TIM DREW: Make sure your belongings are secure
As the days become warmer and evenings lighter, opportunistic thieves increasingly find gardens a happy hunting-ground with plants, hanging baskets, turf, garden machinery and furniture, pots and children's toys all high on the list of items stolen.
Neighbourhood Watch sponsor Co-op Insurance has revealed that thefts from gardens have risen by 48 per cent since 2011, with such thefts peaking during July and August and almost twice as likely (45 per cent) to happen during these months as in February.
The average cost associated with a garden theft has risen by almost half (48 per cent).
According to Co-op Insurance claims data, the average total claim now stands at £208, putting a total of £517million worth of garden items at risk.
Despite this, 77 per cent of the victims did not claim for the items on their home insurance, while five per cent had no home insurance in place at all.
Co-op Insurance’s advice is to check not only that you have adequate insurance cover, but also that you ensure that you are clear on what is being covered.
Please be aware that insurers may specify that items such as garden tools (which could also be used to force an entry if found lying around by a thief) should be locked in a shed, garage or brought into the house when not in use.
If you have left your items unlocked and outside, insurers may refuse to pay out on a claim.
Sheds should be secured with a padlock attached to a strong hasp and staple, and shed hinges be secured with coach bolts.
Gates, garages and outbuildings should remain bolted with a secure lock, and the strength of the doors themselves should be ensured.
It is always advisable to tag items with your postcode using invisible ink.
In addition, take photographs of your more valuable items, in case an insurer requires proof of ownership – and don’t forget to register the details of your property on Immobilise.
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