Garden thieves will make off with sculptures, trampolines and three-piece garden suites, an insurer is warning.
Outdoor sofas, egg chairs, hot tubs and barbecues are among the garden items that people have claimed for after thieves have struck, according to Aviva.
The insurer said claims it has seen include a 10-foot trampoline and a metal elephant weighing 100 kilograms.
Research from the insurer, which commissioned a survey of more than 1,700 UK adults with an outdoor space in July, found about one in six (16%) have garden items worth more than £1,000 in total.
The average value that people’s garden accessories added up to was £800.
Aviva said it settles hundreds of theft claims each year for outdoor accessories, with claim values ranging from a few hundred pounds to several thousands.
About half (48%) of householders with outside spaces also say they have had an outdoor accessory damaged by the weather, according to the Aviva study.
In spite of this, only 14% of people lock away all of their movable garden items when not in use, while nearly a third (30%) do not put any accessories away after use.
Kelly Whittington, property claims director for Aviva, said: “With children off school and the summer holiday season underway, millions of UK households will be looking forward to spending time in their gardens and yards.
“Many people have invested in items for their outdoor spaces after spending time at home over the last couple of years. While this is great news for residents, these accessories could also attract the attention of thieves, who may have their eye on any portable possessions.
“Our claims experience shows that even bulky and heavy items such as sculptures, trampolines and three-piece garden suites can be taken by professional criminals, so we’d urge people to take precautions – securing items where possible or locking them away when not use. Hopefully this will help to make sure owners are the only ones enjoying their outdoor accessories.”
Aviva has some tips to help people protect their garden accessories:
1. If you have a gate to your garden or yard, keep it closed, or better still, locked. Just the presence of gates can act as a deterrent and the physical barrier can help to thwart opportunistic thieves.
2. Many home insurance policies do not pay out for general wear and tear, so protect your garden furniture with appropriate covers when they are not in use. If you can, store your furniture in a safe and dry place during colder months to avoid damaging it.
3. Avoid any breakages due to windy weather by securing any ornaments or valuable garden equipment. This also deters thieves from running off with your belongings.
4. Some insurance policies may specify that certain items, such as bicycles, are only covered if they are locked away or secured to a fixed point when not in use. Check your policy terms – and better still, store your items in a secure place.
5. If your garden contains high-value items such as a top-of-the-range barbecue or more luxurious garden furniture, you may need to insure them separately.