Changing risks in the home

05 August 2021

As many people’s work lives have dramatically changed over the past 18 months, it’s likely their homes have too.

We’ve put together some tips on areas where we’ve seen the most change in recent months. 

Working from home

Your home might feature more electronic equipment than it used to, especially if you are working from home. We’ve recently extended our home insurance cover to support those working from home more frequently but there are a few things you can do to keep items safe.
  • Store any valuable equipment out of sight when not in use
  • Ensure the system is portable appliance tested by your employer if needed
  • Trailing cables should be suitably concealed
  • Are there adequate power sockets for your computer and other equipment?
  • Do you have an effective circuit breaker installed?

Investing in outdoor spaces

If you’ve grown your garden tool collection or purchased some garden furniture in recent months, our policy provides up to £5,000 for contents in outbuildings, as long as they are kept under lock and key. 
Thieves like an easy target; somewhere they can break in quickly and undetected – please make sure you fit good-quality locks to your outbuildings and remember to lock up after yourself. 
We’ve included some more tips below.

Shed security

Sheds and other outbuildings can often be overlooked when considering security options for your home. As people change the way they use spaces, sheds may contain anything from your typical lawnmower to a home gym. Here are a few tips to keep your outbuilding and its contents safe.
  • If possible, avoid storing high-value items like golf clubs, ride-on mowers or power tools in sheds. They may be better protected if stored in your home or a secure garage. 
  • Always lock your shed or garage when not in use. You will be surprised about the number of people who do not do this. Often insurers insist these buildings are locked when not in use. 
  • Secure shed doors by fitting a strong hasp and 10mm or 12mm hardened steel staple (also called a “padbar”). Secure with coach bolts and lock the hasp over the staple with a closed shackle padlock.
  • Secure shed door hinges with coach bolts or non-returnable screws. 
  • Consider installing your shed with a shed bar.
  • Replace any rotten timber or windows.
  • Replace broken glass panes or use Perspex or polycarbonate as a more secure alternative. Use a window lock with a strong grille or wire mesh. Use curtains or netting so people cannot see inside. Screw opening windows shut if you do not use them.  
  • Fit a good quality battery alarm to your outbuilding. If you have an intruder alarm protecting your house consider extending to the outbuilding.  
  • To protect up and over garage doors can be secured by putting padlocks through inside runners or fitting padlocks with a hasp and staple on either side of the door. 
  • Chain items such as bicycles, ladders and lawnmowers to a strong anchor point or to each other using a strong close shackle padlock. 
  • Property mark items such as lawnmowers and tools. Items can be postcoded by etching, staining, painting or stencilling.
  • Check with your insurance provider to ensure your policy includes outbuildings and sheds.
Please note - personal belongings, such as mobile phones and watches, are not covered if left in the garden or shed. It’s best to store those items in your home. Bicycles are the only exception to this, you can read our article on safe bicycle storage to learn more.

Entertaining at home

If you’re doing more entertaining in your garden, there are a few things to consider around fire safety. If you have a BBQ, fire pit or chiminea remember:
  • Do not leave the area unattended and be aware of children attending the event. 
  • Ensure the equipment is located away from buildings, fences or trees to ensure any flames do not spread. 
  • Have some water close by in case of fire spread.
  • Follow instructions provided when using accelerants to ignite the fire. 
  • Remove any hot ashes with care to a non-combustible bin.   
BBQs and other outdoor equipment are covered within your garden contents sum insured. Cover is up to £5,000 if secured in a locked outbuilding when not in use.
We hope you find this useful and if you need any additional support, please contact the home insurance team on 0345 070 2223.