A bad tradie blames his tools, but a tradie without any tools is heading for the dole queue! How many times have you heard of a 40 year old carpenter waking up one morning having completely lost his memory and can’t even remember how to switch on a power saw. Never right? Even after a particularly big night down the pub. OK, how many times have you heard of someone waking up in the morning, walking to their van, finding broken glass all over the front seat only to discover that some low life has taken off with his tools? All the time isn’t it.

Without your tools you’re no more able to work than if you’d forgotten your name and what a ratchet is, yet it’s still one of the biggest reasons stopping tradies from working – even more common than worksite injury. With over 4000 reports of theft of tools being made to New South Wales Police Force in 2007 alone, and the average cost of a claim being over $5000, it’s surprising that every tradie doesn’t sleep with his tool box under the bed just to be on the safe side.

National retailer Total Tools describes theft as one of the most common reasons for immediate purchases at their stores: “The problem is rife. Every day of the week one of us will serve a customer who’s replacing his tools because of burglary, theft on site or willful damage. It’s the same for all our stores. Some of the customers will have insurance cover and some don’t. It’s a pretty desperate situation because not only are you forking out to replace years worth of your tools, you have to do it because it’s also stopping you from earning” says Greg Cairncross of Total Tools in Brooklyn in Victoria.

You’ve got to ask yourself have you got enough space on the credit card to pay 5 grand tomorrow if the worst happened just to get you back to work? As if things weren’t tight enough as it is! Even where tradies do have insurance the average settlement of a claim tends to take 4 weeks so you still often have to wear the costs for some time. Unless of course you have enough mates to help you out with tools for that long then you’re obviously a very good bloke – most don’t!

“We know that tool theft or damage is a very common working hazard for tradies” says George Illiow of Imar Insurance “We do everything possible to have claims settled in 1-2 weeks because we understand that the loss is keeping guys from working or they have to cover the costs themselves. It’s also vital that the tradies’ tools are covered with an insurer who looks for ways to pay claims, as opposed to one that looks for ways to deny them as the difference in these insurers is huge and could impact dramatically on the tradie”

Ways to speed up your claim is to make sure you hold on to the receipts from when you bought them (which would be required for taxation purposes anyway), record serials numbers, photos can also help but are not essential, and a police report is very important where there’s been a theft or malicious damage.

Of course prevention is always better than a cure and there are ways to reduce the chance of your tools getting knocked off in the first place. Imar suggest that your vehicle is alarmed and locked when unattended. Try and keep your vehicle out of harm’s way, so where possible avoid leaving it in a high exposure area e.g. a public car park or parking on street at night. Obviously wherever possible keep more valuable items out of sight.

Also when you’re looking for insurance it’s important to consider if your cover is Australia wide, does it cover your mobile phone, does it include stock; laptops; cameras and your Sat Nav, is it limited to the vehicle only, in the garage or worksite? A lot of policies don’t necessarily include all of this so when choosing a policy it’s best to avoid buying on price alone – a policy may cost a few bucks more, but that’s nothing compared to having to find 5 Gs or more just to get you back on the job.

For more information about protecting your tools and your business contact us on 1800 284 627

Share this post