Insuring Your Garden
How much loving care (and financial investment!) goes into your garden every year? What if you came home to find it stripped of valuable plants, ornaments and machinery?
With the rash of television programmes on gardening and makeovers sweeping the UK, householders are furnishing their outdoor plots with valuable antique statues, water features, urns. All these treasures add style and investment value, but make your peaceful haven vulnerable to theft and damage.
Alarming statistics are filtering through about theft from gardens, and it's not limited to grounds of stately homes; it's private homes too. Initially the thefts were focused on garden statuary, urns and ornamental gates. Now, however, thieves are more audacious:
- STOLEN - garden benches, tubs and paving
- STOLEN - potted bay trees and ornamental box, and now fish ponds and coy carp
- STOLEN - entire avenues of trees
- STOLEN - entire garden sheds and their contents.
There has even been a spate of thefts of entire gardens - every plant stripped away!
One recent case involved antique urns: "The house looked strange - there was something missing. It took a few moments to realise that the large pair of Victorian urns, overflowing with beautiful blooms, that only yesterday had flanked the pillars of the porchway, were there no more". When this householder tried to make an insurance claim, he ran into major problems when they insisted he obtain a professional valuation and would only settle in full if he produced an invoice and replaced the items.
It seems nothing is sacred any longer - so it's vital to ensure that outside effects are properly insured.
What can you do to protect yourself?
- 1. Make an inventory of your garden: include valuable plants, machinery (sit-on mowers etc), statues, ornaments, water features.
- 2. Get your garden effects covered in your household insurance policy, itemising anything worth over £500 and stating its value. Some insurers (such as Chubb and Hiscox) have special policy wordings for gardens. Think twice before taking the "easy" option of insuring through high-street companies or your mortgage provider - they simply don't have the time or the expertise to give individual advice, and are bound by standardised and often inadequate policy wordings.
- 3. Manage the risk: a) Always lock sheds and garages, b) Mark valuable items - preferably by etching the surface: Identidot is a property marking service that applies unique property marking dots to valuables - all but invisible to the naked eye, c) Security: secure statues and other movable objects, consider security lighting and a wire-free alarm system (eg: Artguard).
Don't think "it won't happen to me"! Take sensible steps to look after your home and garden. Talk to a specialist broker about extra cover. Make sure you'll receive a cash settlement in full when you make a claim, so that you're free to choose how and what you replace any stolen items with.
And finally, don't let worries about theft spoil your enjoyment of your garden!