‘How many kinds of sweet flowers grow, In an English country garden?’ asks the popular song, but when it comes to your garden, it probably contains far more valuable things than flowers.
John Brady, Head of Commercial at John Lewis Insurance tells us how Home Insurance can also offer protection for your garden and its contents.
Q & A with John Brady
Q. What’s your background and what experience do you have in providing advice about garden cover?
A. I've worked in financial services for 20 years, including banking, credit cards and insurance. The last five have been spent at the John Lewis Partnership, where I’ve helped to launch and develop John Lewis Insurance, including our personal insurance cover for cars, travel, pets, weddings, events and of course, homes.
According to Which? ‘Garden crime is a large, and growing, problem.’ Protecting your garden with Home Insurance may be more important than you think.
Q. Do gardens really need protecting?
A. You may think of your garden as being pretty resilient to theft and damage but it’s worth taking a moment to think what it would cost to replace it. Hand tools can easily cost £200, then there is the more heavy power machinery such as lawn mowers and hedge strimmers. Also, while you may have only spent a small amount on plants over the years, the amount they’re worth as mature specimens could have increased dramatically.
Q. Are decorative items at risk too?
A. Absolutely. Your garden may contain a number of valuable things, which are worth a lot to a thief looking to sell them on. Ornaments, statues and antique garden items such as sun dials and edging tiles can fetch a great deal at resale.
Q. Surely thieves couldn’t take anything big without it being noticed?
A. Usually, you would spot if someone was trying to take something from your garden. But if you’re on holiday, neighbours may simply assume you’re having building work done while you’re away, allowing thieves to walk away with anything from paving to sheds. It can be a good idea to let any neighbours know if you’re planning on getting away and asking them to watch out for anything suspicious.
Q. Is there anything else I should be wary of?
A. There have been a few cases over the years of thieves stealing ladders and hand tools from a garage or garden shed – then using them to gain access to people’s houses. Make sure you keep anything that thieves could use to break in hidden away under lock and key.
Q. Will my home insurance cover my garden?
A. All home insurance policies are different, so it’s worth checking about specific garden items if you’re concerned they’re not covered by your home insurance policy. With John Lewis Home Insurance we can provide cover for your garden furniture, external statues, garden pots, garden plants and trees against loss or damage for up to £5,000 for any one claim.
If you keep any items in your garden that exceed these limits you may need to get a special policy, such as John Lewis Specialist Home Insurance. Find out more about our Specialist Home Insurance.
Q. Do you have any ideas for things I can do to protect my garden?
A. There are a few things you can do:
- Make sure you have secure boundaries in place, whether it’s fencing or prickly hedges.
- Make sure the front garden is visible from the road, ensuring thieves have nowhere to hide.
- Loose gravel can be attractive, but is also noisy when walked on, making it a great deterrent for intruders – security lights work in the same way.
- Lock gardening equipment in a secure shed or keep it in the house.
- Make sure any locks you use are secured with coach bolts or clutch-head screws, rather than ordinary screws that are easy to undo.
- Use curtains or blinds to hide the contents of any shed from view and if you feel it necessary attach grills to the windows too.
- Fix hanging baskets out of reach or chain the basket to the bracket securely.
- Cement or bolt statues, ornaments and flower tubs in place .
- Pop your post code on any items you keep in your garden, so they can be easily returned in the event of a robbery. Use a permanent marker to do this and try to make it discreet so it will not be chipped off or painted over.
- If you’re concerned about your garden’s security, consult your local police force for information about crime prevention or look into a neighbourhood watch scheme in your area.
We have carefully selected Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc to underwrite John Lewis Home Insurance.
Terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions and eligibility acceptance criteria apply.
John Lewis Insurance is a trading name of John Lewis plc. Registered office: 171 Victoria Street, London SW1E 5NN. Registered in England (No. 233462). John Lewis plc is an appointed representative of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc. John Lewis Home Insurance is underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc (No. 93792). Registered in England and Wales at St. Mark's Court, Chart Way, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1XL. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (Financial Services Register No. 202323). Calls may be recorded and monitored.