The humble garden shed has a special place in our hearts and homes. Whether it's the dusty sanctuary of dad's man cave, home to the remains of a short-lived drumming career, or something far more ambitious altogether.
Sheds, garages and other outbuildings are an invaluable asset to a home, be it storage, a place for hobbies or else rented out. But when it comes to insurance, have you got the right level of cover for your bikes, BBQ, gardening tools and grandma's stuff?
Does building insurance cover my outbuildings?
Garage insurance and shed insurance are typically included as part of your buildings insurance, protecting you in case of fire, flood and storm damage – you can find out more in our policy booklet. It's always best to check with your provider though.
We cover outbuildings if they form part of the property, and like the home they should be kept locked.
What about the contents of my outbuildings?
The value of what you keep in these can really add up, and your contents insurance might not cover everything. Homeowners run the risk of being underinsured as many policies have a maximum pay-out limit for theft or damage from outbuildings. Our contents insurance calculator can help you add up just how much you have stored away.
You might be surprised to discover that some more expensive items, such as power tools or your bike, might not be included as standard in your cover. Depending on the value of such items, you may need further cover.
In addition, small security steps – such as buying an alarm or making sure tools aren't left out in view in your garden shed – can ensure you're properly protected.
What's the best lock to use to secure a garden shed?
Our policy only requires that the shed is locked. We don't make recommendations on the type of lock, but a traditional hasp needs a good quality padlock.
What's the limit on the value of things in my shed?
There's normally a cover limit on the contents kept in outbuildings and garages – ours is £3,000 for theft on our standard home insurance policy, and £7,500 if you have Home insurance Plus. We don't cover any valuables there, such as laptops, mobile phones, musical instruments or money.
And take care when keeping expensive items, like golf clubs, in your shed. If the cost is more than £1,500 then they need to be declared as a specified item.
So adding up all your items, always ensure that the total cost of what's in your shed is within your cover limit.
How can I best minimise the risk of theft?1
- Make sure your shed's in good condition – if you think a thief could easily break in, don't leave expensive items in there.
- All hasps (hinged metal fastenings for doors and windows) should have concealed screws.
- Fit windows with an internal grille, fixed to a steel frame.
- Fit security cages to keep valuable equipment in.
- Clearly mark all your tools and garden equipment with your postcode and house number.
Remember, if you don't put your equipment away or lock it up, your insurance company may not pay up.
What if I rent out a building on my property?
Granny flats, annexes and permitted developments on outbuildings are a good investment. A house with a granny flat has the potential of adding an extra 10% to the value of the property.
Granny flats do, however, present a grey area for insurance. Policies can differ greatly, depending on what the annexes are used for.
If the property shares a postcode with the main home and isn't a self-sustained property in itself – a property constructed for use as a living accommodation with its own non-communal kitchen, bathroom and toilet facilities – it could be included in your home insurance.
More likely though it will be considered a separate property, needing its own building and contents insurance. This is more probable if you rent out a granny flat or annex.
In this case, landlords insurance – typically covering buildings insurance, contents cover, loss of rent and more – would be the best solution. Though not a legal requirement, it does offer a safety net if anything happens to any of your outbuilding developments.
You might have heard of dodgy landlords, but there has been a fair share of nightmare tenants too. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst we say.
If you don't permanently rent out an outbuilding but you do have a holiday let, you'll need to tell your insurance provider. With sites like Airbnb becoming a cheaper choice for tourists and travellers, it's more and more common for outbuilding developments to be used as an alternative to accommodation.
Though this is welcome extra income, having paying guests ups the risk for potential problems to your home. If you're planning to turn an outbuilding into a holiday let, have a chat with your insurance provider first.
If you want to get a quote on your property, get in touch for more info about protecting everything that makes your house a home, even if you do keep it in the shed.
1 Source: BBC Crimewatch.