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Tool theft claims rise 54% in two years with higher volume of break-ins without forced entry

5-minute read

Simply Business

Simply Business

19 November 2019

Tool theft claims rise 54% in two years with higher volume of break-ins without forced entry

  • 54% increase in tool theft claims across the UK between 2016-2018 with a notable rise in the number of break-ins conducted without forced entry, or trace of damage
  • Average UK claim for tool theft costs £1,684
  • South West saw the fastest increase in tool theft with an 81% rise, followed by London (67%)
  • North East has the highest average claim (£2,003), closely followed by East Anglia (£2,005) and South West (£1,979)
  • 87 industries have fallen victim to tool theft, with builders (675), carpenters (357) and electricians (258) most likely to be affected.

London, October 2019: Insurance claims by tradespeople affected by tool theft have increased 54% in the last two years, according to figures released today.

The data, released by small business insurer Simply Business, shows the average claim for stolen tools costs £1,684 while there’s also been a notable rise in the number of break-ins with no signs of damage or forced entry.

Analysis of over 2,000 tool theft claims reveal the number of incidents jumped from 412 in 2016, to 893 in 2018, rising 54% overall and consistently increasing year-on-year.

The research, which comes as the small business insurer launches a campaign to Stamp Out Tool Theft once and for all, shows the South West saw the most dramatic rise in incidents (81%) followed by London (67%) and the North West (63%).

The North East has the highest average claim (£2,033), closely followed by the East Anglia (£2,005) and the South West (£1,979). This figure doesn’t include loss of earnings as a result of tool theft, or replacing tools which haven’t been insured, so the real amount is likely to be much higher, estimated at over £3,000 on average[1].

Furthermore, the analysis revealed 87 different industries have fallen victim to tool theft in the last two years, showing just how widespread the issue has become. Across the UK, one in three (37%) tradespeople have experienced tool theft while a further 65% know someone who has[2].

The top five affected trades for tool theft:

  1. Builders – 675 claims
  2. Carpenters – 357 claims
  3. Electricians – 258
  4. Plumbing, heating & ventilation contractors – 223 claims
  5. Joiners – 214 claims

The figures come off the back of the small business insurer’s campaign to “Stamp Out Tool Theft’, and reflect an alarming increase in incidents of tool theft over the past two years. A large number of thefts now occur without a forced break in, where thieves use an electronic key fob to swiftly unlock keyless entry systems. This makes it much easier to steal tools, and harder to notice when they have been stolen.

Simply Business is calling on the government to implement greater fines for those convicted of tool theft, as well as tighter regulations on the selling of second-hand tools. The petition aims to secure 100,000 signatures for the measures to be debated in the House of Lords and be viewed here.

Fastest growth in incidents of tool theft:

YEAR2016201720182019% increase from 2016-2018
Area
South West England15597915381%
London28648417667%
North West England36699820363%
South Central England468211724561%
Wale816194358%
South East England5110510626252%
East Anglia6712713833251%
The Midlands7913113834843%
North East England7411911530836%
Scotland1216184633%

Bea Montoya, Chief Operating Officer at Simply Business commented:

"Tradespeople are the backbone of Britain, but they're being stopped in their tracks on a daily basis due to the ongoing tool theft epidemic. Tool theft rips through the lives of thousands of tradespeople and their families every year. We’ve seen 87 different trades affected in the last two years alone, showing just how widespread the issue has become.

Unfortunately, it’s becoming increasingly common to see tools being stolen without leaving any visible sign of forced entry. The rise of keyless entry has meant the way thieves operate is changing, and it’s potentially becoming easier to steal tools. Tradespeople need to take extra care to avoid tool theft, and simple measures such as removing your tools overnight, parking in view of CCTV and with doors against a wall, and marking tools and recording serial numbers, can go a long way in preventing theft. Tools insurance is a good safety net should the worst happen, but prevention should always be the priority."

Top 5 tips for preventing tool theft:

Bea Montoya, Chief Operating Officer at Simply Business, says:

Park against a wall – Aim to park with sliding or rear doors against a wall or sturdy fence so it’s difficult for them to be opened. You should park in busy, well-lit areas, and preferably in view of a CCTV camera.

Remove tools overnight – Nowadays, a lot of break ins can be from ‘peel and steal’ and electronic key fobs, so even well-secured vans are at risk. If you can, remove tools from your vehicle overnight to completely reduce the risk of losing them, even if an attempt is made.

Mark your tools – Having identification marks on your tools (e.g. from paint or permanent marker) makes it difficult for stolen tools to be sold on. It also helps to recognise you as the owner if they’re recovered.

Record serial numbers – Make a note of serial numbers, as well as the make and model of tools you own. Providing this to police in the event of them being stolen will help to identify your tools if they’re found, as well as easing the process of making an insurance claim.

Make sure you’re insured – Replacing your tools is likely to be expensive. Having insurance in place, whether standalone tools insurance, or as part of your business insurance policy, can help to give you peace of mind as well as support with the sudden financial shock of tool theft. Check your policy and if you don’t already have tools insurance included, consider adding it on. You should also check your policy wording to find out exactly what’s covered, what the limits and excesses are, and if there’s any exceptions to be aware of.

-ENDS-

Notes to editors:

Data recorded from 2,120 claims for tool theft from 2016-2019

Wider stats from external research conducted in August 2019. Survey of 1,000 UK based tradespeople:

  • One in three (37%) victim to tool theft
  • 65% know someone who has
  • £3,005 average cost of tool theft which comes from average loss of earnings (£870) and average cost of replacing stolen tools (£2,135)

Simply Business insurers over half a million SMEs up and down the country; over 175,000 of which are tradespeople.

To learn more about this campaign visit: https://get.simplybusiness.co.uk/stamp-out-tool-theft/

About Simply Business:

Simply Business is one of the UK’s biggest business insurance providers, insuring over 500,000 small businesses and landlords across Britain.

Launched in 2005, Simply Business provides an online brokerage service, delivering policies tailored to individual business requirements. Using the power of tech and data to create the best possible customer experiences, Simply Business employs over 600 people across offices in London, Northampton, and Boston in the US.

Owing to its internal underwriting capability, Simply Business can cover over 1,000 trade types – ranging from plumbers to accountants to dog walkers. An accredited B Corp for their positive social impact, Simply Business has also been voted the Sunday Times Best Company To Work For twice in a row.

For further information, please contact:

Frank PR

+44 20 7693 7433

[email protected]

About Simply Business

Simply Business is one of the UK’s biggest business insurance providers, specialising in public liability insurance for SMEs and insuring over 600,000 small businesses and landlords across Britain.

Launched in 2005, Simply Business provides an online brokerage service, delivering policies tailored to individual business requirements. Using the power of tech and data to create the best possible customer experiences, Simply Business employs over 600 people across offices in London, Northampton, and Boston in the US.

Owing to its internal underwriting capability, Simply Business can cover over 1,000 trade types – ranging from plumbers to accountants to dog walkers. An accredited B Corp for their positive social impact, Simply Business has also been voted the Sunday Times Best Company To Work For twice in a row.

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© Copyright 2019 Simply Business. All Rights Reserved. Simply Business is a trading name of Xbridge Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Financial Services Registration No: 313348). Xbridge Limited (No: 3967717) has its registered office at 6th Floor, 99 Gresham Street, London, EC2V 7NG.