For workers in the motor trade who are involved with repairing, collecting, or modifying vehicles, tools are an important and valuable business asset, perhaps the most important and valuable after business premises and the company vehicle.
While items that are stored on business premises, may be covered by the company’s insurance policy, the same may not be true of equipment taken out on the road.
The name and company details on the side of a van are designed to advertise the business, but also advertise the fact that there may be valuable items inside. The type of equipment used in a roadside repair, for example, is easy to carry away, can have a high resale value, and is difficult to trace.
Tool theft from trade vans is, unfortunately, a common occurrence, as the profusion of ‘No tools left in this vehicle overnight’ notices on the backs of vans shows.
Loss of equipment is not just an inconvenience, as replacement costs can be high, eating into profits, and a delay in replacing a tool because it is expensive or difficult to get hold of can mean that jobs have to be cancelled, with the associated loss of income and customer satisfaction.
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Do check the terms of any policy to find out exactly what’s covered. Some policies may have an upper limit for single items, so if a particularly expensive tool is taken, you might not be able to claim the full amount.
If you hire rather than buying, make sure hire equipment is covered too. In all cases, make sure you have an inventory of everything you carry in your van, and its value.
Proof of purchase is useful for dating and valuing items, so hold on to receipts. Bear in mind that you may not receive the full amount you paid, as wear and tear is taken into account when your lost items are valued.
Finally, remember that you will only be covered if the thieves have to break into the vehicle by force. That means putting everything safely inside, and closing and locking the doors, whenever the van is left unattended, even for only a few minutes.