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Home Tradesman Insights Locks, fobs, and van security. Keeping your tools behind closed doors

Locks, fobs, and van security. Keeping your tools behind closed doors

Protect your tools with these useful methods to keep thieves out of your van.


Tradesman Saver are back with more suggestions on how to keep your van secure on the road. Back in September, we looked at how location can increase the risk of vehicle break-ins, and this month we’re focusing on security.

What follows are some useful methods, tools, and locks, to keep thieves out of your van and your tools safe.

To get started, lets see how easy it is to break into your van and get access to what’s stored inside.

Change the locks

When you purchase a brand new van from the manufacturer, the first thing you should consider is changing the locks. Thieves are well aware of the security features that come as standard on new vehicles. If these locks haven’t been changed, the risk of your van being broken into is much higher.

The same applies when you purchase a van second-hand. Ask the seller, or dealer, if the locks have been changed by the previous owner. It’s also worth noting if any keys have been lost and if extra copies have been made.

There are a number of different locks on the market and each lock functions in a slightly different way. Some locks can be fitted yourself and others require a professional to install.

Here are three options to consider:


Fitted to the most vulnerable parts of your van’s door, the Hooklock has a strong anti-pull rating and a bracket made of high grade stainless steel. This makes prying the lock away from the van extremely difficult, putting crowbars out of action. By using a hock catch in favour of a standard bolt lock, Hooklocks are considered the next generation in van security.


Made from a lightweight and durable alloy this lock can take a good beating from a hammer. It’s anti-drill and anti pick-lock system adds an excellent level of protection and the lock is available in two sizes. The Armourshell lock is a great option for panel van drivers looking to keep their tools and equipment safe.

Insurance at hard to beat rates

Starting at £54* per year


We’ve talked about crowbars and hammers, but what about screwdrivers? Easy to conceal and lightweight, the screwdriver is one of the preferred methods for criminals looking to get at your goods. The Replock’s thick internal reinforcing washer keeps your tools safe and can be linked to your central locking system.

A note about key fobs

Thieves are boosting key fob signals to open van doors and start engines. Even if the fob is inside your home, or in your pocket as you work on site, the signal can be extended. Boosting the fob signal takes seconds, and the thief can clear off with your van quietly, without having to force entry.

In 2020, 26.5% of van break-ins took place when the van was parked on the owner’s driveway.

Fortunately, there are a couple of affordable ways to prevent this happening.

Signal blocking boxes are a good option to store your fob at home. And when you’re out and about consider carrying a faraday pouch. These simple solutions will block any attempts to unlock the van when you’ve got your back turned.

Window etching

Etching a unique code into the windows of your van is a cheap and effective way of deterring criminals. This code is linked to and recognised by all Police Forces in the UK, which increases the chances that the van will be recovered. Halfords offer this service for £20, or you can purchase home etching kits online.

Where have you parked your van?

It’s crucial to think about where you park your van, especially when you’re out on a job. To help, Tradesman Saver have put together a guide to make sure your van is parked in a safe place.

Tool insurance

You can spend all the money in the world on security features for your van, but thieves learn quickly. The second the ‘most secure product ever’ hits the market, criminals are looking at ways to crack codes and find ways to force their way into vehicles.

Yes, vans are getting smart and technology is more advanced. But the more remote and automated the system, the easier it is for thieves to drive off in your van without raising the alarm.

In the UK, a van in broken into every 20 minutes, and anything stored in the van is gone for good. It’s rare tools and equipment are tracked down, and the financial loss can be crippling.

Tradesman Saver have been protecting sole traders and business owners for decades. Our Tool and Equipment insurance keeps you afloat when your livelihood has been stolen from you.

We understand how stressful loosing the tools you need to do your job can be, which is why we offer Tools and Equipment insurance as an optional extra. The cover is easy to set up, can be added to your current policy, and includes:

  • Up to £10,000 tool cover per person
  • Includes cover for theft from unattended vehicles (higher excess may apply)
  • Covered on an All Risks basis anywhere in the UK

For more info, and to get a quote, head over to the tool insurance page.

Know any van drivers who would find this content useful? You’ll find links to share below. And if you have any tips and advice for keeping your van and tools safe, feel free to leave a comment.

Mark McPherson

Mark McPherson has an MA in Creative Writing and has been crafting content for over a decade. He writes for a range of niches, including the construction industry and insurance sector. Mark has worked internationally as a content writer and teacher.

All articles by Mark McPherson

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