Although your garden shed may look like quite a simple building in your back garden, it’s most likely full of expensive items from power tools, lawnmowers, bikes and other sporting equipment. It’s therefore very important you have the correct home insurance policy to ensure everything inside is covered so you can make a claim if anything is damaged or stolen.
In This Guide:
- Do I need separate insurance for my shed?
- What is excluded from my shed insurance policy?
- Securing your shed
- Making a claim
Do I need separate insurance for my shed?
If you have purchased a comprehensive home insurance policy and your shed is in the boundaries of your home, it will most likely be covered by your home insurance policy. It’s best to ensure your insurer is aware you have a shed and that it contains items of value.
Building insurance will ensure the external structure of your shed is included in the policy. Your policy should cover the monetary value if your shed is damaged by theft, fire and natural disasters such as earthquakes.
Contents insurance will ensure the contents of your shed will be covered in similar circumstances to building insurance (fire, theft and natural disasters). Remember to store everything away in your shed carefully and securely to make sure you don’t invalidate your policy.
When insuring the contents of your shed consider what valuable items you leave in there. A standard contents insurance policy will usually have a lower maximum payout limit for items kept in an outdoor building like a shed. The claim limit for items in a shed is usually up to about £5000.
You can increase your claims limit by simply calling your insurer to change your policy, this of course will come at a price and will increase your premiums but shouldn’t be by an excessive amount.
What is excluded from my shed insurance policy?
All policies are different so it’s important to check and double-check the terms and conditions of your policy for exclusions.
Although you can easily increase your claims limit (as discussed above) there may be items in your shed that won’t be covered by your home insurance policy unless they are marked as ‘high value’ items. This can be items like power tools or a bike. If you have an item in your shed that is particularly expensive you may need to add it to your policy at an extra cost, typically any items over £1000 will need to be listed individually on your contents insurance policy.
If you need to upgrade your shed due to general wear and tear, this will not be covered in your insurance policy.
If you have not secured your shed well enough or your insurer cannot find any signs of forced entry (if you are a victim of theft) your insurance policy will most likely not be valid and your claim will be refused.
Securing your shed
There are two important reasons to take real care securing your shed. Firstly, of course, to protect your possessions and secondly, because this will put you in the best position to make a claim. If you forgot to padlock the door or didn’t use a padlock at all, claims are very hard to make. These tips will help secure your shed, possessions and keep your insurer happy;
- Install a burglar alarm and/or security light to deter thieves (a technique that will also potentially lower your premiums)
- Have a secure bolt or padlock on your shed door
- Lock and double lock more expensive items, for example have items like a bike locked up inside the shed. You should also take pictures of any expensive items to both help police locate anything stolen and speed up the claims process
- Register items to make them easily identifiable and easier for the police to find if they are stolen
- Keep an inventory of everything you own and the receipts of everything you have purchased, this will ensure you keep your policy up to date and will make claiming easier.
Making a claim
Call your insurer and explain exactly what has happened. Make sure you have your policy number and, if you have had items stolen, you’ll need a crime reference number from the police.
If the shed building has been damaged and you need repair work done, don’t instruct any builders to do any work until your insurer has assessed the damage.
Supply your insurer with as much evidence as you can. This could be pictures of any damage or pictures of forced entry if you were burgled. Large claims may require insurers to send someone out to inspect the damage. It’s also a good idea to supply more than one quote for any repair work to show how much repairs will cost.
You should also consider whether you want to make a claim at all. Making a claim will break your no claims bonus so if you want to make a small claim, it may be more cost-effective to payout for the damage yourself.