£780m Unprotected and up in Flames

Tips to avoid a fireworks fiasco this November

24 October 2007

The cost of 'uncovered' property in UK gardens this bonfire night could be up to £780m1, according to recent research by AA Home Insurance, meaning it's not just the pets that should be protected. Is your garden covered if Guy Fawkes celebrations get out of hand?

Unprotected and under threat

As the trend towards 'outdoor living' increases and Brits invest more money in their gardens, the combined value of outdoor property in the UK is estimated to be worth as much as £5.7 billion. Yet although sheds, fences and greenhouses are usually covered by buildings policies, a quarter (23%) of people in the UK say none of the property in their garden is insured. One in five (19%) don't even know if anything in their garden is covered.

Every year amateur bonfires and firework displays bring disaster and damage to gardens across the UK, as rockets smash greenhouse glass and sparklers set sheds alight. With two thirds (65%) of Brits claiming to be the proud owners of a garden shed and one in five (19%) owning a greenhouse, an estimated £780m of uncovered property could go up in flames this 5th of November.

Neighbours and thieves adding to the risk

It's not just your own fireworks you have to watch out for either. If your property is accidentally damaged by someone else's Guy Fawkes celebrations, you would need to claim for the damage through your own insurance company who may then be able to claim off the neighbour whose celebrations got out of hand. Bonfire night is also a popular time for burglars who use the cover of a noisy environment, so it's not just fireworks that pose a threat to your property this November.

Janet Pell, head of AA Home Insurance, says: "The garden is an increasingly central part of our living space, all year round, yet we have a worryingly cavalier attitude towards insuring the property outside our homes. Every year Guy Fawkes celebrations wreak havoc in gardens across the country, so we need to make sure we've protected our outdoor property."

Get the gnomes covered

With this much uncovered property at stake; AA Home Insurance provides top tips to ensure your garden is protected on bonfire night.

  • A fifth of people in the UK don't know whether their garden is covered or not so check your insurance policy
  • Check your insurance covers your garden shed and its contents – some policies provide very little cover for outdoor property
  • Check to see if your insurer includes cover for trees, plants and shrubs
  • Find out how much third party liability is included

"If you're not sure whether your insurance policy protects your garden, make sure you check before Guy Fawkes night this year," advises Janet Pell, Manager of AA Home Insurance. "And don't forget you may get a cheaper premium by moving to a different insurer – some, including the AA, will pay any exit fee your insurer might charge."

Notes to editors

These findings are based on You Gov research of over 2,000 UK residents.

1 Calculated from the £3,404m spent on gardens in the UK in 2007 according to the Office of National Statistics Consumer Trends Report, published Quarter 2, 2007


24 October 2007