A simples guide

Shed insurance

Us Brits love a shed; we love them so much they outnumber households in the UK – there are around 30 million sheds compared to 27 million households.

For some of us a shed is more than just a rickety old shack made out of wooden planks, it could be a home office, somewhere to beat drums or a gym. Of course if you’re old school, you probably use your shed to house garden furniture or equipment.

But whatever you use it for, are you confident that you’re adequately covered if shed envy gets the better of thieves?

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What is shed insurance?

Shed insurance is normally offered as part of your normal contents/building policy as it’s classed as an outbuilding. The contents of your shed, should also usually be covered under your home contents insurance. Contents is anything that isn’t bolted down or integral to the structure, so if a giant were to pick up your shed and shake it – anything that falls out would be classified as ‘contents’.

In most cases your buildings insurance should offer the same level of cover as for the rest of your home but it’s worth finding out what exactly your outbuildings insurance policy covers. 

shed
shed lock

Why should I make sure I have outbuildings (shed) insurance?

Think about what’s actually in your shed. You might be surprised at how much it all adds up to – the average value of shed contents is £573.

It’s easy to dismiss what’s in your shed as no more than outdoor junk but if you sat down and totted up what you had – garden spades, forks, hedge cutters and lawnmowers, it’s not hard to see how it could rack up to hundreds of pounds.

You may use your shed or outbuildings to store expensive bicycles, a barbecue or even camping gear. You might not use the stuff in your shed everyday but if you had to replace it all, you could be faced with a hefty bill.

Is there anything else I should consider about shed insurance?

You should try and make an inventory of all the items in your shed – that way you’ll know exactly how much the contents are worth and that will help you decide on the level of cover you need. If you have any single items that are particularly expensive it might be worth making sure that you’ll be covered for those specifically – or think about whether you can store them in your home instead. It’s worth noting that most policies are likely to have a limit to how much cover they offer for theft from outbuildings so make sure you read your terms carefully.

Once you’ve established what your shed contains, you should take a look at its security. Nearly a quarter of all shed owners admit to leaving it unlocked which (let’s be honest) is an open invitation to thieves and could invalidate your insurance. Here are some simple but hopefully effective top tips for keeping sheds secure:

- Invest in a lock – a padlock will make it that bit harder to break into (just don’t leave the key in the lock or under a stone next to the shed)
- Close shed windows – sounds obvious but it’s easily forgotten
- Hide temptation – don’t put expensive items on full view, hide them under dust sheets or better still put up some curtains or black out the windows so prying eyes can’t see what you’ve got
- Plant natural deterrents – because the last thing thieves will want to do in the dark is negotiate their way around a prickly bush
- Lighting – invest in some automatic security lights around sheds and vulnerable areas

What’s next?

So – are you confident that your buildings and contents insurance will cover the cost of your shed or outbuildings?  If you’re not, you’re in good company, almost half of all shed owners say they either have no idea if they have any insurance at all or that they couldn’t be certain that their current polices included outbuildings cover.

It’s clear that it’s something worth sorting out so don’t put it off, why not compare the market for buildings and home contents cover and put your mind at rest.