Don't let your big summer party scupper your home insurance

You've planned for everything to make sure your BBQ goes without a hitch, but have you thought about your home insurance? Find out how your garden party could affect your cover.

Amy Smith
Amy Smith
Updated 01 June 2021  | 2 min read

Lockdown restrictions continue to ease, so big family gatherings could be going ahead this year.

But while you’re busy preparing for BBQ season, take a moment to consider how a summer do could affect your home insurance.

Claims are assessed on a case-by-case basis, but most policies have a ‘reasonable care’ clause. This means you must not intentionally take risks. For example, by starting a bonfire too close to a wooden shed or after extremely dry weather.

Prepare the patio! It's time for a BBQ...

We’ve picked the brains of our home insurance expert, Ryan Fulthorpe, to show you five ways your garden party could compromise your home insurance – and how to avoid it.

1. Accidents in your garden

Your patio set will really be put to the test during a garden get-together, with all those excited guests and mountains of food and drink. Plus, the cost of garden furniture has skyrocketed recently, so all the more reason to protect it.

“Luckily most home insurance policies will cover your garden furniture, sheds and outbuildings up to a certain value,” reassures Tony, “but you might want to make sure you have accidental damage cover too.”

Less than one-in-five of the 377 contents insurance policies listed on Defaqto cover accidental damage as standard. But don’t worry – it can be added as an optional extra on 80% of policies, so cover is widely available.[1]

2. Higher risk of fire

Home insurance is designed to cover risks, like fire. So if your policy includes outdoor items, that means your barbeque and other garden furniture are covered too.

“But you still need to take reasonable care.” Tony cautions. “If you let your BBQ or bonfire get out of hand or are otherwise reckless and end up needing to claim, you likely won’t be covered.”

3. Alcohol and responsibility

A soiree in the sunshine might be the perfect opportunity to share a tipple or two. But what does home insurance say about incidents under the influence?

Well, not much actually.

Ryan explains, “It’s a grey area. Check your policy documents to understand any exclusions, or get in touch with your insurer if you’re unsure.”

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4. Gadget damage

“You might have some cover for your gadgets under your home policy, but there’s usually a single article limit – a maximum amount you can claim per item.

“This means you might not have enough cover for particularly expensive gadgets, like a camera or an outdoor sound system.”

You might want to consider gadget insurance before you start snapping pictures of your garden party.

5. Wasted food

If your fridge-freezer gives up and your food spoils, your home insurance might be able to refund the cost. But not all incidents of food wastage are covered.

Tony points out that “even hosting a BBQ in the middle of summer isn’t always a guarantee of great weather in the UK. So if your garden get-together is cut short due to bad weather and spoils your food, this wouldn’t be covered as it isn’t anything to do with your fridge-freezer breaking.”

[1] Last checked 18 May 2021