The finding comes from a new Aviva study, which reveals around 16% have garden items worth more than £1,000, with some spending five-figure sums on their outdoor additions.
The insurer also reveals it settles hundreds of theft claims each year for outdoor accessories, with claim values ranging from a few hundred pounds to several thousand. Stolen items include egg chairs, outdoor sofas, ornaments, hot tubs, barbecues – and even a 10-foot trampoline and a metal elephant weighing 100 kilograms.
48% of householders with outside spaces also say they’ve had an outdoor accessory damaged by the weather, according to the Aviva study.
In spite of this, only 14% of people lock away all of their movable garden items when not in use, while 30% admit they don’t put any accessories away after use.
Top tips to help protect possessions in gardens and outdoor areas:
Keep your gates locked. If you have a gate to your garden or yard, keep it closed – or better still, locked. Just the presence of gates can act as a deterrent and the physical barrier can help to thwart opportunistic thieves.
Cover your garden furniture – literally! Most home insurance policies don’t pay out for general wear and tear, so protect your garden furniture with appropriate covers when they’re not in use. If you can, store your furniture in a safe and dry place during colder months to avoid damaging it.
Secure ornaments and expensive garden equipment. Avoid any breakages due to windy weather by securing any ornaments or valuable garden equipment. This also deters thieves from running off with your belongings.
Lock it up. Some insurance policies may specify that certain items – such as bicycles - are only covered items if they’re locked away or secured to a fixed point when not in use. Aviva research shows many people leave their garden accessories on show all year round, so check your policy terms – and better still, store your items in a secure place.
Know your buildings from your contents. Buildings insurance will cover structural elements such as your shed, conservatory and any garden fences, gates or walls. But for moveable items like garden furniture, plant pots etc, you’ll need home contents cover. If you have existing home insurance, read your policy documents.
Make sure high-value items are covered. If your garden contains high-value items such as a top-of-the-range barbecue or more luxurious garden furniture, you may need to insure them separately as most policies have a single item limit, usually between £1,500 and £2,000. Items above these limits can often be added individually, so make sure you speak to your insurer if you need specific cover.
Keep your receipts. Hopefully, you won’t need to make a claim, but if the worst happens, having receipts for any high-value items can make a future claims process easier.
Kelly Whittington, Property Claims Director for Aviva, says: “With children off school and the summer holiday season underway, millions of UK households will be looking forward to spending time in their gardens and yards.
“Many people have invested in items for their outdoor spaces after spending time at home over the last couple of years. While this is great news for residents, these accessories could also attract the attention of thieves, who may have their eye on any portable possessions.
“Our claims experience shows that even bulky and heavy items such as sculptures, trampolines and three-piece garden suites can be taken by professional criminals, so we’d urge people to take precautions – securing items where possible or locking them away when not used. Hopefully, this will help to make sure owners are the only ones enjoying their outdoor accessories.”