9 March 2020

Staying secure – how to keep your trade tools safe

By Road Runner
Tools in a workshop

Most vehicle crime is preventable, and according to police statistics, it can take a thief just 10 seconds to take something from your vehicle.

More than half of UK tradesmen had tools stolen and of those that did, 46% of traders had their van side panels or door broken into, according to the Federation of Master Builders. Around 23% have had their windows smashed, and 22% had their van locks picked. Not a great bit of reading if you have tools locked away in your vehicle overnight.

If you’re a mobile mechanic and rely on moving your tools from A to B every day, it might be tempting to leave them in your van particularly if you have a lot of them. But with the stats above in mind, that doesn’t sound like a great idea.

What can you do to reduce the risk of a break in and the need to claim on your motor trade insurance policy?

Basic van security

If you leave tools in your van overnight, it’s unlikely your policy will cover any break in. Your insurer will most likely expect you to have adequate security in place. This might mean simply keeping your van’s doors and windows locked, but in some cases a working alarm system.

The outcome of a claim may also be affected if your vehicle is left in an un-secure storage facility.

Removing tools

If you use a Satnav, make sure it’s put away and out of sight. Any tools inside your van should be removed, especially at night when you can’t keep an eye on it. Investing in a secure storage unit inside your vehicle is one option, but this doesn’t stop a determined thief who could cost you money for damages while trying their luck.

It’s also worth letting potential thieves know that there are no tools inside your van left overnight. You can do this with a simple sticker. Look for one that is brightly coloured and sends a clear message.

Locking up

As touched on above, keeping your vehicle locked is the first step in preventing a break in. But what sort of lock are we talking about? There are a few:

Steering Wheel locks

Normally yellow in colour, and designed to be noticed, this type of lock connects to the vehicle’s steering wheel and prevents it from being turned. It’s not going to stop your tools from being stolen, but it’ll go a long way in helping to stop the van itself being stolen.

Hook locks

A hook lock will latch onto a keep and will need to be forced open for a thief to get inside. This is an added security measure to be utilised in addition to basic door locks.

Slam locks

A slam lock is a device which automatically locks the vehicle door as it is slammed shut and does not require any further action from the driver.

Don’t rush to make a claim…

Making a claim can be costly in terms of your future premium, so here are some tips to keep your tools safe:

  • Use invisible ink to mark your tools, in case they are tracked down
  • Install CCTV near to where your van is regularly parked
  • Make sure your van is secure, in a well-lit area if possible
  • Ensure the tools in your van are out of sight as mentioned before
Check your excess

Excess is the amount of money you pay towards a claim if you were to make one. Once this has been paid, your insurer would then pay the remaining expenses up to the policy cover limit.

If you’re unsure of your excess, you can get in touch with your insurance company to find out how much you would need to pay in the event of making a claim. Perhaps the value of tools in your van is less than any excess required if you were to make a claim. If you’re looking for insurance as a motor trader or mobile mechanic, it’s worth understanding what excess is included in your policy.

Road Runner can help you with your road risks, liability and premises cover. Speak to our friendly team today on 0330 100 87 20 or get a motor trade insurance quote online.

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