You love to hammer, drill, weld, paint, spray, and dig things. Your wardrobe is full of stubby shorts, khaki shirts and steel caps. You perform your domestic duties with a power tool in one hand and a tinnie in the other. It’s your kingdom of calm, your tower of tools, your handyman’s haven. Some may call it a man cave, but to you it’s The Shed.
Who needs a pump action weed sprayer when you can get a Stihl petrol powered mist blower? You need three different sized chainsaws to keep the suburban vegetation at bay. If you had enough space, you’d have a ride on mower but instead, you’ve got a commercially equipped 32” Honda Alroh with a split rear roller to mow your 4mx4m lawn. There’s even a sneaky beer fridge in the shed to crack a cold one after a hard and hot day’s work.
Thousands, maybe event tens of thousands of dollars are stored inside your shed. But have you taken the necessary steps to protect your shed and its contents? There are a few things you can do to protect your pride and joy: keep it safe, keep it secure, and keep it insured.
Keep It Safe
- Build your shed to code! You may be Australia’s best weekend warrior but it’s important to make sure your shed is built properly to prevent it from being blown away in storms or lifted up by enterprising thieves. Sounds obvious, right? You’d be surprised!
- Check shelves are secured and load rated. Place your heaviest items on lower shelves. This will prevent making your shelves unstable and top-heavy, and will also keep you safe when moving them.
- Secure overhead objects firmly. If you are using your roof space or rafters for extra storage, make sure you secure overhead objects firmly to avoid damaging falls and nasty accidents.
Keep It Secure
- Lock up your garages and sheds. Install proper security locks or padlocks (note that some padlocks can be cut by bolt cutters).
- Make sure your windows can be secured shut.
- Invest in heavy doors that can’t be kicked in or jimmied open.
- Lock tools inside tool boxes or cabinets, where possible.
- Consider a security alarm or go whole hog and get a CCTV system installed.
- Deter would-be-thieves with sensor lighting.
- This is particularly important! Make sure that any security devices that you fit (locks, alarms, cameras, etc.) meet Australian Standards.
Keep It Insured
A shed can cost thousands of dollars to build and the value of its contents adds up quickly. Think about your lawnmower, circular saw, grinder, hammer drill, chisel set, whipper snipper, leaf blower, lawn edger, socket set, chainsaws, rakes and shovels, and don’t forget that sneaky beer fridge. The list goes on and on and the value of your shed’s contents goes up and up. It’s important to protect your investment with home and contents insurance.
What you might not know is that home and contents insurance can be two different things. Home insurance will cover the physical structure of your home and outbuildings (e.g. your shed or garage) and contents insurance will cover the contents inside your home and outbuildings (e.g. furniture, electronics and tools). To ensure you have maximum protection, it’s a good idea to think about having both home (unless you rent) and contents Insurance. The type and level of cover for both home and contents will vary depending on provider, so make sure you check the PDS (Policy Disclosure Statement) carefully.
If you are renting, the shed itself should be covered by the landlord’s home insurance, so you don’t need to worry about covering it with your insurance – just get yourself a stand-a-lone contents insurance policy to insure your gear.
If you’re an owner-occupier, you’ll need both home and contents insurance or a comprehensive home and contents combined policy.
There’s a real danger that you may underinsure your shed unless you are diligent with your math. As your collection of tools periodically increases, you’ll need to make sure you reassess the value of your shed’s contents regularly so that you are fully insured to the right amount. Also, take a note of your insurer’s product disclosure statement, as they may have fine print related to the maximum value of each item on the policy. For example, they may only cover an individual item up to the value of $2000 but your lawnmower may be worth $4,000 to replace. In that case, you’d need to take out specified item cover to make sure that piece of equipment is fully covered.
If you’ve got home and contents insurance, your shed and all your ‘man stuff’ should be protected against damage, loss or theft. Compare your options for home and contents insurance and take the right steps towards protecting your man cave.