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Is your garden at risk? Insurance gap may leave home owners unprotected

Find out how to protect your home and garden

Gardeners beware – while you may have poured time and effort into your garden, over one third of home contents insurance policies won’t compensate you for damage to plants, research shows.  

Around 20 million homes in the UK (76%) have a garden and a whopping 15 million adults take part in gardening – 4 million of which do so at once or more a week.

But your garden won’t necessarily be protected by your home insurance policy, potentially leaving you out of pocket if your expensive plants are stolen or damaged. Policies may also limit how much you can claim for stolen items in outbuildings or sheds.

We reveal how to make sure you get the right level of cover for your home and garden at a competitive price.

Does home insurance cover gardens?

Around a third (34%) of home contents insurance providers don’t provide any cover at all for plants in your garden, new research from Defaqto shows.

Of the standard contents insurance policies that do offer protection for gardens, cover for plants can be a low as £350.

Given that the average cost of having your garden landscaped is £7,000, your policy could fall significantly short on the bill should any unexpected events arise.

According to the findings, only one standard policy on the market (M&S Bank Premier)  offers unlimited cover for damaged or stolen plants.

On top of protection for plants, gardeners also need to bear in mind the cost of protecting the contents of outbuildings like sheds and greenhouses.

Around 21 million Brits have at least one shed in their garden, often containing gardening tools and equipment like lawnmowers.

While the majority of home insurance policies cover items stored in outbuildings, the amount of cover can vary significantly.

Only one in six policies offer unlimited cover for contents that damaged in outbuildings, so it’s vital that you check your policy wording carefully – and think twice about the value of equipment you store there.


Average cost of a garden

Every garden is different, so the value of items that might need protecting will vary between households.

By the the end of 2018, the gardening market will be worth around £3bn, according to figures from analytics company Global Data.

Meanwhile, over 10 million households bought garden products in 2017, market intelligence company Mintel reported.

The majority of items bought were for garden care (32%) but garden plants came in close second, accounting for 31% of spending.

Products for garden leisure and garden buildings accounted for 24% and 13% of spending respectively.

The tables below show the average amount people spent on gardening products last year.

How to find the best home insurance

These simple steps can help you find a competitively priced contents insurance policy that protects your home and garden.

Use a valuation calculator

It’s common for policyholders to over or under pay for their home insurance by incorrectly calculating the value of their buildings and contents insurance.

Using a tool, such as a contents insurance calculator, can help you get an accurate idea of how much cover you need.

Shop around

Once you have an accurate estimate for the cost of your furniture and belongings, it’s time to shop around.

Using price comparison websites is a great way to see what’s on offer and which insurers can provide the right cover for your needs.

If you’re coming up to renewal, shopping around for a better deal can also give you leverage for haggling a better deal with your current home insurance provider.

Try a broker

If you’re struggling to find a suitable home insurance provider, getting in touch with a broker can help.

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) offers a ‘find a broker’ service online or via telephone: 0370 950 1790.

You can also contact the Which? Money Helpline for guidance on finding cover.

Check the terms and conditions carefully

While the price is an important factor, it’s crucial to make sure that your home insurance policy actually covers you for what you need.

Simply checking the terms and conditions will make sure that you get the right level of protection, that your excesses are affordable and that you have included any necessary add-ons or extras.

If you’re still unsure about anything after reading through your policy document, contact your provider right to clarify.

To help you find the best insurer, we’ve analysed  the standard contents insurance and buildings insurance policies of more than 30 providers, and combined it with feedback from thousands of customers to produce impartial home insurance company insurance reviews.

You can also find useful tips in our comprehensive home insurance guide and the short video below.

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