The figures make worrying reading for tradespeople: tool theft is on the rise with over half of builders becoming victims according to the Federation of Master Builders. If your tools are stolen, you’ll need to replace them straight away. If you don’t, you won’t be able to work, and the business you’ve worked so hard to build up could be under threat. Could you afford to replace your tools if that happens to you? Are you confident your tradesman insurance will cover you? To help, here are six ways to beat the thieves and keep your tools safe.
1) Don’t leave your van unlocked and unattended
The first thing to always remember is to lock your van. Many thieves are opportunists. It takes just a few seconds to open a door and remove items, and passers-by are unlikely to challenge anyone who is not obviously breaking in.
2) Don’t leave tools in your van overnight
Another vital step to keep tools safe is to never leave them overnight in your van. If your tools are not in the van, they can’t be stolen from it. If that isn’t a viable option for you, read on for more tips to keep your tools safe.
3) Add extra security to your van
46% of tool thefts involved a side panel or door being broken or pried open. If you drive a Ford Transit, you may want to look away now. This video from SWNS TV shows how thieves can break in in just two seconds.
Anything that you can do to slow down a thief can help, so it’s worth installing extra locks. You could also consider fitting an alarm. Or join the 7% of builders who have installed a safe in their van, so even if the thieves get into the van they can’t get at your tools.
With a bit of luck, any opportunist thief will walk on past your van and target the next one along the street that doesn’t have any extra security.
4) Think about where you park your van
Think about where you leave your van, even if you’re not parking it overnight. It only takes a couple of seconds for thieves to strike and they can be very brazen – literally committing daylight robbery.
- When you’re at home, park in a garage if you can. It could also be worth installing a CCTV system. Many link up to your phone and will alert you to any unexpected movement. And if the CCTV camera is visible, or you’ve put up warning signs, this can act as a significant deterrent too.
- Thieves are known to target vans parked at hotels or B&Bs, while you’re away on a job. They know that you’re unlikely to empty the van overnight, so they can be confident of rich pickings. If possible, try and park by a CCTV camera or under a light. And if you’re parking in the street, make sure it is well-lit.
- If possible, park on busy streets rather than quiet back alleys where thieves can go unnoticed.
- A simple act like parking close up against a wall can also help. Park so the wall protects the side door.
5) Check your tradesman insurance and upgrade if necessary
Comprehensive tradesman insurance will give you peace of mind that your tools (and your livelihood) are covered if thieves target you. If it’s been a while since you went through your cover, it’s worth taking a few minutes to check it through, so you don’t get any nasty surprises if you do make a claim. Your commercial van insurance does not automatically cover tools in your van. Instead, you’ll need to specify separate cover for your tools when they’re in your van and on site. If you’ve got this level of protection, make sure the value covered is up to date and sufficient. Tool costs rise, and if you’re underinsured your claim could be rejected.
When it comes to insurance, don’t forget that it’s not just your tools you need to consider. Your van could also be stolen. Even if it isn’t, you’ll need to put right any damage caused by the thieves, and this can be expensive. If your van is stolen, you’ll be without wheels for some time, and that can stop you working, and earning. Look for an insurance policy that promises quick payments if your van is stolen or will replace it with a similar vehicle if it is off the road, so you can carry on working. And don’t forget that ordinary insurance is not sufficient. If you’re using your van for your work, you need specialist commercial vehicle insurance, or you won’t be covered.
6) Don’t skimp on your insurance
When you’re running a small business, every penny counts. But it’s important not to skimp on insurance, or it could cost you more in the long run. It could also be the difference between your business surviving a theft or going under. It can also be tempting to increase your excesses to reduce your premiums. But take care you don’t set these too high, so they stay affordable.
Instead, keep costs down by shopping around for your tradesman insurance to find the cheapest deal or use a specialist independent insurance broker like Park Insurance to do the leg-work for you. We’ve been helping tradesmen and women to find high-quality insurance at the most competitive prices for over 25 years. Our expert, friendly team will chat through your options and tailor-make an insurance policy that covers everything you need without you paying for anything you don’t. We understand the threats and challenges you face, and we’re here to help you so your business can thrive.
Don’t let the thieves spoil your day
Could you afford to replace your tools if they are stolen? Will your insurance pay out quickly? Don’t let the thieves take your livelihood as well as your tools. Call our friendly team on 0117 955 6835 or get a quote.