The unaffordable reality of tool theft


About once a month we head down to our local Bunnings to talk insurance with tradies.

Sure it’s hard not to get distracted by the sausage sizzle. It’s also hard not to notice how important tools are to each and every business owner that passes through the door.


From spray guns to ladders, drills to sanders, the average tradie is carrying around thousands of dollars-worth of equipment in the back of their utes.


The combination of the growth in cordless equipment combined with better access to secured tool boxes has seen an increase in what tradies can confidently transport between jobs.


Indeed, across Australia the hardware and building supplies industry is now worth more than $20 billion annually with online sales of tools and hardware growing at close to 5% pa.



Not only are tool sales big business, so too is tool theft.


Just last month a Brisbane tradie had more than $50k worth of tools allegedly stolen from a work site. What stood out from this story, apart from the devastating loss of equipment, was the fact the tradie said he couldn’t work for days.


Similar stories are rarely far from the news including an alleged $7k theft of power tools from tradies working on a boat ramp at Victoria Point or the Rockhampton apprentice who recently suffered a $3k loss from his secured tool box.


Only this week, in South Australia, police uncovered a cache of what amounted to a ‘large stockpile’ of allegedly stolen tools, compressors and even generators.


Sadly, cases of tool theft are too often a cautionary tale of over-confidence; “it won’t happen to me because it’s all under lock and key”. The reality is, simply leaving your own driveway increases the risk of being targeted. If the above examples teach us anything, it’s that thieves are brazen, opportunistic and rarely put off by the size of the equipment or the methods used to secure it.


The question for tradies then becomes: are you covered if your tools get stolen?


One of the biggest mistakes people make is assuming their household contents insurance will take care of things. Contents insurance generally excludes or puts tight claim limits on business equipment and trade tools. Moreover, you’re highly unlikely to be covered when tools are away from the house.


What could be more devastating following a theft than discovering your insurance won’t cover the loss. This reality for some tradies could put them out of business.


Even while you’re waiting for a claim to be processed you could be days out of work, not getting paid, still having to cover overheads and missing out on potential new jobs.


When thieves strike, the cost to your business can mount up quickly, particularly when you don’t have confidence in your insurance policy.


So what’s the secret to avoiding these additional costs? Having absolute confidence in your cover.


If you’re a tradie it’s most likely you’ll need a form of Tools and Portable Property Cover. The good news is with this form of insurance you’re also covered for accidental damage as well as theft.


Our business tools are precious but sometimes there’s little we can do to prevent them being stolen or damaged. Why take the risk?


Having the right insurance policy in place for your business matters because without it you risk being unable to work.


Talk to us about getting the right cover for your tools today.