Most of us love a good shed, and far from being dingy and tumbledown many are now often fairly sophisticated structures that are used as anything from outdoor offices and spas, to gyms and recording studios.
But typically a shed is mainly still used for storing household items. Thousands of pounds would have to be spent to replace the sorts of items people keep in their sheds if they were damaged or stolen, from mowers, power tools and sports equipment, to musical instruments, bicycles and valuable audio equipment.
Make sure your shed is financially covered with Outbuilding Insurance
With valuable items kept inside, and a ‘posh’ shed costing thousands of pounds to erect or renovate, it’s worth making sure your shed is correctly financially protected by your home insurance and is secure from thieves.
Is your existing home cover sufficient?
Most home insurance policies already provide cover for the structure and contents of any outbuildings that are part of your property, such as sheds.
However, this isn’t necessarily the case, especially with cheaper, less comprehensive policies so it’s worth checking.
Also, the terms of your existing cover might be too limited and you could need to buy additional cover.
What your existing insurance should cover you for:
Insuring the Contents
If you keep possessions in a shed and outbuildings which, either individually or as a whole, add up to a relatively considerable sum, you may find the claim limits on your existing home cover aren’t sufficient.
Standard contents insurance policies usually have lower maximum pay out limits for the possessions kept in outdoor buildings than for those kept in the main part of a home.
Typically, insurers will have maximum claim limits of £2,000 to £5,000 for things kept in sheds, such as bicycles, power tools, gardening equipment and furniture.
Insuring the Building
With most home insurance, the level of cover for the structure of your shed itself should be fine. Claim limits against the sort of damage that fire, flooding, storms and subsidence can cause, are the same as for the rest of your home.
Again though, it’s worth double checking as the very cheapest buildings insurance policies might exclude outbuildings altogether.
Tips and what to look out for:
- Make an inventory – It’s a good idea to make an inventory of what you keep in your shed and outbuildings and place a value by each item.
- Value items – Ensure you base your valuation on the cost of replacing an item as new, not its second hand value (most home cover policies are written on a ‘new for old’ basis).
- Claim limits – Compare the maximum total value you arrive at, and also the maximum value of single items, with the claim limits in your policy (or policy you’re thinking of buying) for possessions kept in outbuildings.
- Increasing limits – If the limits on your policy aren’t enough, you need to contact your insurer or insurance broker to arrange an increase. This can usually be done simply by phoning or emailing, and any increase in premiums shouldn’t be much.
- Exclusions – Remember that there may be exclusions which could mean you might not be able to claim for more valuable, and often stolen, individual items such as a costly racing bikes, sports equipment such as golf clubs, or very valuable power tools.
- Structural damage – The structure itself should be covered by the same maximum claim limit that applies to the rest of your property, but it’s worth double checking.
- Specifying items – Valuable items need specifying to your insurer separately, especially if they’re kept in a shed!
Keeping a shed and other outbuildings secure and well-maintained will mean they’re less likely to be broken in to or damaged.
Here are a number of shed security tips:
Locked or not – Check if your policy requires your shed to be locked when you’re using it, otherwise you might not be able to claim if anything’s stolen from it.
Alarms – Shed alarms are available from many DIY stores.
Locks – Fit the best locks you can. Even consider getting a ‘shed bar’ which runs the length of the shed structure and which thieves can instantly see.
No claims discount – Remember, if you’re lax with shed security and have something stolen or damaged, any claim you make will impact on your no claims discount.
Excess – If you claim for anything stolen or damage in sheds or other outbuildings, you’ll have to pay first part of any claim, known as the ‘excess’ and stipulated in your policy’s terms and conditions.