17 July 2019

Clamping down: How to keep your tools safe

By Aston Lark

‘A good workman never blames his tools.’

We’d agree with this statement absolutely and yet we still find ourselves standing in workshops trying to work out how a few thousand pounds of declared cover could replace the tools of half a dozen mechanics.

Tools are arguably among the most important equipment in any workshop; they are used daily and without them your business would struggle. Insuring them is almost ridiculously simple and in isolation the premium to do so isn’t very expensive.

Tools, however, are easy targets for thieves because they are portable, impossible to trace once stolen and easy to sell on.

Here are some helpful tips to assist you in both making sure that you have enough cover, safeguarding your tools as far as sensible and, in the event of a claim, making sure that the claim is settled quickly, fairly and with minimal disruption to your business.

Don’t worry! It isn’t a list of conditions, just (we hope) helpful tips.

  • Your policy may refer to “portable hand tools” – this will include electric tools such as drills, grinders and the like so make sure you’ve included these within your inventory.
  • You can secure tool boxes to your building to make their removal harder. Use a heavy duty chain and padlock and choose a solid wall or steel beam for maximum effectiveness.
  • Lock the toolbox – this may sound too simple but anything which will slow down an intruder will help.
  • Use vehicles to block portable tool boxes, making removal difficult.
  • Keep invoices – again, this may sound too easy but we’ve found that a lot of people either don’t keep them or aren’t given a receipt. It’s the basic “proof of ownership” which will assist with prompt settlement of your claim.
  • Take photos – we live in an age where it’s not just teenagers who take photos of their dinner so a simple tip is to get your staff to photograph their tool box and each drawer within it. The photos can then be easily uploaded and kept safely should they ever be needed.
  • Remember that the cover includes the boxes too – not just the contents!
  • Use your regular tool sales representative to help you calculate a replacement value. In many cases, it will this person who will be replacing the tools if they’re stolen and they will be best placed to update you about current replacement values.
  • Record details of any specialist tools and use the above points similarly to make sure that you can identify them, prove their existence and show a value to replace.
  • Cover is on a “new for old” basis so factor this into your calculations – what a spanner cost 10 years ago is likely to have increased!

We’re often told “they’re the mechanics’ own tools”. This doesn’t present a problem. The chances are that, if they’re kept at your workshop all the time, your employee won’t be able to insure them and may look to you to insure them. Additionally our experience tells us that it’s very hard to insure expensive automotive tools elsewhere – and no, they’re not likely to be classed as “household goods” – especially a £20,000 box and contents….

You can choose to specifically cover tools owned only by you or your business but we would add a word of caution. Imagine that you do suffer a burglary and most of the tools are taken. If your employees’ tools aren’t insured at all, then how will they be replaced and what would the impact be on your staff and business if they can’t afford to buy new ones?

We know how important your tools are to your business and we hope that these tips will help you safeguard them. We understand your business, the cost of equipping your business and the impact of losing vital equipment which can’t be replaced immediately.

Call the Aston Lark Classic Motor Trade team on 01252 377 546 for more information.

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