Stolen Tools are Driving Local Builders Mad


Builders working near the Insurance Blogger are complaining like mad about passers-by nicking tools and equipment from their vans.

According to several self-employed builders, they cannot take their eyes off their tools and building materials for more than a minute before a thief strikes.

The problem for many is they cannot claim off their van insurance because the excess is too high to cover the loss, or they left the van doors open and in the insurer’s eyes ‘contributed’ to their lost and voided their cover.

One builder claimed he took some tools out of his van and locked the sliding side door because someone had already walked off with some hand tools. He left the tools at the bottom of a ladder while he climbed up to ready his working area. When he came back down to tools were gone. This time he lost a hammer and chisel.

The thefts sound small, but add up the cost of every hammer, screwdriver and chisel builders must lose every day and the cost of replacement is substantial.

The story also highlights the idiosyncrasies of insurance cover. Customers buy insurance to cover them from theft, fire, accident and damage. Unfortunately, the first response of an insurer when a van driver makes a claim is where was the van parked and was it locked?

Remember, every time you phone an insurance company to talk about a claim, the call is likely to be recorded and anything you say can be used as evidence to try and wriggle out of paying up.

Builders and other tradesmen should take note:

  • Do not leave tools and materials where some sneak thief can nab them.
  • Do not leave van doors and windows open while the vehicle is unattended.

Look at tool insurance for your van, but make sure the excess is not too high and check whether it is paid per claim or just once for the first incident during the of the policy.

Standard van insurance often excludes tools, but optional cover is available at a price, but remember, the price is only worth paying if the tradesman can make a claim.

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