Tool insurance

A van break-in is always a nightmare, especially if they take your tools. The cost of your tools being stolen isn't just the price of replacing them. They're your livelihood and every day you don't have them costs you money. 

So, if you transport tools in your van for work, it might be worth looking into a tool insurance policy.

Tools in the back of a white van


What is tool insurance?

Tool insurance could help get you back to work quickly if something happens to the tools you need to do your job.

Whether you’ve been hit by theft, accident, fire or flood, it could help you replace or repair all sorts of work tools.

And because insurers appreciate that lost tools likely equal lost money, interim payouts under these polices tend to be quick.


Get a tool insurance quote

You can take out tool insurance at the same time as taking out a van insurance policy.

It’s also possible to take out tool cover with fleet insurance if you have a number of vans.

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What does van tool insurance cover?

Your van tool insurance covers the tools you take out with you to do your job, whether you’re a plumber, an electrician or a landscape gardener.

You can insure a wide range of tools such as hand tools, power tools and plant equipment.

Alongside insuring your own tools in your van, you could get cover for hire tools and equipment that you buy on hire purchase as well.

Tool insurance policies usually offer cover between £1,000 and £10,000.

Van tool insurance should cover:

  • Carpentry tools
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Electricians tools
  • Decorating equipment and supplies
  • Lawnmowers and gardening equipment
  • Plumbing and drainage tools
  • Pressure washers
  • Steps and ladders
  • Vacuum cleaners
  • Workbenches

Some policies might also cover things such as work laptops, smartphones, sat navs and cameras.


What doesn’t van tool insurance cover?

It’s important you know what isn’t covered under your tool insurance policy.

If you deliberately damage your tools, your policy won’t cover you. If you try to fix them yourself when they go wrong, you might also be invalidating your cover.

Wear and tear isn’t covered by insurance, and neither are faults caused by the manufacturer.

If your tools simply don’t work, get in touch with the manufacturer or the place you bought them from.


Is tool insurance worth it?

If someone steals your tools you’re unlikely to see them again. Tool insurance means replacing them won't cost you thousands.

In 2019, the Metropolitan Police recorded 6,800 cases of work tools being stolen from vehicles

People got their tools back in just 26 cases and not all the tools were in a useable state.

It can be hard to establish who tools belong to. Marking your tools in an obvious way should give you a better chance of proving they’re yours should they be recovered. 

You can back this up by adding your details with a pen with ink that shows up only under UV light.

You could also register details such as serial numbers and photos of your tools with a tool database.


How much tool insurance do I need?

Not all insurance for work tools is the same, so check what’s covered before you insure your tools. Look at the small print.

Is the maximum payout enough? If you lost all your tools at once, would you be able to replace them all under the policy?

Do you want the original amount you paid for the tools back? If so, new-for-old insurance could be what you're looking for. If you don’t go for new-for-old insurance, the insurance company might pay out less according to how old the tools in your toolbox are. 

Does the policy cover you for tools left in the van overnight? You might need this option if you work away or can’t empty the van of tools all the time. And if you have this option, can you fulfil the terms set out in the policy?

Does the policy insure your tools when they’re in your house? Are they already covered by your home insurance?

How much is the excess on the policy? Is the amount you’re expected to pay yourself too high to make the policy worthwhile?

Do you use your van to move goods around as well? If so, you can add tool insurance to your goods in transit insurance.


How do I make a tool insurance claim?

If your tools are stolen, call the police and get a crime number, which you need to give to your insurer when you claim.

If you think there's evidence at the scene that might help the police, try not to touch more than you have to.

Call your insurer’s claim line – they should talk you through the process.

It helps if you have the receipts for your tools. So, even if you’re not registered for VAT, get into the habit of keeping all your receipts in a safe place – and not with your tools.

Serial numbers can help the police return your tools if they’re ever recovered.

Take photographs of any damage done during the theft. Check to see if there is any CCTV in the area, and if there are witnesses try to get their names and addresses.

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.


How can I keep my tools safe?

While the sign on the side of your van is good advertising for you, it also gives potential thieves an idea of what they might find if they break in.

Tools are attractive to thieves, with more than half of roofers, electricians, plumbers and carpenters surveyed saying that they'd had work tools stolen

Keeping your tools safe in your van has 2 aspects: 

  • Preventing would-be thieves from breaking into your van in the first place 
  • Making it harder to find something of value should they manage it.

Our top 9 tool insurance security tips

  • The noisier and more difficult it is for someone to get into your van, the less appealing trying to steal your tools becomes.
  • Vans from different manufacturers have different weak spots. Find out how thieves tend to target your vehicle and take steps to improve the security of your van.
  • If your van has factory fitted deadlocks, be sure to use them. It might be worth considering adding extra van locks as well.
  • Steering wheel locks could be an effective deterrent as could big locks on the outside of the van.
  • If your van has keyless entry, keep fobs in a metal tin or protective wallet, also called a Faraday pouch. This thwarts relay theft where thieves drive off after tricking the vehicle into thinking you and the key fob are nearby.
  • Make sure any alarm covers the cargo area of the van and use a tool safe in the van for any particularly valuable items.
  • Try to park in a well-lit area, with CCTV, close to your home or where you’re working.
  • Make sure the load door and the rear door are hard to access by parking up against a wall or in a garage.
  • Consider fitting a tracker. Thieves may take the van full to unload it elsewhere. You might not be able to reclaim your tools, but you could at least get your van back.