No one likes the thought of a thief rifling through their belongings and stealing anything they can lay their hands on.
If you have a garage that’s full of tools, lawnmowers, bikes and other valuables, you’ll want to make sure that you have garage insurance. This will ensure that, if your garage is broken into, you won’t lose out financially.
Do I need garage insurance?
If you have a contents insurance policy, the belongings in your garage, shed and any other outbuildings are usually covered in case of theft. This cover will typically be for a combined value of up to £5,000, but it can vary from policy to policy.
If you add up the value of your garage’s contents, as well as those in your shed and outbuildings, and find that they’re worth more than your policy limit, you may be able to pay a supplement to specify any additional items and increase your cover - although this may not always be possible, depending on your insurer. Otherwise, should you need to make a claim in the future, you wouldn’t receive enough back to replace all the stolen or damaged items.
Likewise, it’s worth checking your policy documents to find out if there’s a single item limit. If you have bikes, sports equipment or other items that are worth more than the limit, you should inform your insurer. If you don’t and, for instance, a bike worth £2,000 gets stolen, you’d only receive up to the single item limit amount back, which could be hundreds of pounds short. This would mean that you’d have to make up for the difference yourself, if you wanted to buy a replacement.
To cover the structure of your garage from subsidence, fire, flood and storm damage, you’ll need buildings insurance cover. You can buy it along with contents cover or separately. As well as protecting your garage, it’ll protect your property’s structure, as well as any other outbuildings and permanent fixtures.
If your garage is on the main property site, then it will be covered along with other outbuildings. If, however, it is away from the property – for instance, in a block – you’ll need to make your insurer aware of the location, otherwise it may not be covered.
How can I improve my garage’s security?
If your garage has a door into your utility room or kitchen, a thief could easily go from your garage into your home, so you need to do all you can to prevent this.
If you have a home security system installed already, make sure it covers your garage, too. If you don’t have one, check out our handy guide for some top tips on the best options available in the market.
If you have an up and over garage door, or one that’s ten years old or more, you shouldn’t just rely on the central locking door handle to keep a thief at bay, as these can be broken in a matter of seconds. Drilling a hole and fitting a padlock could help make your garage door more secure, or you could consider fitting a roller or sectional door instead.
Visible CCTV cameras and motion activated lights can also act as a deterrent for burglars. Any side doors or doors leading from your garage into your home should be locked at all times, ideally with an insurer and police approved five-lever mortice deadlock conforming to BS 3621.
Bikes often need to be padlocked to an immovable object in order to be covered by insurance and ideally you should do the same to other expensive items, such as your lawnmower.
Taking time to security mark your belongings, wherever they are in your home, garage or shed, is well worth doing. You can paint or engrave your postcode and house number, or buy a security marking kit. Putting up warning signs and labels to inform potential thieves that your items are protected and easily identifiable could make them think twice.