How to beat garden thieves this summer

Home insurance - garden with flowers and shed at end

How much have you spent on your garden over the years? Whether it’s a state-of-the-art barbecue, stylish patio furniture or all those beautiful trees, shrubs and plants, an investment in your outside living space usually pays dividends in pleasure and enjoyment, especially throughout the summer months.

Unfortunately, purchasing items for your garden can also draw attention from thieves. According to recent research1, 2.5 million UK households have been the victims of garden theft at least once; the average claim is £208, meaning property worth around £517 million has been stolen.

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Home insurance - Garden furniture

What do garden thieves target?

Perhaps surprisingly, the most common target for garden thieves are plants: 25% of households experiencing theft said trees, shrubs, hanging baskets and even lawn turf had been taken. Some 18% said garden machinery such as lawnmowers and chainsaws had been removed, while 16% had lost garden furniture and pots.

Even fishponds did not escape the criminals – 4% of people said valuable Koi Carp fish had been stolen. Unfortunately garden theft is on the up, having risen by almost 50% since 2011. The summer months of July and August are the most common time for a theft to take place.

How to protect your garden

Thankfully, there are lots of things you can do to help reduce your vulnerability to this form of crime. Around 80% of homeowners adopt some form of protection. This doesn’t have to mean making your glorious garden look like Fort Knox – there are discreet ways to improve security.

Firstly, keep valuable items out of view when they are not in use. Bicycles, furniture and garden tools or machinery can all attract thieves if they are left in plain sight. Locking them away securely in a shed or other store will reduce your risk. Keeping ladders and tools locked away will also prevent them being used by burglars to gain access to your home.

To protect the boundary of your garden, consider a high wall or fence or fit a trellis on top of your existing fence. Trellises look good, but they are too fragile for thieves to climb. You could also consider a thorny hedge as a boundary, or a thick conifer that is difficult to get through.

Trees can also be protected. The best security is a strong root system, so if possible buy your trees young to give them a chance to develop deep roots. If you buy a valuable mature tree, consider purchasing an alarm system. Ornaments can be staked down with ground anchors, while potted trees and shrubs should be in heavy containers and preferably secured with a bolt.

Home insurance - theft from garages

Your home insurance cover

If the worst does happen and thieves manage to steal items from your garden, you will want the protection of quality insurance so you can replace what you have lost. Many insurance policies exclude certain items from gardens, or place conditions on cover; for example, by requiring that machines must be locked in secure sheds. Carefully check your home buildings and contents insurance for protection of items stored in sheds and garages.

Ask us about home contents insurance for garden furniture and items outside the home. Call us on 0800 389 9949 or 023 9224 7870.

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