Don’t be a Victim of Van Tool Thieves
So many roofing contractors and other tradespeople here in the UK keep their tools in their vehicles overnight as it allows for a quicker start in the mornings. Indeed, most contractors vans will be kitted out to store their tools, equipment and materials in a safe manner for transportation and the van itself acts as their main place to store their tools and equipment. However, we hear plenty of stories about a works van being stolen, complete with thousands of pounds worth of tools and, even if the contents of the van (including the tools) are covered by the insurance policy (which they should be), the theft of the tools will leave the owner without the necessary tools to do the job and earn a living. There has been an increase in van break-ins and tool thefts according to insurance providers.
The average value of theft claims processed by one insurance provider has risen to £1.692 since 2012 and there’s been a rise of 15% in the past year alone. After analysing more than 3,000 tool theft claims, 5% of claims are for more than £5,000 and some claims even go as high as £11,000. This is reflected in the trade community’s increasing concerns over the safety of tools and equipment – the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reported an 18% rise in vehicle related thefts for 2017. In fact, tradespeople in Plymouth actually marched in protest at the sharp rise in van tool thefts in March of this year demonstrating just how serious an effect the cost of tool replacement, lost time and damaged client relationships has on the industry.
Despite increased vehicle security, thieves always come up with cunning new ways to target tradespeople who are likely to carry valuable tools and equipment in their vehicles. Electronic key fobs are available on Amazon and eBay for as little as £30 and these can be used to open vans, without any need to break and enter. This means that high value tools are being stolen without the evidence of breaking and entering that will easily prove an insurance claim. The method involves just two thieves, one of whom intercepts the signal from the key fob while the other uses the replicated key fob signal to open the vehicle.
According to current reports, the summer months see the largest number of tool thefts, which goes against the typical association of thefts being more likely in winter. Apparently the key fob method is being used by brazen thieves who steal from vans during broad daylight without attracting attention.
Tradespeople are being warned to be on guard against thefts from their vehicles, with Monday being the day that thieves are more likely to strike. Tool theft is one of the most serious issues facing hard working roofing contractors and other tradespeople here in the UK, with at least two or three insurance claims being made per day over the past year.
Next week, we’ll have some advice for you on how to guard against tool theft and some steps you can take to make sure your tools are safe. Make sure you don’t miss out on this information by following us on Facebook or Twitter so that you’re notified as soon as the article is published.