Is my garden covered by Home Insurance?
Contents in the Open cover for your garden is often included as part of your Home Insurance. It isn’t a standalone policy, which may mean it is overlooked when you buy your insurance. This can be devastating if you need to make a claim.
Unfortunately, risks to UK gardens are on the rise. In the UK, we love to splash the cash on our green oases. Indeed, in 2017 UK households collectively spent around £7.5 billion on garden goods. Other research has estimated that this means the average UK household spends around £150 on their garden each year.
This spending ramped up during the pandemic, with many of us investing in new garden treats, from garden furniture, BBQs and hot tubs to trampolines for the kids. The cost of all items in our gardens continues to increase as more and more of us see the garden as a vital extension to our living space.
But this investment also means that damage, theft and loss can be even more upsetting should the worst happen. This can be compounded by the discovery that your Home Insurance may not cover your garden at all. And if you do have Home Insurance with garden cover, it may not protect as much of your garden as you imagined.
Carly Nineham explains the risks, what your insurance is likely to cover – and what could be left out.
What is covered by Home Insurance?
There is a lot of variation between standard Home Insurance policies. Usually, you will get some Contents in the Open cover included.
Contents in the Open provides cover for moveable items that are kept outside the walls of your home. For instance, your garden furniture, barbecues, ornaments and plant pots.
Usually, you will get around £2,000 of cover for Contents in the Open in total. If you have a high-net-worth policy (for those of you who need higher sums insured than standard policies provide) you may have a higher level.
The total of £2,000 may initially sound like a lot, but when you consider that our average claim in 2022 was for £3,000, you can immediately see that there is a significant shortfall.
Some Home Insurance policies will also exclude garden items that are not kept in a secure, locked location. So, if you leave your garden furniture outside and it is damaged or stolen, you could find that your insurance for garden furniture will not compensate you.
You may also find gaps in your cover if you have opted for Buildings Only or Contents Only cover, rather than comprehensive Home Insurance (which includes both).
It’s worth noting that structures such as sheds, greenhouses and outbuildings are protected by Buildings Insurance. However, the items kept in those buildings will be covered by the Contents in the Open section of your Contents Insurance.
The rising risk to your garden
Gardens can present a great opportunity to thieves. Many expensive items are not tied down, which means that even bulky pieces can be taken away. For instance, in 2022, a client's trampoline was hauled away by thieves. It’s therefore not surprising that the overall number of garden thefts is very high. Indeed, in 2021 there were around 600,000 thefts from outside the home.
But garden lovers don’t just face high risks from opportunists. Sadly, the increasing unpredictability of our weather, and extreme weather conditions, is taking its toll on our garden spaces.
In 2022, we had a series of bad storms and floods. This was followed in the summer by record temperatures that led to a number of fires. Unfortunately, these fires led to the obliteration of some of our clients’ gardens. Consequent costs for reinstatement and replacement can run into thousands of pounds. Whilst the average garden claim we received in that year sat at around £3,000, one claim for storm damage rose as high as £13,500.
When damage of this scale is experienced, it can be devastating for the garden owner. Matters can then be made worse if they then discover that the Contents in the Open cover provided by their household policy does not cover every garden item.
Can you insure your plants?
Your plants may or may not be protected.
If they are kept in pots, they could fall within the scope of your Contents Insurance. However, if they are planted in the ground, then they are unlikely to be covered.
This is because insurers face high risks for bedded plants. For instance, if there is a hard frost and your bedded plants die, you could put in a claim. This could lead to a lot of pay outs!
Are greenhouses covered by insurance?
As a type of outhouse, it is possible that your greenhouse will be covered by your Building Insurance. However, this can vary from insurer to insurer, so you need to check your policy’s wording.
If you use your greenhouse to grow plants to sell for a profit, your greenhouse is unlikely to be covered. This is because you will technically be using it for business purposes.
Make sure you mention your greenhouse to your insurer or broker so that they can help you find protection for it.
Is a garden shed covered by insurance?
As with greenhouses, a garden shed will probably fall under the scope of your Building Insurance.
However, you must always check the wording of your policy to see if there is insurance for garden buildings. When your policy is up for renewal, mention the shed and other outbuildings to your insurer or broker. This way you can be confident that your shed is insured.
Does Home Insurance cover fences?
There are some circumstances that will allow you to claim for your garden fences. However, there are several exclusions, with the main one being storm damage. This means that insurers will not pay for fences to be repaired or replaced after a storm or high winds.
Does Home Insurance cover hot tubs?
There will probably be some cover for hot tubs in your garden. This will depend on the type of tub you have (inflatable or fixed) and how the damage is caused. Many claims relating to hot tubs fall under the accidental damage section of your policy.
As there is a lot of variation from policy to policy, it’s a good idea to check your policy’s wording or speak to your insurance advisor for confirmation of what is insured.
What about my garage?
The garage itself will be covered under your Building Insurance.
If it’s an integral garage, the rebuilding cost should have been calculated along with the rest of your home. If you have a detached garage, you need to ensure that the rebuilding sum insured allows for garages, sheds and other outbuildings.
The contents of your garage, which could include your garden equipment, stored garden furniture and barbecues, will be covered under the Contents in the Open section of your Home Insurance. However, there will be a limit to the amount covered. To be sure, you should check your policy wording to see if the limit is adequate enough to replace all the items kept in your garage. If not, speak to your insurance advisor.
How can you ensure your garden is covered?
First, you need to look at your current Home Insurance policy and check the wording of any Contents in the Open cover included within it.
You then need to go into your garden and itemise everything. This means you also need to work out its approximate value. This will need to include ornaments, such as sculpture and fountains. You should also itemise your gardening equipment and structures such as greenhouses. It’s a good idea to keep photos of everything so that you have proof of what has been lost or destroyed.
Once you have established exactly what you own and how much it is worth, give us a call. We can use the information to find you appropriate Home Insurance with Contents in the Open cover. This will give you reassurance that, should the worst happen, your beloved garden will be protected.
To talk to us about Home Insurance with Contents in the Open cover, call us today.
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