When the days get warm, lots of us take to the outdoors like ducks to water. Out come the barbecues, patio furniture, chimneys, fountains and birdbaths. Unfortunately, by doing so, most of us also put out an open invitation to thieves too.
According to Halifax Home Insurance, garden equipment theft increases by over 50% in the summer months each year. And as outdoor living has become more popular, the average claim for the theft of outdoor garden and patio items has increased by over 25%.
The fact is that patio furniture and outdoor equipment is more valuable than many people realise, and the cost of replacing a few chairs and a grill can add up fast. Because it’s outdoors, many people never consider taking safety measures to secure it, perhaps assuming that no one will walk off with their property in plain sight.
Unfortunately, the truth is that many thieves do exactly that, particularly in neighbourhoods where there are fewer people at home on weekdays. According to figures from Halifax, the average claim following a garden theft, ranges from a high of £679 in Bolton & Wigan to a low of £116 in Harlow. Those can be hefty losses if you discover that your home contents policy doesn’t cover some or all of it.
So, how can you protect your property from being targeted if garden thieves come to your neighbourhood? These tips from Halifax will help you keep your yard, patio and garden property safe and secure...
- Identify your stuff. Mark garden furniture and ornaments with your postcode to make them easy to identify in the event that they’re stolen.
- Keep photos of valuable items in case they are vandalised or stolen.
- Lock garden gates, sheds, garages and outbuildings to make it more difficult for thieves to gain access to your belongings.
- Put bricks in the bottom of patio containers to make them harder to pick up and walk off with.
- Don’t leave portable valuables out in plain sight. Bicycles, lawn and garden tools, lawnmowers and children’s toys should always be locked away out of sight when not in use.
- Use gravel or rocks on your driveway and paths to deter thieves. You’ll be able to hear them approaching – and so will your neighbours.
- Join a Neighbourhood Watch scheme, or get together with your neighbours to start one if you don’t have one already.
- Fence or wall your garden or yard. Even high hedges are a deterrent to would-be thieves.
- Store your gas grill or barbecue inside if you can. If you can’t, run a bicycle chain through a support and chain your grill to a fence or other immoveable object.
- Don’t forget garden or yard lighting with motion detection to deter thieves at night.
Finally, check your home insurance policy to see what kind of cover you have for outdoor and garden equipment. If your policy doesn’t cover yard and garden items, talk to your insurer about adding additional cover or shop around to see if you’re likely to get a better deal elsewhere.
PLEASE NOTE: The guidance published in this article is for information only and does not constitute financial advice or a recommendation of any particular home insurance policy or company. If you are in any doubt please consult an independent insurance adviser. A database of advisers in your area is available at www.unbiased.co.uk
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