Despite the grim statistics on tool thefts, not to mention the terrible effect it has on livelihoods, there is a way to protect your business, says Duncan Jackson, co-founder of ARMD.
Seemingly every week the latest grim statistics on the scale of tool theft across the UK are released. Thieves are becoming more brazen and can be in and out of a van in minutes. Thefts are happening in broad daylight, with thieves drilling the locks on van doors or cutting and ‘peeling’ back the side or sometimes even the roof of a van to access the load bay. For now at least, tool theft is a problem that is not going away and the trade needs an answer, a practical and easily accessible way to protect their businesses.
Amongst all the shocking statistics, perhaps one of the most worrying is that only around half of all tradespeople have adequate insurance to cover them if they suffer a tool loss. This lack of insurance stems from many reasons, such as perceived cost, ease of accessibility and understanding the claims process, but good insurance is crucial for tradespeople to protect their businesses against theft.
Tool insurance is often viewed by some general insurance companies merely as a bolt on when selling the trade Public Liability insurance, but it could actually be the difference between getting back on the tools quickly. A key element of any protection for the trade is dedicated tool insurance that allows 24/7 ‘in transit’ cover. Some tradespeople have been unable to claim after a theft because they were unaware their policy did not cover tools left in the van overnight which is sadly when the theft occurred. Some tradespeople who make an insurance claim also get caught out as they did not realise that the value of their tools depreciate over time.
Another pain point is the speed of claim processing. If you have not recorded your tool anywhere (with a proof of purchase, for instance), then it can be difficult for an insurance company to process it, which means other installation jobs may be lost as you wait for the result. You also need to consider security products for your van, as some alarms may not go off, especially as the sides of vans are often peeled away by thieves to access the interior.
Change has been needed for a long time, and the ARMD platform has been designed and developed with the trade to address these barriers and make protecting your business easier and more accessible. Our CEO, Devin Chawda’s, last company was a smart home security business. We were continually asked by installers if they could use our technology in their vans because their tools kept getting stolen. From this, an idea was born and consequently the ARMD App and website were developed.
The platform allows you to quickly and simply claim digitally through an easy-to-use App and website if you have recorded them in the tool inventory – which is free to use. Essentially there are just four steps;
- Record the tools you own, how much they are worth and any receipts of purchase. This will make it so much easier to claim if a theft occurs
- Protect yourself with van security products, such as van vaults
- Insure yourself with a dedicated tools policy and that will enable you to replace what you have lost. You can insure your tools for as little as £56 a year
- Replace your tools quickly thanks to a quick insurance payout and get back to work
Tradesman Andy Jordan, who works mainly for the Dante Group, has been in the trade for 13 years. Although he had never been a victim of theft before, he knew the trade were in essence ‘sitting ducks’. He recorded his tools on the App and got insured. Shortly afterwards, on a Thursday afternoon, thieves struck and broke into his van, taking his tools. His insurance claim with ARMD was turned around in less than 72 hours and he was back to work with new tools within days. We were really proud to have helped Andy get back to work so quickly and it shows that tool theft, unpleasant though it may be, does not have to be the end of the line.