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After months of darkness and the iciest winter in years many of us are looking forward to March 27th when the evenings finally get lighter, but beware - it seems that opportunistic thieves also anticipate this time of year too.

Aviva home insurance statistics show that thefts from gardens, sheds and garages, shoot up by over a quarter (25%)* as British Summer Time begins.

Bikes, lawnmowers, garden tools and children’s toys are all targeted by thieves with the average haul totalling around £900.

Analysis of ten years of claims data, shows thefts from outside the home start to increase as evenings get lighter at the beginning of March with a 10% increase compared to the dark nights of January.

Claims then steadily increase as the days get longer and lighter until they reach their peak in July and August when they are almost 50% higher than at the beginning of the year.

Garden tools are a thieves favourite, these were the top ten gadgets taken from gardens last year.
Top 10 items stolen from garden sheds and garages in 2010 (Jan to Dec)**

1. Electric drills – mainly Black and Decker models
2. Electric jigsaw – mainly Bosch models
3. Electric planer – mainly Bosch models
4. Extension leads
5. Electric lawnmowers – mainly Flymo models
6 Electric strimmers - mainly Flymo models
7. Petrol chainsaws
8. Pressure washers
9. Petrol hedgetrimmers
10. Garden fork and rakes

Jonathan Cracknell, household underwriter at Aviva says “Obviously it’s great to have some more sunlight and the chance to get out into the garden again, but that extra light also means that all those expensive power tools, bikes and golf clubs could now be on full show for everyone to see, including a passing criminal.

“It also means that your garden security – or lack of it – is much more visible so we would urge all homeowners to make sure their sheds and summerhouses are properly secured and remember to clear up the garden every evening so there’s nothing left lying around that could tempt opportunist thieves.

“And bear in mind that loose items like ladders and wheelie bins are perfect for burglars to use to get into your home, so shut them away, out of sight if you can.”

Aviva household policies provide cover for theft of contents in outbuildings, garages and garden sheds up to £2500, so that would include your mountain bike, lawnmower and set of golf clubs.

Up to £500 of your contents in the garden are also covered, as standard, for theft and damage caused by things like fire, malicious damage or extreme weather events. This includes patio furniture, pots and BBQs, but if you have some particularly nice garden ornaments or a fancy table and chairs that cover can be increased to £1500 for around £28 a year.

But remember bikes are not covered if you leave them lying in your garden.

If you do want cover for your bikes outside the home and anywhere in the world you might want to take out extra cycle cover which costs from around £8 a year for the whole family’s bikes. (Cover limits from £300 to £2,500)
Similarly if you would like your golf clubs or fishing tackle to be covered outside the home you could consider taking out additional personal belongings cover, which again covers you anywhere in the world. It costs from around £15 a year for £2000 worth of cover.

Aviva’s Top Tips to beat the shed burglar
§ Don’t tempt the thieves in, put away your garden tools, paddling pool, trampoline and swing ball at the end of the day.
§ Lock your sheds and out-buildings, replace any rusty padlocks.
§ Close gates and repair damaged fences - deterrents are sometimes the best prevention.
§ Hide or cover bulky items which can not be locked away, such as large gas barbecues and picnic benches.
§ And for those of you who treat your shed as a second home, check your policy details to ensure your mini television, playstation and beer fridge don’t go over your policy limits.

Aviva is currently offering new customers free contents cover when they buy buildings insurance***

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Aviva in the following categories: Personal Finance, Business & Finance, for more information visit