As thieves become more sophisticated, protecting your tools and van from theft or damage is becoming ever more of a challenge.
According to a recent Screwfix survey of its customers, nearly one in two tradespeople have had their tools stolen and 39 percent of those admit to having them stolen at least twice. Replacing their tools had cost them up to £5,000 and they lost valuable working days.
Over half of those asked in the survey thought that more should be done to help protect tradespeople’s tools and vans, with the most popular security measures being removal of tools overnight and installing CCTV.
Tradex has seen a considerable rise in claims for tool and van theft over the past few years and offers full coverage as part of its motor trade insurance policies, including commercial vehicle insurance and fleet insurance.
Here are just some of the ways that you can protect your property and vehicles against thieves and vandals.
Internal and External Locking
The harder your tools are to remove from your vehicle, the less likely thieves will be to try to make off with them. Never leave your tools unattended and always try to secure with padlocks or other locking devices.
Both Van Vault and Armorgard have some of the most secure storage boxes on the market, which are available for a variety of tools and equipment.
If your vehicle isn’t stored behind locked gates at night, remove all tools. If you are keeping tools in your van, consider using a deadlock. As a deadlock doesn’t have a spring mechanism, it makes it very difficult to pick.
Slamlocks are idea if your job involves multi drop delivery, many short stops or high value loads. As the device automatically locks the vehicle door immediately it is shut, without requiring any operation by the driver, thieves are unable to nip in while your van is unattended.
Windows are often targeted by thieves as they are the weakest part of the vehicle. Grills, window tints, foils or locks can all help to prevent break-ins.
Alarms and Immobilisers
Fitting an alarm can prove one of the best deterrents to thieves. Look out for alarms that are rated Thatcham CAT 1. Thatcham recognised devices are alarms, immobilisers and other vehicle security devices that are assessed by Thatcham Research and are given a security certification after an assessment of their features and functions.
Thatcham Category 1 are combined alarm and immobilisers and some of the cleverest and complex on the market. They feature perimeter and ignition detection, movement, glass break and/or tilt sensors, as well as a siren powered by its own battery supply.
To prevent van theft, a steering wheel lock is still a really useful deterrent. Choose ones that are visible and can withstand a physical attack.
Hired-in Tools and Equipment
Whilst taking out motor trade insurance, remember to also include equipment that you hire under your tools and equipment policy. These hired-in tools will be covered in the same way as your owned equipment and should also cover any continuing hire costs for which you may be liable.
Mark You Property
By having identification marks on your tools, it ensures you will be recognised as the owner should the tools be found. Use permanent marker, paint or etch an identifying feature onto your tools. For anonymity, you can use ultra-violet pens which only show up under the right kind of light. Investigate joining a register such as Immobilise to help police identify your stolen property.
Make Sure You’re Insured
As thieves become more high-tech, even the most complex preventative measures may still occasionally fail. Having your tools insured as part of your motor trade insurance policy can give you greater peace of mind should the unthinkable happen. It’s not just the tools themselves that are expensive to replace, but the business hours lost.
When receiving your policy, check the wording to see exactly what is covered, what the limits and excesses are and if there are any conditions. An insurance broker may specify having certain security alarms or immobilisers fitted, how you secure your tools within your van and where the van is parked overnight if tools are to be stored in the vehicle.
If the worst should happen and you have tools stolen, your insurance company will probably ask for proof of the type of alarm or security system used in your vehicle.
Make sure the full value of your tools is covered and focus on new for old cover. Under some policies, age, condition and tool usage may be considered on a claim.
Getting the Right Cover
Tools and equipment insurance are generally inexpensive and come as part of your commercial vehicle, motor trade or fleet insurance policy. Tradex realises the importance of keeping you in business as quickly as possible so makes cover and claims as painless as possible.