November and December 2021 saw the highest numbers of burglary-related claims, reported the insurer

Thefts targeting outbuildings and office sheds in the last 12 months have increased by 43%, in line with Covid-19 lockdown restrictions easing, according to the latest claims data from insurer LV= General Insurance (LV=GI).

Over the last two years, many residents have added a standalone office space to their property following increased homeworking as a result of the pandemic.

Many have opted to build home offices in their gardens, with sales of garden buildings rocketing by 500% between January and May 2021 compared with 2020, according to research by DIY and building supplies retailer Toolstation.

Martin Milliner, claims director at LV=GI, said: “The large increase in thefts from outbuildings is significant because many people have added the space to work from home, but it also creates an easy target.

“It is so important that homeowners check all doors and windows are securely locked before leaving the house, as it’s so easy to forget to check.”

Opportunistic thieves

Pre-pandemic, 33% of all reported home insurance claims were for burglaries, compared to 20% of all claims reported in 2021.

Burglary-related claims are now starting to rise again, with the highest numbers of these types of claims being reported in November and December 2021.

Over the last two years, when UK lockdown restrictions were relaxed, burglary-based claims increased by around a quarter. The average theft claim cost during this time period was around £5,000, which is an increase on the prior three year average of £4,700.

Milliner added: ”With many of us working from home for some time now, thieves haven’t been as opportunistic, but we’re concerned [that] the easing of [lockdown] restrictions will result in a sharp rise as more homes are left unoccupied during the day.”

LV=GI recommended that policyholders are careful about what they share on social media, that they grow natural defences like prickly hedges and dense bushes in the garden and consider purchasing burglary alarms for sheds, garages and outbuildings.

The insurer also advised homeowners to buy motion sensitive security lights, replace flimsy doors with strong ones and making sure home insurance covers any additional belongings.