Protecting the tools of your trade

Van Security

OK, let’s get the scary facts out of the way first. According to research*, vans get broken into every 23 minutes and 50% of tradespeople have been a victim of van crime on more than one occasion. So, if you haven’t, maybe it’s time to think about tooling up your van insurance. Here’s our tool insurance guide. 

What is tool insurance?

Basically, tool insurance will cover theft of your kit and the cost of replacing it. So that can be everything from handheld to power and non-power tools, plant equipment and even kit you might have borrowed. It can also cover accidental damage as well as damage from fire, flood or being in a traffic accident.

Do you really need It?

We get that it’s another expense to think about and many of us see any type of insurance as virtually burning money if you never end up making a claim. But if you get unlucky and you haven’t got the tools of your trade, you’re pretty much scuppered. Then there’s all the expense of replacing them – even worse if you have costly specialist equipment that’s gone walkabout. And if you can’t afford to replace them quickly that could mean lost business.

Tool insurance means you can replace your tools quicker and get back to work faster.

Check your other insurance policies first

It’s worth a quick check. You might already be covered on another insurance policy so make sure you’re not doubling up. Your van insurance may include cover for stolen possessions up to a certain amount, but it may not offer cover for goods used in business. But as always, check the detail thoroughly as you might not have the level of cover you really need.

Getting started with tool insurance

In most cases cover for your tools is offered as an add-on as part of a public liability, specialist tradesman or van insurance policy. Or you can opt for a dedicated tool insurance policy. Whether it’s cheaper to buy it separately or as an add on will take a bit of Googling or phoning around. The level of cover you’ll need will depend on what you use your van for, and the type of tools you’re insuring.

Make sure you’re properly covered 

Don’t under-insure – It’s a common mistake. A surprising number of people deliberately do this to reduce their premiums believing they will still get the full cost of the tools paid back. Sadly not! Say your tools are worth £2000 but you value them at £1000, if they all end up getting stolen you will only get what you said the tools were worth, not the full amount. You simply won’t have paid enough premiums to cover the larger cost.

‘New for old’ cover. And following on from the point above, make sure your policy gives you ‘new for old’ cover. Otherwise you may well end up getting only the depreciated value for your tools, rather than the actual price you originally paid for them.

Exclusions – Always check your policy for exclusions. A good example is that it might not cover your tools being left in your van overnight. If it’s a pain to unload every evening you should really consider this.

Excess – Check the excess. A high voluntary excess will cut your premium costs, but if that amount is higher than the replacement cost, is it worth it?

What level of cover can I get? 

Naturally policies will differ from each other so check the details, but some of the things you can get cover for include:

  • Cost of replacement –  from £1,000 to £10,000
  • Protection for your tools overnight with 24/7 cover 
  • EU cover 
  • Cover at home as well in the workplace
  • ‘Tools in transit’ cover for reassurance when you’re on the road

Tips to keep your tools safe

The harder you make it for your tools to be got at, the less likely thieves are to make off with them. There are a few simple steps you can take to protect your tools and also to help recover them should they be stolen:

  • Take a photo of your tools – helps identify them if they’re found by the police
  • Personalise or mark your tools – etch your name on them or mark with bright paint to make them much more identifiable
  • Serial numbers – keep a note just in case 
  • Stickers – advertise the fact your tools are marked to warn off any would-be-thieves
  • Receipts – keep hold of receipts for any new tools you buy. That way you have hard proof of purchase should they get stolen
  • Invisible pens and security marking systems – use them on expensive kit to increase your chances of getting them back if they’re stolen
  • If you can, don’t leave your tools in the van overnight

For more tips on keeping your van secure take a look at our Van Security Guide.

*Sources: RAC, BBC.

When you want extra guidance, feel free to talk to our specialist dealer partners. They supply thousands of vans every year and with all their experience they’ll always be happy to help.

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