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What’s in your shed?

What’s in your shed?

Britons spend a fortune on their gardens each year and keep items worth thousands in their sheds, but many are taking a big financial gamble, latest research shows.

Insurer Policy Expert has found that around half of households might not be insured for the lawn mowers, BBQs, power tools, garden furniture and other paraphernalia they keep outside.

Gardens uncovered

The statistics reveal that the average garage or shed has contents worth £1,088 inside, while one-in-ten (10%) keep possessions costing over £2,500 in theirs. So there are clearly many householders that would face serious financial disappointment if anything were to go amiss.

But a good number are totally in the dark about whether they could claim for items stolen from or damaged in an outside space.

Around one-in-seven (14%) know for sure they’re home insurance won’t cover them, so are consciously taking a high risk.

Another one-in-three (36%) say they don’t know if they’re covered or not, a situation which could be solved by a quick call to their policy provider.

Outside space full of expensive gear

Nearly all of Policy Expert’s respondents (90%) said they have storage space in their gardens of some sort, whether it’s a garage, shed, home office, barn or other type of outbuilding.

And when it comes to the sorts of things people keep outside, it becomes obvious why the financial risk is considerable.

Garden tools, lawnmowers and furniture don’t come cheap

The most popular items are ‘garden tools’ (85%) and, as any gardener will tell you, good forks, spades, wheel barrows and garden shears don’t come cheap and could cost hundreds to replace.

Lawnmowers are next (75%) and, again, the best cost hundreds to buy. The same applies to the third most commonly kept possessions outside, power tools (53%).

As you’d expect, garden furniture is also commonly found in sheds and garages (46%) – a set from John Lewis, for example, with sofa, chairs, table and sun-umbrella, will easily set you back £1,500 or more.

Bicycles and motorbikes, which are stored outside by one-in-four (24%), can also be expensive bits of kit, with plenty of enthusiasts spending a small fortune on theirs.

The same number (24%) also put their BBQs in a shed or garage and, again, these can be pricey with the all-singing and dancing ones cost hundreds.

Other possessions that are often outside the main home include electrical items (16%), stored furniture (14%), toys (10%), cars (9%) – nearly always covered separately by car insurance – and hobby equipment (6%).

Annual garden spend £437

The annual spend on garden-related items has hit an average of £437, according to Policy Expert’s research, with over half (59%) spending between £100 and £500.

One-in-ten (10%) actually spend even more at over £1,000.

Items which can’t be stored away

The sorts of things which can’t be stored away, such as expensive plants, hot tubs and kids’ climbing frames, are even more problematic as they’re easier for thieves to steal, but are still popular with British gardeners.

Almost one-in-three (32%) have garden décor of some sort which is usually always out in the open, such as ornaments or lighting. Fire-pits and chimneys are also relatively popular and found in around one-in-six outdoor areas (16%).

Others have child-related things such as climbing frames, swings and paddling pools (12%).

Koi carp and other expensive fish are costly to replace but nevertheless a significant minority, one-in-fifty (2%), have them in garden ponds.

For those that like entertaining, hot tubs (3%) and pizza ovens (1%) can also be found in the outside space of a number of homes.

Policy Expert

As an online insurance provider and broker, we’re here to help our customers to compare products and find a policy that’s right for them. Customer care is at the heart of everything we do and we have a dedicated customer service team on hand by phone, email, twitter and instant chat. For more information, you can call our experts on 0330 0600 600 or visit for more ways to reach us.

Published 24 May 2019