You’ve laid down the lawn, planted a few trees, put in some pretty pot plants, bought some comfy outdoor furniture, installed a shiny new Weber barbecue and then thrown in a playhouse and trampoline for the kids; you’ve spent a pretty little packet and your garden is ready.
And yet, while you’ve probably made sure that your home is fully insured, it may not have occurred to you to check whether your outdoor areas are covered too.
Many home insurance policies will cover outdoor spaces like garages, outbuildings, sheds and extensions – but don’t take it for granted that your actual garden will be included. In most cases, you will have to pay extra to make sure that new garden furniture is protected. Luckily, the costs are minimal. For example, Zurich only charges an extra Dh100 to extend its standard home insurance policy to cover your garden.
This will protect you against any damage caused by fire, lightning, explosions, earthquakes, storms and floods. It also includes riot cover, impact by aircraft, animals or vehicles. But more importantly, it will make that sure you are protected in the case of falling trees, branches and lampposts and in the event of a theft or attempted theft, or incidents of malicious damage. Even if Dubai is largely crime-free, if you are storing expensive items like bicycles, lawn mowers and fancy gas barbecues in your garden, it is important to protect yourself against the threat of theft.
Expensive items may also include your plants as well. For example, palms trees in your garden might have been quite pricey with some breeds costing up to AED 9000. Therefore, it is best to also insure even your expensive landscape items and include them in your policy.
Even when you get your garden cover sorted, it’s still a good idea to take simple precautions. If you have a back gate, make sure to keep it locked and to keep the keys in a safe place – it’s easy to become complacent in Dubai but much better to err on the side of caution. If you move into a new house, you may automatically change the locks on the front door but might overlook the back gate. Don’t – the previous tenants may have handed the key out to a gardener or any number of other people. If you do have a bike and are keeping it in the garden, invest in a bike lock and do not leave ladders and tools lying around in open sight, for obvious reasons. It is also worth installing motion-sensor outdoor lighting, just to be on the safe side.
You should also be thinking about protecting your garden from the elements. The weather in this part of the world is particularly harsh on things like garden furniture and umbrellas, so try and keep as many of your belongings as possible covered when they are not in use.
Your garden will bring you much joy as the good weather sets in, so start thinking of it as an extension of your home – and an asset that deserves to be protected.