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Summertime, and the living is easy (but so is the stealing)

Warm, sunny days are to be enjoyed and lots of us take to the outdoors with alacrity. Out come barbecues, patio furniture, chimineas, patio heaters, fountains, birdbaths and miscellaneous ornaments. Unfortunately by putting these items outside, most of us also extend an open invitation to that particular garden pest know as thieves!

Garden equipment theft increases over the summer time by 50% and as outdoor living has become more and more popular, insurance claims have risen by around 25% also. Television programmes extol the virtues of making the most of your garden and making it an extension of your indoor living space. Accordingly, we invest more and more in plush furniture and expensive barbecues but rarely do we think to secure it all – perhaps thinking that no one is going to walk off with our property in plain sight.

Unfortunately, the truth is that many thieves do just that – particularly in neighbourhoods where there are fewer people at home on weekdays. The average insurance claim varies from county to county – and you could discover that your home contents policy doesn't cover all of your loss. The best thing is to protect your property from garden thieves and a few tips are listed here.

> Identify your belonging. Mark garden furniture and ornaments with your postcode to make them easy to identify if they are stolen (and that includes the garden gnomes!)
> Keep photos of valuable items in case they are stolen or vandalised – some garden ornaments are extremely expensive
> Lock garden gates, shed, garages and outbuildings to make it more difficult for thieves to access
> Put bricks in the bottom of patio containers to make them harder to pick up and walk off with
> Don't leave portable valuables in plain sight. Bicycles, lawn and garden tools, lawnmowers and children's toys should always be locked away out of sight when not in use
> Use gravel or rocks on your driveway – that way you can hear intruders approaching (and so will your neighbours)
> Join a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme
> Fence or wall your garden – even high hedges are a deterrent to thieves. If you really want to make their day, grow a hedge of something nice and prickly like pyracantha!
> Store your gas grill or barbecue inside if you can. If you can't , run a bicycle chain through a support and chain the item to a fence or other immoveable object
> Install garden lights with a motion detector to deter night time raids

Finally, check your home insurance policy to see what kind of cover your outdoor and garden equipment has. If your home insurance policy doesn't cover this, talk to your insurer. Make a call to Westhill Insurance Services who can advise exactly what you need in the way of insurance to protect your outdoor items. Their friendly and professional team can advise the best insurance to suit you – and as they are independent, they can shop around to make sure you have the best policy to meet your needs, at a price you'll like.

Don't let thieves spoil your summer. Enjoy the lazy hazy days of summer safe in the knowledge that if you are burgled at least you can replace the lost items in time to still enjoy the better weather!

Contact Westhill Insurance Services, today.

Posted on 29th June, 2011