Thefts soar by 43% in 2021 as the nations home offices become target for thieves

  • Thefts from outbuildings and office sheds increases by 43% in 2021
  • As COVID-19 restrictions ease and workers return to offices, LV= warns consumers to protect their homes and belongings as sharp rise expected
  • Relaxing of previous restrictions increased theft claims by around a quarter

The rise in people creating working from home environments during the pandemic has become a new target for burglars, with claims data from major home insurer LV= General Insurance (LV= GI) revealing a 43%1 increase in thefts from outbuildings and office sheds in the last 12 months, helped by an easy escape route.

Many people have added a new standalone office space to their house in the last two years, more often than not in the garden, with sales of garden buildings rocketing by 500%2 last January and May, compared with a year earlier. However, many are forgetting to lock windows and doors at the end of the working day or don’t have secure enough locks, leaving high value items like laptops, mobile phones and gym equipment at risk of being stolen by brazen thieves who don’t have to worry about burglar alarms going off and scaring them away.

Before the pandemic, a third (33%) of all home claims reported were for burglary, compared to around a fifth (20%) of all claims reported in 2021. However, claims are now starting to rise again, with the highest number of claims reported in November 2021 since December 2019.

In addition, over the last two years when UK restrictions have been relaxed, claims have increased by around a quarter, with the average claim currently costing around £5,000, up from an average of £4,700 in the preceding three years.

Martin Milliner, Claims Director at LV= General Insurance comments: “With many of us working from home for some time now, thieves haven’t been as opportunistic but we’re concerned the ease of restrictions will result in a sharp rise as more homes are left unoccupied during the day. The large increase in thefts from outbuildings is also 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.” 

Tips to help secure your home and keep thieves away:

  • Grow natural defences like prickly hedges and dense bushes to protect your garden and put off potential intruders.
  • Consider installing burglar alarms on sheds, garages and outbuildings. From simple alarms to systems that transmit CCTV images to your mobile phone, there's a wide range to choose from.
  • Install motion-sensitive security lights for when the sun goes down.
  • Cheap, panelled doors can be easy to kick down. Replacing flimsy doors and frames with strong, quality doors with good quality locks.
  • Be careful what you share on social media. Images of new and expensive purchases around the home and planned holidays can get picked up by thieves.
  • Make sure your home insurance is up to date and that it covers all of your belongings, including garden furniture.

For further information:

Natasha King
Senior Press Officer, General Insurance
07443 237651


Handy related content: 

Home insurance claims data from 2019 to January 2022.


1 LV= home insurance claims data between 2020 and 2021

2 Data from DIY and building supplies retailer Toolstation