Home insurance is a must for homes and gardens this summer

09 May 2008 / by Joy Tibbs
As summer approaches, there are increasing concerns about theft and both esure and Confused.com are encouraging households to ensure they are covered should they be targeted by thieves.

According to esure Home Insurance, people are increasingly using their gardens and sheds to store personal possessions because so many homeowners have chosen to convert traditional storage spaces such as lofts and garages. It claims that nearly 650,000 UK households have had items stolen from their gardens in the last year.

The company found that 11 per cent of homeowners will spend more than £500 on their gardens this year including tools, equipment, ornaments and furniture. However, it discovered that many are failing to make sure these possessions are safely stored away.

The study found that 93 per cent of homeowners regularly leave items out in the garden overnight, jet washers were the most common item, followed by children's toys and garden tools. And, although 14 per cent value their shed contents at more than £1,500, of the 69 per cent of households with a shed, 9 per cent never lock it, which could render their home insurance policy invalid.

Head of risk and underwriting, Mike Pickard, said: "Even household items are now being stored outdoors, blurring the distinction between home contents and outbuilding and garden contents. Homeowners should check the limits of their insurance policies because some are relatively low and in the event of an ‘outdoor' theft not everything may be covered if your shed is bulging with valuables."

Meanwhile, Confused.com is urging households to make sure they are careful not to be lax about security over the summer. The company advises people to make sure windows and doors are closed when they are not present.

Simon Lamble, product developer for Confused.com, said: "Leaving your back door or kitchen window open during a hot sunny afternoon might seem harmless but the moment you have left the room, you are vulnerable to opportunistic thieves who can break in with ease. Insurance companies will not pay out for this, as it is your own lack of security that is at fault."

Mr Lamble advises homeowners to fit necessary security devices such as a visible alarm system. "If you have stated in your insurance policy that you have security measures in place, you must ensure that they are up-to-date and that they match the ones on the system. If not, then any insurance claim could be void," he explains.

He adds that proper arrangements should be made while residents are on holiday, for example locking doors and windows and trying to hide the fact people are away. Finally, he encourages people to be vigilant about garden security.

"Make sure that you lock all tools and ladders away at night, and that your insurance covers everything which you keep in there, in case someone does force their way in," he says. "Once again, you won't get a pay out if you haven't got the right contents insurance, or if you leave anything out, so be vigilant.

© Fair Investment Company Ltd