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Tips for keeping your tools and equipment safe 24/7

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It wouldn’t be exaggerating to say that, when you are a tradesman, your tools are your livelihood. Without them, you simply can’t do your job – and, for that reason, it is essential, not merely a good idea, to make sure they are covered by insurance. However, prevention is better than cure…

In other words, you should endeavour to preserve the safety of your tools and equipment to prevent yourself from needing to dip into your insurance in the first place. Sadly, that’s much easier said than done, given a backdrop of thieves who are becoming cleverer about how they steal trade supplies.

Many figures about tool theft in the UK are undoubtedly sobering. For example, a van is broken into and the tools it contains are stolen every 23 minutes, Contractor Weekly reports. To tradespeople, the resulting yearly cost is £100m overall, but the following tips could spare you financial disaster.

Maintain an up-to-date inventory of your tools

Yes, all of them. Without logging all of your tools in an inventory, you can’t expect your insurer to be capable of accurately reimbursing you if you do lose any of those tools. If they are lost to theft, that inventory could even make it easier for you to track them down again.

Whenever you add a new tool to the inventory, you should prepare a photograph of it and note down the serial number. Meanwhile, for proof of purchase, you could source the original receipt or, if you struggle to find this, a calibration certificate instead.

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When you do buy new items to add to your inventory, you will likely need to notify your insurer, Voltimum cautions. Oh, and don’t underestimate the power of serial numbers – they could prove useful if the items are resold and you want to track them down.

Especially importantly, keep that inventory away from the tools. It would be tragic if this inventory was stolen, perhaps even accidentally by someone who simply had their eye on your tools.

Keep your vehicle properly locked when leaving it unattended

When taking out a public liability insurance policy from Tradesman Saver, you can add tools and equipment insurance for an extra fee. Take heart that this additional cover will remain valid even if your tools are stolen from an unattended vehicle. The few stipulations here include that the vehicle is locked when the loss occurs, while all of that vehicle’s windows are closed and keys removed.

However, the mantra “prevention is better than cure” is once again emphasised, meaning that you can take particular, security-conscious steps before you leave the vehicle. For example, you could lock your tools away in a toolbox or even a van safe before locking all of these in the van itself.

On the subject of locking the van, properly secure it with extra deadlocks and alarms. Other potential security measures, as suggested by The Sun, include van vaults as well as, behind doors, metal gates. Watch out for side-loading doors, too; they could be unlocked at times when you think otherwise.

Ideally, though, you shouldn’t leave that van unattended at all, given that more than half of vehicle-related crimes occur during daytime. If you are set to park outside a shop or petrol garage, one good idea is to park with the side-loading door facing the entrance if possible. This would prevent thieves from being able to unload your van without you noticing.

Where possible, don’t leave tools in your van overnight

Yes, it will take extra time and effort for you to move tools from your van to inside your home, but those items will be much safer there. If you are set to stay overnight in a hotel or travel-lodge, you should still remove tools from the vehicle when this is practically possible.

If you can’t quite remove all of the pieces of equipment, focus on just the most expensive ones. To your van, you could even attach stickers reading “no tools are stored in this van overnight” in a bid to deter thieves from smashing their way into the vehicle anyway.

Be careful where you park your van

We’ve already provided a little advice for how to park a vehicle near a shop or petrol garage – but if, for one reason or another, you feel a need to leave your vehicle out of your own sight, you can still take a few security measures. These would be aimed at leaving the vehicle in other people’s sight…

For example, endeavour to park that vehicle in low-crime areas and, when possible, close to a CCTV security system. Also, be wary of parking your van outside hardware stores and builders merchants, given reports of thieves waiting in these areas to pounce on tradesmen’s vans.

Scrutinise the small print of your insurance policy

At Tradesman Saver, we provide tools and equipment cover as part of a broad package including readily issued covers of public liability, financial loss, products liability, legal expenses and accidental death.

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Starting at £59* per year

You can tailor that insurance package further by adding options like employer’s liability, personal accident and short-term income protection. However, whichever choices you settle on, if they include tools and equipment cover, you should check that it is sufficiently nuanced for your needs.

You should verify, for example, whether that insurance will protect your tools right around the clock. You should ask the insurer for details of exactly when and where your tools will be covered.

With Tradesman Saver, you can easily tailor your cover to meet your specific requirements. The tools and equipment cover we offer ranges from £1,000 to £5,000 per person, and you can specify the amount – in steps of £500 – of this cover you want to take out.

As a result, this cover can prove a wonderfully cost-effective deal. You can start applying for it by clicking the tools & equipment insurance link and then the orange “Get a Quote” button.

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*This indicative price is for £1m public and products liability, £250,000 legal expenses, £10,000 financial loss and £10,000 accidental death insurance cover for a sole trader. The price includes insurance premium tax but excludes our admin charge. 19% of new customers paid less than £59 between 1st January 2021 and 28th February 2021. The actual price you pay will depend upon your specific business requirements and will be affected by your trade, your claims history and the optional covers you select which are all priced separately during the quote process. This website is intended for customers based in the UK and is therefore subject to the UK regulatory regime(s) © Copyright 2022 Tradesman Saver | Tradesman Saver and Henry Seymour & Co. are trading names of Barkdene Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 303965) for our insurance distribution and credit broking activities. Barkdene Limited is a credit broker not a lender. You can check this on the Financial Services register.
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