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News & Blog

The Rise of Van and Tool Theft

Posted: 22nd August 2018

Startling figures reveal that van and tool theft in the UK has become so severe that a van is broken into every 23 minutes, and recent reports further identify that this number has increased by nearly two thirds in two years. With new technologies emerging, 82% of Light Commercial Vehicles are stolen without keys [1]. Electronic key fobs and skeleton keys are now commonly used to break into your vehicle.

But is it only vehicles?

A recent online poll highlights the scale of tool theft in the UK and the effect this has on all parts of the construction industry [2]. This undoubtedly has financial implications. However, without your most valuable assets, your ability to work is also affected.

While you can minimise this risk by having the correct insurance, having robust security measures/policies in place is the best way to protect your business equipment. At Jelf, we have some top tips to help you protect your van and tools and increase your chance of recovery in the event of a theft.

Top tips to reduce risk for van and tool theft

  • Deadlocks Encourage employees to set their deadlocks even when working on site. Additional security is not just for overnight
  • Van safes Secure vaults than can be fitted to your van. This may pose as an inconvenience regarding tool access but losing them would be a bigger cause for concern
  • Avoid leaving tools in the van overnight Make it a policy for your employees to never leave tools or equipment in the van overnight. Even if this does not deter a break – in, it will certainly reduce the costs of loss
  • Van lock protection plates Relatively inexpensive but an effective deterrent. These steel plates encase the existing locks on your van, preventing thieves from trying to drill/force them out.

Insurance to protect you against theft

  • Tool extension Many off-the-shelf policies do not provide overnight cover for tools. It is recommended that you check any exclusions on your policy. Jelf can offer 24-7 cover for tools kept on site or stored in a vehicle
  • Keep an inventory Do you know how much your toolkit is worth? Many unfortunately do not. Keeping an up-to-date inventory of all your tools, evidence of ownership (receipts), calibration certificates and serial numbers means that the actual cost of your loss can be calculated. Taking photographs and marking your tools for identification is also recommended.
  • Van insurance is separate Commercial vehicles are not covered under the same policy that covers your tools and equipment. You will require separate insurance to cover vehicle theft, whether an individual or fleet policy is needed.

What to do in the event of a claim?

  1. Report it to the police
  2. Provide your insurer with your up-to-date inventory (enables an estimate for replacement)
  3. Use your serial numbers to set up a Gumtree/eBay alert to be notified if your stolen items have been listed.

For more information and expert advice on tool and van insurance, please get in touch with Laura Dewar, Branch Director. ✉ ☎ 0131 255 0306


Laura Dewar

Edinburgh Branch Director

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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