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Shed theft: Would you be covered?

The risks of storing valuable items in your shed

Garden shed

Theft of valuables from sheds can shoot up during the summer months

Almost a third of Which? members have more than £2,000 worth of equipment stored in their outbuildings, according to our latest survey. Belongings kept in sheds and garages are usually covered for theft under your home contents insurance, but high value items may not be.

Of 38 standard policies we analysed, eight didn’t cover thefts worth more than £2,500 from outbuildings, meaning some of us may have insufficient cover in the event of a break-in.

Many insurers have a ‘single article limit’ (the most it will pay to replace one specific item.) This could mean that if an expensive item, such as a bike or ride-on mower, is stolen you may not receive its full value.

Find out the top home contents insurance firms that Which? recommends.

Shed theft goes up in summer

Analysis of 10 years’ worth of claims by Aviva reveals that thefts from gardens and outbuildings can shoot up by around 25% during the summer months.

With more of us using our sheds and outbuildings as offices, thefts of computers and mobile gadgets from sheds and outbuildings are on the up. Between 2012-14, 342 laptops, 387 computers and 447 phones were stolen from sheds and outbuildings in the London area alone.

Putting bike in shed

Your shed must be locked if you want to store a bike or your insurance may not cover it

10 ways to prevent shed theft

1. Keep your shed securely locked. Use a padlock attached to a strong hasp and staple.

2. Secure door hinges with coach bolts or non-returnable screws.

3. If you keep a bike in your shed, the shed must be kept locked otherwise insurers might not pay out for a replacement if it is stolen.

4. Replace rotten doors or window frames as they are weak spots a thief may target. If your whole shed needs replacing, read more about the shed brands.

5. Use Perspex or polycarbonate as a more secure alternative for outbuilding windows.

6. Use a window lock or screw windows shut if you don’t use them. Curtains or netting can stop people seeing what’s inside your shed.

7. Avoid keeping valuable items, such as golf clubs or power tools, in your shed. These should be stored more securely in your home.

8. Fit a battery-operated alarm to your outbuilding.

9. Chain items such as bikes, ladders and lawn mowers to a strong anchor point and use a closed shackle padlock.

10. Property mark items such as drills and lawn mowers. Etch, paint or stencil your postcode onto them.

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