Whether you work in construction, landscape gardening, plumbing, or any number of other trades, tool insurance is an important cover to consider when you take out your business insurance policy.
If your tools are lost, stolen or damaged, tailored tools cover can give you peace of mind that you and your business won’t be left without the equipment you need to get the job done for too long.
And when it comes to buying insurance, having the security that you're covered correctly can't be underestimated.
Here we’ve listed some tips to help you safeguard your property, and what you need to do if you need to claim on your tools insurance.
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When setting up your policy, it’s essential that you cover the full value of your tools. If you don’t insure the total value of all your tools, it could significantly reduce the amount you’re offered if you claim.
This is due to the insurance principle of average.
It’s also worth noting that not all policies offer new for old cover. Under certain policies, age, condition and how often a tool is used will all be considered when paying out on a claim.
Also keep in mind that if you don’t have a ‘new for old’ policy, the amount you’ll be offered for your tools when you claim will not necessarily be what you paid for them when they were new.
Most tools cover policies will include security endorsements, specifying conditions around how you keep your tools secure.
They'll include details such as the construction of the building you’re keeping the tools in. If you’re storing them in a van it’ll need to be kept in a locked compound overnight and there’ll be specifications as to the type of alarm it has.
These conditions can vary depending on the amount of tools cover you need, so be sure to keep your insurer up to date with any changes.
If the worst should happen and you need to make a claim on your tools insurance, be mindful of the fact that you’ll be asked to provide proof of the type of alarm installed in your vehicle.
In an ideal world, you’ll want to avoid claiming for your tools altogether.
Unfortunately, with specialist tools costing into the thousands, they can be very attractive to would-be thieves.
But there are some things you can do to safeguard against it.
Firstly, don’t leave your tools unattended while on site, even for a few minutes. Tool thieves are skilled at seizing opportunities to steal tradespeople's equipment.
Consider painting their tips to deter the light-fingered. Etching is another form of marking that’s difficult for thieves to remove. Alternatively, you can use an invisible marker to make them easier to trace should they be stolen.
If the alarm on your vehicle doesn’t match the security conditions of your policy, keep your tools with you while you’re working on a job, and remove them from the vehicle while you’re at home.
If you store your tools in your van, think about padlocking them inside, and parking your van with the rear or side doors against a wall to make it harder to prise them open.
So you’ve fully insured your tools, read your policy documents for security conditions, and taken the necessary precautions – but you can’t plan for every eventuality and sometimes claims are unavoidable.
Following this guidance, however, should help streamline your claims experience and get you back in business as soon as possible.
If you’re VAT-registered you’ll be accustomed to keeping receipts of new tools. Even if you’re not, getting into the habit of keeping receipts will be helpful if ever you need to make a claim. It's important to make sure your receipts are stored in a safe place away from your tools.
Along with keeping proof of your purchases, photos will also help to identify your tools if they’re stolen. It’s a good idea to keep a record of their serial numbers too.
If your tools are gone and there are signs of forced entry to your van or workshop, take photographic evidence to share with the police and your insurance claims handler.
You should report any theft to the police immediately. The police will give you a Crime Reference Number (CRN), which you’ll later pass on to your insurance claims handler.
Before even lodging a claim, make sure you’re familiar with your tools excess. With excesses ranging from £100 to £500 – or even a percentage of the value you’ve insured – knowing this figure before you try to claim will save you time if the claim amount is smaller than the excess amount.
Got a question about tools insurance? Ask us in the comments below.
We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer
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