From equipment in the garage to a full on home gym, make sure you're covered

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A lot of us decided to bring the gym home during lockdown, so if you've got a gym set up at home, let's make sure you're insured...

  • Home gym equipment sales have soared over lockdown
  • Gym memberships have declined as more people turn to home workouts
  • Check that your home insurance covers expensive gym equipment 

Hello home gyms

Journalist Rachel Wait takes a look at the increase in home gym set-ups and how it can impact your home insurance...

Back in March 2020 when gyms closed and the UK was thrown into lockdown, many frustrated gym-goers resorted to home workouts to ensure they got their daily exercise. Millions of people across the globe tuned into Joe Wicks’ PE lessons, while others discovered the huge range of yoga, Pilates and HIIT sessions readily available on YouTube.

Some got creative and gym equipment sales rose, as working out at home became all the rage. Fitness lovers were encouraged to get creative with their exercise regime, with figures from Nuffield Health showing almost a third of Brits substituted household objects for gym equipment to support their workouts. Just under half said they had used stairs to help them exercise, almost a third had used chairs, and a quarter had used cushions or tins of food. One in 10 had even resorted to using wine bottles and bags of sugar or flour in place of traditional weights. 

Others, on the other hand, took it more seriously. Retailers of gym equipment reaped the benefits of the rising popularity of home workouts, with home gym equipment sales soaring throughout lockdown. Some of the most popular purchases included weight benches, yoga and Pilates accessories, gym weights and cardio machines.

Building a home gym

A number of fitness fanatics even took their love of exercise a step further by converting their garage or shed into a home gym or by building one from scratch. According to a report in the Sun, one couple saved a whopping £11,000 by grabbing bargains from B&Q and their local scrapyard to construct a gym in their garden.
As a result of this new home fitness craze, gyms have started to lose out and thousands of gym-goers have cancelled their memberships in a bid to save money. 

Is your gym equipment covered under home insurance? 

No matter whether you have a fancy new home gym, or you’re using bags of flour for weights, regular exercise can be hugely beneficial for mental health – especially in times like these. However, if you’ve recently stocked up on some shiny new dumbbells or high tech cardio equipment, it’s important to check whether your home contents insurance policy adequately covers these new items.

Calculating the value of your home contents isn’t the easiest of tasks, but it’s crucial to ensuring you have the right amount of cover. If you under insure your contents and later had to make a claim, you wouldn’t receive the full amount. For example, if you insured your contents for up to £20,000 but they should really be insured for up to £45,000, the lower amount is the most you’d receive in the event of any major claim. Fortunately, we have a handy contents calculator to help you work out how much you need to insure. It’s worth using this each time you renew your home insurance policy to check you’re fully covered. 

Check the single item limit

If your gym equipment is particularly expensive, you’ll also need to check whether individual items are worth more than the single item limit on your policy. Single item limits vary between insurers but are typically around £2,000, which means any items worth more than this will need to be listed separately to ensure they are covered. Be aware that making changes to your insurance policy may increase your premium, but it’s essential if you want to ensure your belongings are fully protected. In some cases, you may have to pay a small admin fee for updating your details.

Check whether accidental damage cover is included

Accidental damage cover, as the name suggests, provides cover for accidents around the home. However, not all contents insurance policies include this as standard, and even if yours does, you may find cover is limited. To ensure your new gym equipment is protected from damage caused by the kids or even if you accidentally break something yourself, check with your insurer to see if you should pay extra to add accidental damage cover to your policy.

Why it matters where your equipment is stored 

As well as protecting the items in your home, many home insurance policies provide cover for items stored in sheds, garages or outbuildings. So if this is where you’re storing your new gym equipment, it’s best to check the small print to be sure. Cover limits for items stored in outbuildings may be lower than for those in your home as there is a greater risk of your shed or garage being broken into.

Often the contents of your shed or garage will also only be covered if they are locked up. In terms of the actual structure of the shed or garage, this should be covered under your buildings insurance policy, so you’ll need to check the terms and conditions of that too. You may find that some aspects are covered, but it’s likely you will need to pay extra to ensure you are fully protected.  

Sheds and garages tend not to be made from particularly resilient materials which means they can be more easily damaged. If, for example, a tree fell on the roof of your shed/home gym, this could cause significant damage, and your insurer may be less willing to pay out. As a result, you might be expected to make improvements to the security and structure of the building before you are offered cover.

The same applies if you have built a home gym from scratch in the garden. To be sure you are covered, speak with your insurer to see whether you need to take out any additional cover.

So, while home workouts can be a great way to get fit and save money, make sure you don’t end up losing out by always checking your home insurance provides adequate cover. 

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