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Insurance for outbuildings and sheds

Find out how to get the right cover for your outbuilding or shed 
Enjoy fantastic rewards, on us*

Find out how to get the right cover for your outbuilding or shed 
Enjoy fantastic rewards, on us*

Written by
Helen Phipps
Insurance comparison expert
Last Updated
12 APRIL 2024
4 min read
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Why do I need shed and outbuilding insurance?

From barbeques to bicycles, lawnmowers to garden furniture, the value of what we store in our sheds can add up to hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds. But it’s easy to underestimate how much these items are worth and forget to add them to your home insurance policy.

If a storm damaged your shed or outbuildings, or the items inside were stolen, would you be able to afford to repair them or replace all those items? Shed and outbuilding insurance can cover the buildings and everything inside, so you’re not left out of pocket.

Is my shed or garage covered by my home insurance?

Home insurance is made up of buildings insurance, which covers the structure and fixed fittings of a property, including sheds and outbuildings within the property’s boundary, and contents insurance, which covers furniture and possessions inside those buildings. Check your policy details to see exactly what is and isn’t included.

What cover does my home insurance include for my outbuildings?

Buildings insurance typically provides cover to repair the structure of outbuildings such as greenhouses, summerhouses, garages and sheds, which are damaged by:

Check your policy details for any exclusions.

Contents insurance typically covers the cost to repair or replace items stored inside outbuildings on your property that are:

  • Stolen
  • Vandalised or damaged maliciously
  • Damaged or destroyed by fire, water or in a storm.

How can I calculate the value of my garden shed contents?

To calculate the total value, make a list of all the possessions you store in your shed, garage summerhouse, greenhouse or outbuilding. Then estimate how much each possession is worth. This is the amount it would cost to replace the item today, which may not be the same as the price you paid for it originally. You could be surprised at how quickly it adds up.

Under the terms of your home contents policy, your belongings will be covered up to a maximum limit altogether. There’s often a separate limit for items stored in outbuildings on your property. There may also be a limit for a single item, which is typically around £1,500.

It’s important to accurately estimate the value of all the contents in your shed so they’re covered for their full value. If you’re underinsured, your insurance pay-out won’t cover the total replacement or repair costs.

Find out more about estimating the value of your home contents.

What won’t shed and outbuildings insurance cover?

Home insurance typically won’t cover:

  • Outbuildings that aren’t on your property. For example, an allotment shed. If you have personal possessions insurance it may cover any gardening equipment you take out with you for the day. But it’s best not to leave anything stored there overnight unless you arrange separate cover.
  • Sheds and outbuildings that aren’t properly secured. You’ll need to read your policy details to see what security measures you’re expected to take.
  • Outbuildings you rent out. If you have a self-contained rental unit, such as a granny flat or annex with its own kitchen and bathroom, you should look at landlord insurance. If your rented-out outbuildings are for storage or animal housing, you’ll need commercial property insurance.
  • Cars, planes, motorbikes and cycles stored in your outbuildings. You’ll need to insure these separately.

What security steps can I follow to keep items in my outbuildings safe?

Here are some easy ways to keep the contents in your shed and outbuildings safe:

  • Invest in a lock. A strong padlock could make your shed a less attractive target for potential thieves and may be a requirement of your policy.
  • Security mark your tools. This can act as a deterrent, particularly if you make it clear that your belongings are marked.
  • Install a shed alarm. You can get a battery-operated alarm if you have no power to the building.
  • Don’t put expensive items on show. Hide them under dust sheets and lock larger items away in cupboards. If this isn’t possible, chain them up.
  • Secure your shed windows. Keep windows closed and locked, if possible, and add non-transparent security sheets or window blinds so thieves can’t see in.
  • Plant natural deterrents. A thief is less likely to want to negotiate their way around thorny bushes.
  • Install automatic security lights around sheds and in vulnerable areas of your property.

See more tips on keeping your home secure

How can I compare home insurance with shed and outbuildings cover?

You can compare home insurance that includes cover for your garden shed and other outbuildings with Comparethemarket. Cover levels vary so check any policy fits your needs before buying.

What do I need to get a quote?

To get a home insurance quote, you’ll need to tell us a few details, including:

  • Your name and postcode
  • Details of your property, including the number of rooms
  • What insurance you’re looking for: buildings insurance, contents insurance or a combined policy.

It can be helpful to have your current home insurance policy details with you for reference.

Why use Compare the Market?

Save up to £211 by switching[4]

Rated Excellent by 36,972 people[5]

[4] Based on online independent research by Consumer Intelligence during March 2024, 51% of customers could achieve this saving on their Buildings and Contents insurance through Compare the Market.

[5] As of April 2nd 2024, Compare the Market had an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 from 41,487 people who left a review on Trustpilot. The score 4.8 corresponds to the Star Label ‘Excellent’.

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Author image Helen Phipps

What our expert says...

“All those garden tools and furniture you acquire over the years, or musical equipment you might keep in the garage or summerhouse, would be extremely expensive to replace.

“Be sure to check the fine print of your home insurance policy to see what’s covered, and add on extra contents insurance if necessary, to make sure you’re covered for the full value of your belongings.”

- Helen Phipps, Insurance expert

How much does home insurance cost?

Home insurance (buildings & contents) could cost less than
£214
per year[1]

Contents home insurance could cost less than
£64
per year[2]

Buildings home insurance could cost less than
£191
per year[3]

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[1]
51% of our customers were quoted less than £213.65 for their buildings and contents home insurance in March 2024.

[2] 51% of our customers were quoted less than £63.57 for their contents home insurance in March 2024.

[3] 51% of our customers were quoted less than £190.11 for their buildings home insurance in March 2024.

Frequently asked questions

What counts as an outbuilding?

Outbuildings can include fixed structures such as garages, stables, greenhouses, sheds, stores, summer houses and other similar structures within the boundary of your property. It won’t cover movable structures or those designed not to be permanent, such as tents.

Your policy will set out exactly what your provider considers an outbuilding to be. 

What’s the maximum level of shed contents cover?

There’s usually a total cover limit for contents stored in outbuildings. This varies, but typically ranges from £1,500-£10,000, depending on the level of cover you choose.

Limits at the lower end of the scale could easily be exceeded with a few power tools, a set of golf clubs and a lawnmower stored in outbuildings. Loss or damage to valuables such as jewellery, art, antiques, collections and money may be excluded altogether, so check your policy.

Should I make special provision for expensive items?

If you have any possessions in outbuildings worth more than the single item limit, usually around £1,500, you’ll need to list them separately on your policy.

Do I need to get separate summer house insurance?

Permanent summer houses are likely to be covered by a standard home insurance policy. Temporary summer houses made from canvas, PVC or any non-rigid material will typically be excluded. Check the definition of outbuildings in your policy to confirm what is and isn’t covered.

Can I claim for shed roof repair on my home insurance?

If your shed roof is damaged by an event that’s covered by your insurance, such as a fire or storm, then it should be covered by your buildings insurance. If you have accidental damage cover included or added to your policy, then you should be covered if, for example, the roof was damaged by one of your children climbing on it.

But if the damage is due to lack of maintenance or general wear and tear, you’ll most likely have to pay for the repairs out of your own pocket.

Do I need to tell my insurance provider if I add outbuildings such as a shed or greenhouse?

Yes, you should speak to your insurance provider if you renovate or add any outbuildings to your home.