Shed Security

I’ve been thinking about shed security a bit recently, partially given the new build and ensuring the new shed is at least as secure as the last one, and partially because of a recent conversation with my household insurance company.

There are a number of risks to a shed. Fire and flood, natural disasters of course. One big one is theft. After all, the contents of a shed are pretty rich pickings (irrespective of the hobby contained therein).

Insurance is obviously an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff kind of solution. Talking with my insurance company, and I found out some interesting news. They refuse to insure tools. Don’t know how, don’t know why, all I know is I have to find someone else to give a bunch of cash to, to play ambulance. No idea who is a good insurance company for this sort of thing, so if you have some experience in this, let me know in the comments. Thanks! I will be spending more time inventorying the workshop and photographing it as additional documentation

Fire – other than keeping a workshop neat, keeping sparks away from flammable materials, and storing volatiles in a fire cabinet (note to self, organise a fire cabinet), I keep a couple of fire extinguishers of different types near the entrance. Both dry chemical and CO2. The CO2 is there specifically for electrical fires, the dry chem for everything. I figure if I get a fire in a motor or some portion of a power tool, I can initially hit it with the CO2 then evaluate whether to continue onto dry chem or not. If the fire is caused by anything else, straight to the (messy) dry chem. FWIW, I have had a significant amount of training in initial response, so I may take it further than what you may be comfortable with. Any shed should at least have a dry chem extinguisher near the entrance, and consider additional extinguishers a safe distance from any particular risk and the escape route (such as a fire cabinet! A fire cabinet needs to have an entrance for a dry chem extingisher nozzle.


Flood – well, can’t give much advise there, other than choosing suitable ground for siting the shed.

Other than bushfire, the biggest natural disaster risk to a shed would have to be wind. Ensuring the shed is suitably engineered, and manufactured from adequate materials is about all you can do for that one. Purchasing a “Shed Safe” certified shed is one way of covering that base. I’ve experienced surprisingly strong winds in suburban Melbourne, so I rate this pretty highly. Once wind finds a weakness, it can rip a shed completely away in no time.

So theft. I’m looking at a few avenues here. One is trying to prevent the w@nkers getting in. Solid doors, locks, walls and roof. I don’t have any Lazerlight, so that path is removed. A dog would be of assistance. I’m going to look at how to beef up the doors, especially those that will only be accessed from the inside. That includes the roller door. The windows will need some consideration.

And an alarm system. Both for entrances, windows, and internal. This will include some form of remote video monitoring that is independent of the house power supply. No point having a decent system if it can all be turned off from the accessible power board!

Just for the sake of a bit of lightness on the conversation, found the following letter-to-the-editor on the web. Of course, this isn’t condoning the actions documented within. But it is amusing.


5 Responses

  1. There was a discussion recently about shed insurance coming under house insurance. It was covered if it was for hobby purposes and not business. When questioned further as to what was covered, what if I have $50,000 worth of equipment, what about the antique tool collection, etc the answers the fella got were ummmmm, errrr, as long as it is for hobby purposes it SHOULD be ok……. Didn’t inspire the fella with confidence that he’d be covered but sure gave the insurance company an excuse to raises their fees!!!

    • With such non-committal language, I would suspect you will have a lot of trouble if you ever need to place a claim, and they will squirm to get out from paying up.

  2. I recently installed a good alarm system in my workshop, piece of mind when we go away on weekends. PIR sensors, keypad and SLA battery, internal siren and external with strobe. Bosch brand same type also in our house been very happy with it. We have house contents insurance with Elders they also cover the shed but clearly state only for hobby purposes…

  3. Question to NRMA
    I have contents insurance with NRMA.Over the years I have accumulated a huge amount of tools for my hobby woodworking.Is there a $ limit on the amount of undeclared tool items to be covered with NRMA contents insurance?
    Answer from NRMA
    Under your policy your tools for domestic hobby use is covered under your sum insured and is replaced new for old in an event of a claim.

    • That is certainly interesting, at least for a majority of woodworkers out there. Unfortunately I sit on a grey edge, and fall a bit too far into the professional quarter which they really won’t cover.

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