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British garages more vulnerable to theft

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Melted glacier water, human remains and a portable lavatory are just some of the unusual items Britons today store in their garages because, as a new survey from Ecclesiastical Insurance shows, most of us can’t fit our car in there anymore.

  • Brits now cram over £2,000-worth of possessions into their garages – but not their cars
  • 1-in-10 Brits works out in the garage
  • Wales is the land of the double garage
  • Scots have the nation’s fullest garages

Although built to house the nation’s automobiles, the new survey reveals that 47% of garage owners cannot get their vehicle into their garage because they have filled it with an increasing number of possessions or their car is just too large to fit. Others use it as a home gymnasium or a place to conduct their hobbies – particularly men.

Almost half of all Britons (47%) report that their possessions, not including their car, now take up three-quarters or more of the space in their garage. Only 11% of us can claim a garage that is less than a quarter full.

As pressure on storage space within many homes has grown, Ecclesiastical’s survey shows that Briton’s are now forced to keep an eclectic range of items in their garages, making traditional tools and gardening equipment seem positively pedestrian.

Most unusual among stored items declared by respondents to the survey were:

1.    A tiger’s head
2.    Melted glacier water
3.    A quarter tonne of rice
4.    A nail bar
5.    Deceased spouse’s ashes
6.    Bee hives
7.    A quail
8.    An ex-wife’s wedding dress
9.    A model solar system
10. A false leg

Faced with the prospect of having to move their possessions out of their garage: roughly two-thirds of people across the UK would put them back into the house; 38% would dispose of them; while 31% would give them away to family and friends. Only 6% would be prepared to pay to put the items into storage.

Based on the study, Ecclesiastical has valued the contents of the average British garage, excluding any cars, at £2,472.

Commenting on the findings Dave Simms, Personal Lines Manager for Ecclesiastical Insurance, said:

“Lack of storage space is a big issue in many British homes. Leaving the car on the driveway and cramming as much of our stuff as possible into our garages seems to be the best solution we have.

“Garages have gradually become more and more popular as a storage solution. However, few of us realise just how much valuable stuff we’re putting in.

“Garages can be more vulnerable to theft than our homes, so we are potentially leaving ourselves exposed. They may be poorly protected and underinsured.

“This is a timely reminder to take stock and ensure your garage is secure.”

The survey found that just under half of all Britons (46%) have access to a garage. Just under three-quarters of these are single garages and just under a quarter have  double, although in Wales the percentage of the population with double garages rises to 39%.

Londoners are least likely to have a garage: only 27% of capital dwellers said they had access to one, compared with roughly half the population nationally (54%). People in the East of England are most likely to have access to a garage (56%).

The Welsh and residents of the North East of England are the most likely to be able to fit their car into their garage. Scotland, on the other hand, has the fullest garages in Britain.

The survey of 2,113 Britons was conducted over 14-17 August 2009 for Ecclesiastical insurance by independent research company YouGov.

Ecclesiastical has recently launched an online home contents calculator to help homeowners estimate the value of their home contents. The easy-to-use tool guides them through a virtual house, reminding them to include items in each room that are often missed in such calculations.

  • Brits now cram over £2,000-worth of possessions into their garages – but not their cars
  • 1-in-10 Brits works out in the garage
  • Wales is the land of the double garage
  • Scots have the nation’s fullest garages