12.5 million homeowners leave luxury gardens unprotected
With UK households investing thousands of pounds in their outdoor spaces, Britain’s garden economy is flourishing – but Lloyds TSB Insurance is cautioning homeowners against leaving these luxury outdoor spaces unprotected.
The Lloyds TSB Insurance Garden Values report has found that homeowners spent an average of £894 on outdoor furniture and decorations for their gardens in the past 12 months, with the UK garden now estimated to be worth nearly £2000.
Despite this hefty investment, 12.5 million (44%) of homeowners are leaving their gardens unprotected, by being unsure about whether or not their items are covered or by having no insurance at all.
Tim Downes, senior claims manager, Lloyds TSB Insurance, said: “While many are now prioritising their outside spaces, it is a false economy to invest in luxury garden items without ensuring they are covered. As our gardens grow increasingly expensive, homeowners are realising that they no longer own just a few pounds worth of petunias, but hundreds of pounds worth of leisure items. Garden-proud homeowners should check their insurance policies to ensure their beloved outdoor luxuries are properly protected.”
The research found that one in 10 homeowners spends money on their garden as they can’t afford to move home, while a third said that spending a lot of time outside is the main reason for upgrading their outdoor spaces.
Although many homeowners are happy to spend money sprucing up their gardens, nearly one in six homeowners (14%) are put off investing in their outdoor space by fears of theft. Nearly 1.4 million thefts from gardens and outdoor spaces were recorded last year, illustrating a 17% increase over the last five years.
Supporting these official figures, the poll highlighted that 43% of UK homeowners admitted not having a secure lock for their gardens, leaving themselves exposed to opportunistic thieves.
Downes said: “We know that the majority of thefts from garden and sheds tend to be opportunistic, so it is concerning that so many homeowners are still leaving themselves exposed by investing in luxury garden furniture, but not adequate security. When it comes to protecting our properties, homeowners must remember that what is on the outside also counts and that taking some small steps could help prevent having to fork out to replace garden goods should the worst happen.”
Top tips for keeping your gardens safe:
- Lock, stock and wheelbarrows: Always ensure garden sheds, gates, garages and outbuildings remain bolted with a secure lock and make sure there are no gaps in fences or bushes for opportunistic thieves to slip through;
- Please weight: Put bricks or stones in the bottom of patio tubs to make them more difficult for would-be thieves to carry off;
- Tag it: Mark valuable items, such as patio furniture and ornaments, with your postcode, and keep photos of your garden valuables in case anything is stolen or vandalised;
- Fortress walls: If you can’t block access to you garden by locking a gate, high walls, spiky fences and prickly bushes can make it more difficult to access the garden;
- Long distance gravel: Filling your driveways or front paths with pebbles or gravel can help you to hear someone approaching your property;
- Hide and don’t seek: Avoid leaving tools, lawnmowers and bicycles in plain view in the garden – always lock them away out of sight. Remember tools and ladders can be used to break into the home too;
- Join forces: Look into joining your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme in order to help protect yours and your neighbours’ properties