Spring is creeping ever closer and it will soon be time for the clocks to move forward to summer time. For many, the increased daylight hours and rising temperatures will be the signal to dust off the lawnmower, dig out the patio furniture and fire up the barbeque. But are you sure that all your garden gear is safe from opportunists?
The criminal hit list
According to research by Lloyds Market Home Insurance, valuables such as patio furniture and garden tools rank high on the hit list of opportunistic thieves, but too many of us fail to secure such expensive items. As a result, last summer there was a 12% increase in the number of unforced burglary claims made to the insurer compared with the winter months. The average claim added up to around £900, which is not an insignificant sum.
Claims are also likely to get more expensive: according to Lloyds Bank Insurance’sBritain at Home Report, UK households spend around £366 every year on garden items, with those aged 25-34 spending over double this amount (£747). Such spending is on the rise, with 33% of homeowners questioned saying that they spend more money on their gardens now than five years ago.
However, despite our growing love of gardens and garden furniture, over a third of respondents admitted that they have no secure lock for their garden, while a quarter (24%) confessed that none of their outdoor items was insured. This could mean that many homeowners face the possibility of forking out a large sum of money to replace stolen items.
Commenting on the research, Tim Downes of Lloyds Bank Insurance said: “We know that the majority of thefts from gardens and sheds are opportunistic, so it is worrying to see so many people leaving themselves exposed by investing in gardens without adequate insurance.
“When it comes to protecting our properties, homeowners must remember that what’s on the outside also counts, so taking some small easy steps could help prevent having to stump up for lost garden goods should the worst happen.”
Keeping garden items safe
So how can you deter thieves from helping themselves to your expensive garden goodies? Here are our top tips for keeping all your outdoor items safe.
- Lock it. Invest in a secure lock to bolt up your garden shed, garage, gates and outhouses. It’s also a good idea to check your fencing for gaps, and to see whether anyone could push past your garden bushes.
- Make it heavy. Loading the base of your patio furniture can make it harder for thieves to carry it away – use stones or bricks to make them weighty enough.
- Mark it. Take photos of all of your furniture and outdoor items, and then make sure you write your postcode on everything. This way, you will be able to identify what’s yours if it goes missing, or it could deter someone from carrying it off in the first place.
- Form a fortress. If you can’t block access to your garden with a locked gate, then using spiky plants or building high walls can help to put opportunists off.
- Use gravel. A gravel path in the front of your home can make a stealthy approach much more difficult.
- Put it away. Leaving BBQ’s, lawnmowers and bikes out in full view is asking for trouble – lock them away out of sight. Remember that garden tools and ladders could be used to break into your property.
- Insure it. Last but not least, insure valuable items. Replacing stolen goods can be an expensive business if your items aren’t protected, so save yourself the hassle by topping up your home insurance.
For a competitive quotation visit http://www.cisl.co or call us on 01737 373222 we can asses your risk and give you a quotation with in minutes!