It’s the scourge of contractors such as builders, roofers, scaffolders, plumbers, electricians, and drainage experts.
Tool theft from vans is an increasing problem. It has become so bad in Plymouth, that it sparked a major protest of 150 tradespeople last month.
Their work vans travelled in a slow convoy from the A38 near Ivybridge in Devon into Plymouth city centre.
The organiser said tradespeople were at the end of their tethers after what local police called a “sharp increase” in the thefts. They called for more police resources to be made available to combat the problem.
One protester told reporters he had lost £3,000 worth of tools and had even witnessed someone breaking into his van on one occasion. Police said tens of thousands of pounds worth of tools had been stolen in the area in recent months.
Not only does this type of theft cost thousands for contractors to replace the tools, it can cost thousands in lost contracts or delays to work.
It seems that in some areas of the UK, contractors’ vehicles are being targeted in an organised fashion.
So, what can you do about the problem?
Improve your van’s security
There are some obvious measures you can take such as removing tools from vans at night or locking the van up in a secure garage.
However, many thefts are now taking place in broad daylight. So, it’s worth considering installing door alarms and lockable internal metal boxes which are secured to the floor of the van.
You can also park in view of CCTV cameras and use a wall or fence to prevent thieves ‘peeling’ doors away.
Joining registers such as SelectDNA or as Immobilise may be worthwhile too, as would be permanently marking your tools.
Ensure you have the right level of insurance cover
Getting tools insurance as part of your package is vital. An independent broker such as Severn Bay can search the whole of the market for the deals best suited to your business, and will help you look at issues such as tool hire if yours are stolen and the value of your tools.
Keeping a log of your tools with serial numbers and receipts will speed up any claims you may have.
Having the right policy in place will help give you peace of mind.
What other insurance cover might you need?
Some contractors incorporate design elements into their work, so they need to discuss whether they require professional indemnity insurance.
You also need to ensure all your materials are covered by your policies, whether they are on site or in transit.
Do you or your employees work at height? If so, you will need to ensure your policy covers this extra risk.
Do you need advice on the right insurance for your contracting business? Call our expert brokers on 02920 470375.