Insurance for digging up pipes in the garden

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 it, but if you need to make a claim it’s worth asking.

Bicycle insurance

Bicycles can be covered by contents insurance.

You might have to pay for bicycle cover as an optional extra, particularly for more expensive cycles.

Top tips for garden security

Here are a few ways to keep your garden secure:

  • Keep boundary hedges and fences well maintained - this will help deter opportunistic thieves
  • Plant prickly shrubs or hedges as a defense
  • Keep outdoor possessions and tools in a locked shed or garage
  • Install security lighting
  • Secure expensive plants with wire pegs dug into the ground around the root ball
  • Use a security pen to mark valuable items that are left in the open (garden furniture, ornaments and trampolines for example) with your postcode

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