Majority of sheds and outbuildings at risk of burglary, warns Aviva

Posted on Wednesday, November 29, 2023

New research from Aviva reveals that millions of Brits could be leaving their sheds and buildings vulnerable to theft and burglary.

A nationally representative survey of 2,007 Brits revealed that 38% of householders always make sure that their sheds or outbuildings are locked before going to bed or leaving home for an extended period of time, such as before going on holiday or away from home for more than a day.

18% of survey respondents also said they usually don't lock their shed or outbuildings when mowing the lawn, gardening or doing other outdoor chores and 12% said they usually keep their sheds or outbuildings unlocked if they are home.

27% of Brits surveyed said they have experienced an actual or attempted burglary to their sheds or outbuildings and 44% of householders were at home when someone broke into their shed or outbuildings. More concerningly, 63% said the burglars also attempted to break in or break into their homes simultaneously.

According to the new research, the most commonly stolen items from sheds and outbuildings include garden tools and equipment (37%), followed by bikes (31%), sports and hobby equipment (28%), and power tools (28%). On average, thieves and burglars stole £870 worth of items.

Aviva has the following tips to help people protect possessions in sheds and outbuildings:

Make sure to lock your sheds and outbuildings, including when you're at home. Also, look at replacing any rusty padlocks.

Consider installing security or motion-activated lights near outbuildings. This can alert you to a potential burglar and act as a deterrent.

Know your buildings insurance from your contents insurance. Buildings insurance will cover damage to structural elements such as your shed, conservatory, etc. But you'll need home contents cover for moveable items like garden furniture, plant pots, etc.

Check your single-item limit in your insurance policy if you have any high-value items such as a top-of-the-range barbecue or more luxurious garden furniture stored in your sheds or outbuildings. Items above the limit specified on your contents policy (often around £1,500 to £2,000) may need to be listed separately.

Also be aware that the total sum insured in sheds and outbuildings is often much lower than the main home, so be mindful of what you store there.

Hide or cover bulky items which can’t be locked away, such as large barbecues, fire pits and garden furniture.

Keep your receipts. Hopefully, you won’t need to make a claim, but if the worst happens, having receipts for any high-value items can make a future claims process easier.

Hazel Johnson, Director of Home and Motor Claims at Aviva, says: “We tend to think that burglaries happen when everyone is out of the house, but burglars can strike at any time, including when we’re at home.

“Our research shows that burglary from sheds and outbuildings doesn’t only result in a potentially significant financial loss but could also increase the risk of burglary of the home, as in more than three in five cases, burglars also attempted to break in or broke into the home.

“Outbuildings can be particularly vulnerable due to a lack of security measures so we’d encourage residents to get into the habit of locking up their sheds and outbuildings, regardless of whether they’re out or at home. Even simple measures – such as padlocks and security lights - can significantly reduce the risk of being burgled.“

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