Around 4/5 tradesmen leave tools in vehicles overnight, despite fears of theft

79% of tradesmen leave their tools in their van overnight, a new poll by Simply Business has found. This is despite the fact that the vast majority of tradesmen are worried about theft of vans or tools.

7/10 tradesmen regularly leave tools in their vans overnight

Of the 160 tradesmen polled by Simply Business, 70 per cent said they leave their tools in their vans overnight most of the time, with a further 9 per cent saying they do it from time to time.

Only 21 per cent said they never leave tools in their vehicle overnight, even though another recent survey found 98 per cent of tradesmen worry about work vehicle or tool theft.

Vans unsafe as tool theft evolves

Last month the UK experienced what some called a ‘tool theft epidemic’, with thieves taking advantage of weaknesses in some makes of vans by using the new ‘peel and steal’ technique.

Not only does this way of breaking into vans take hardly any time, it requires none of the usual equipment, making it much harder for tradesmen to take effective action and police to return stolen tools.

With this in mind, it’s becoming increasingly dangerous for tradesmen to keep tools in the van overnight –  or sometimes even during the day, as thieves become more brazen. Not only can it result in damage to your vehicle and theft of your tools, it may also invalidate your insurance, meaning you have to pay out of pocket for repairs and replacements.

How can tradesmen keep tools safe?

Given the recent spike in reports tool theft, here are our top tips for keeping everything safe, if not under lock and key:

  • Even though it can be a chore, it’s always a good idea to remove your tools from your van whenever possible, particularly overnight
  • If there are going to be times when you have to leave tools in your van, make sure your alarm is working properly and consider having extra locks fitted
  • Again, if you have to leave tools in your van, it’s best to park in a busy, well-lit area and, where possible, back your rear and side doors against a wall
  • To protect against peel and steal (see above) you could look into having your van doors reinforced
  • If you’re on the Immobilise Register, it’s easier for police to identify your tools if they’re recovered after a theft
  • Another way to recover tools – and avoid theft – is to mark them very visibly, either with engravings or a permanent marker

It’s also worth checking whether you’ve protected your equipment with tool insurance. If you do have it in place, or decide to take out a new policy, make sure you read over your documents so that you understand the limits and exclusions of the policy and know what type of claims will be covered, as well as what your insurer expects of you.

Have you been the victim of tool theft? Tell us about your experiences in the comments

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