Protect your outdoor buildings and accessories
Garden pods or spheres are set to be one of the new trends this summer.
These spherical summer houses provide comfortable seating for guests and combine style, practicality and a sense of fun, with all the comfort of a traditional summer house in a more contemporary design. They don't need a concrete base as a summerhouse does, as they can just be placed on existing level hardstanding.
You'll even be insulated for winter time in the garden too. I particularly like how you can rotate the sphere to shelter you from the direct heat of the sun, or keep out a breeze or a sudden shower.
As with all summer houses though, your garden sphere should be insured as part of your home insurance policy. Your summer house may look like a garden feature, but it's also an important part of your family life that should be protected against loss or damage.
With John Lewis Insurance, the actual structure of the summer house or garden pod would be covered under our Unlimited Buildings cover, and any contents would be covered under our Unlimited Contents cover.
Accidental damage is the most common cause for customers to make a claim on their policy. With a summer house or garden pod, accidental damage could include breakages to the windows or fittings, subsidence destabilising the structure, or damage caused by falling trees or branches. Your home insurance policy should protect you against these mishaps by covering the costs for replacement or repair.
Unfortunately, garden theft is also becoming increasingly common. A National Garden Crime Survey commissioned by Gardening Which? found that 1.6 million households have been a victim of theft from their gardens in the last 2 years, totalling up to £90 million worth of items.
Garden theft happens more frequently in the summer, when families are more likely to be leave valuable items of furniture or garden equipment out after regular use. So while you enjoy your garden furniture and buildings, do protect yourself against garden theft casting a dark cloud over your summer.
You may be particularly at risk of garden theft if you use your summer house as office space. Avoid leaving expensive computer equipment or electrical goods in it while unattended and unlocked, as the large windows give a potential thief full view of your valuables. (Garden pods aren’t suitable as permanent home office space, as they can’t be locked.)
The contents of your garden office would be covered under specialist home insurance, which means you could recover the cost of any lost valuables, personal possessions, business equipment and even business stock. Remember though, that a claim won’t be valid if the theft takes place when the summer house is left unlocked or insecure.
You can also take out additional garden cover to protect shrubs, trees, rockeries, bushes or vegetable plots. Garden Cover will provide up to £5,000 of protection, but it won’t protect you against flood or frost damage to your garden, or your summer house or pod.
If you’re going to install a garden pod or summer house in your garden, I’d recommend just passing it by local authority to confirm their planning permission guidelines. That said, garden studios usually only need planning permission if your house is listed or in a conservation area, or if the sphere is over half the size of your garden. It also can’t be more than 4m high and should not be used as permanent accommodation.
How to make your garden safer
- Lock your summer house or shed with padlocks or secure locks
- Don’t leave valuable items, especially bikes and garden tools, out in the open even if you’re just going inside for lunch!
- Line pathways with noisy, loose gravel to alert you to the sound of intruders
- Install automatic security lights
- Secure freestanding items, such as statues or garden pots, using chains or wire