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What goes on in the shed, stays in the shed! But are you insured?

24 June 2013

Home contents warning ahead of National Shed Week

As ‘sheddies' gear up to celebrate National Shed Week (1-6 July 2013) and the Shed of the Year 2013, new research reveals what really goes on in the nation's sheds and the eclectic range of contents therein.

The research, commissioned by Gocompare.com, found that 73% of UK homeowners have a garden shed, summerhouse or other outbuilding, and most house an array of valuables including specialist tools, bicycles and expensive lawnmowers.  The survey also highlighted the presence of gym equipment, musical instruments, and audio visual and IT kit, pointing to much more creative uses for the traditional garden shed.

As a result, Gocompare.com is urging sheddies to check their home contents insurance policies to ensure they are fully covered.

The contents of the nation's sheds breaks down as follows:

  • Specialist tools and equipment (33%)
  • Expensive garden equipment (28%)
  • Expensive lawnmower (23%)
  • Bicycles (22%)
  • Fridge or freezer (11%)
  • Gym or sports equipment (5%)
  • TV or audio equipment (4%)
  • Expensive furniture (3%)
  • IT equipment, laptops or PCs (2%)
  • Musical instruments (2%)
  • Motorbike (2%)
  • A treasured collection (2%)

While most homeowners use their garden outbuildings to store garden tools, a small percentage saw them as ‘man caves' (3%) and twice as many men (7%) than women (3%), said they use their sheds to carry out a hobby.  The survey also revealed that one in twenty shed owners admit that their shed is where they go when they want to be alone.    

Mark Greening, head of home insurance at Gocompare.com, commented: "The eclectic list of shed contents revealed in our survey suggests that for many people, their garden shed is much more than a place to house garden tools.  But, whether you use your shed simply as a store room, a home gym or as a bolthole for a bit of peace and quiet away from family life, it is worth taking time to consider the value and security of your shed's contents.  Thieves love sheds because despite containing a range of valuable contents, security is often overlooked, making them an easier target than breaking into a house.

"Sheds and other garden outbuildings are usually covered as fixtures and fittings under buildings insurance, paying out for damage to the structure arising from events such as fire, vandalism or burglary.

"Cover for shed contents is available under home contents insurance, but policy limits for thefts from sheds or outbuildings can vary between policies, for example a third of all policies offer less than £2,500 worth of cover*. 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.  In addition, if you have particularly valuable items, such as an expensive bicycle, some insurers will expect you to secure it to an immoveable object inside the locked outbuilding."

Mark Greening concluded: "There is a considerable difference between home insurance policies in terms of cover, excesses and exclusions for sheds and other outbuilding, so to make sure that you have the protection you need, it is important that you compare product features, not just prices."


Notes to editors:

On 7th - 12th June 2013, Vision Critical conducted an online survey among 2,004 randomly selected British adults who are Springboard UK panellists. The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

*Source: Defaqto Matrix of 310 home insurance policies (14 June 2013)