Prevention is always better than a cure, so we advise people to make sure they have aftermarket locks fitted to their vans to put off would-be tool thieves. However, you should still be prepared for the worst to happen by making sure you have tool insurance
Many tradespeople don’t bother to get their kit covered. Which means if you fall prey to criminals you can really struggle to get back on your feet.
When you’re first getting a quote to set up your insurance policy, it’s important to make sure you cover the full value of your tools. Don’t underestimate their worth or you could end up being offered less than you deserve when claiming.
Be aware that not all policies offer new for old cover. Some policies take the tool’s age/condition into account when paying out. If you don’t have a new-for-old policy, you might be offered less for your tools than you originally paid.
As good practice you should make sure to keep a record of all of your tools including serial numbers and receipts. Also keep photos of any personal markings they may have (see blog post ‘What do you use to mark your tools?‘). This information will help the police and your insurance company if you do fall victim to tool theft. Tools can also be registered online with Tool Trace.
Most tool insurance policies will have strict rules on the security conditions of how your tools are stored. It’s important to know what your policy’s conditions are and be sure to stick to them. Failure to do so will probably result in your insurance company refusing to pay out.
Your policy will most likely include information such as the type of place your tools should be kept in, usually a locked building or storage unit, and whether or not your tools are covered if they are kept in a vehicle overnight.
Some policies will not cover you if your tools are left in a vehicle but some will. It’s important to make sure you know what your insurance covers. If your policy does cover tools in a vehicle, there could be specific requirements. These could include ensuring tools are out of sight, the windows are closed and all security measures are activated (doors locked, alarm set etc.). Some policies also only cover tools in a vehicle which is kept in a secure compound overnight, so check the small print.
In the eventuality that criminals do target your van/garage/workshop/house, what steps do you need to make?
You should take photos of any damage. These can be shared with the police to help with their investigations. Your insurance company may also need the photos to help with your claim.
Damage from the popular ‘peel and steal’ method.
If a crime has been committed you should notify the police as soon as possible. Sadly, there’s usually not a lot the police can do with cases of theft from a motor vehicle apart from take your details and give you a Crime Reference Number (CRN). This will be needed by your insurance company.
Before making your claim you should make sure you understand your policy properly. In particular, the excess you’ll have to pay if you claim. This amount can range from £100 – £500 or be a percentage of the overall value of your tools.
Next you’ll need to prepare your evidence. This means digging out those old receipts, photos and serial numbers you have filed away. Never keep these documents in your vehicle or with your tools for obvious reasons. You should also make sure to have your CRN at hand.
Then it’s time to call your insurance – the process differs from one insurer to the next, but making sure you have all your evidence ready should mean your claim can be processed as quickly as possible.
As previously mentioned, prevention is better than a cure, so make sure you have additional security fitted to your van such as locks and tool safes which act as a great deterrent for would-be thieves.
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