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Homeworkers in sheds and outbuildings urged to protect their possessions

As millions of UK residents continue to work from home, Aviva is urging people to take extra care of their possessions when using summerhouses, outbuildings or sheds as workspaces.

ONS data suggests around 13 million UK people became home-workers last year as a result of the pandemic and sales of sheds and summerhouses have been rising rapidly.

But Aviva warns that home contents cover is often limited for items stored in sheds, garages and outbuildings, compared to the main home. The insurer is therefore encouraging “shoffice” workers to remove valuable items such as laptops, phones and tablets when not in use.

Sarah Applegate, Head of Risk, Aviva General Insurance, says: “While many insurers cover home office equipment as standard under home contents policies and some are extending cover during the pandemic for people who need to work from home, cover may be restricted for items located outside the main property.

Contents in outbuildings usually have an upper limit of around £2,500 for theft claims, so people should think carefully what they store in their outdoor rooms, particularly if they are using home office equipment.

Tech devices are easily portable and can quickly add up to hundreds or even thousands of pounds in value. We’d encourage householders to remain vigilant when working in outbuildings and remove expensive equipment when not in use.”

Aviva has the following advice regarding outbuildings and keeping contents safe:

  • Limit what you store in your outbuildings, sheds, garages and summerhouses, particularly if items are valuable. Check your home contents policy wording and be aware of cover limits for items kept in external buildings.
  • Pay particular attention to portable items such as laptops, phones and tablets, if you are using an outbuilding as a home office. Tech devices can be lifted in a matter of minutes.
  • Lock your sheds, summerhouses, garages and outbuildings when not in use. Replace any damaged or rusty padlocks.
  • Check the access to your home and garden in case any would-be burglars are watching. Close gates and repair damaged fences – deterrents are sometimes the best prevention.
  • If you’ve bought new office equipment, don’t leave packaging in a place where others can see it, such as by outdoor bins. If boxes are too large to go in a bin, store them in your home until you can dispose of them, for example at your local recycling centre.
  • Inform your home insurer if you’re making substantial changes to your home – such as building an extension to provide a home office space or converting an integrated garage – before you start building works.

Photo by James Frid from Pexels.

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