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Tool insurance

Get cover for your tools so accidental damage, loss or theft doesn't stop you from working
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Last updated
January 11th, 2024

What is tool insurance?

Tradesman tool insurance is there to cover the cost of replacing your essential work gear following theft, damage or loss.

With it in place you can quickly replace losses, so you can get back to work fast, because the insurer is picking up the tab.

This cover is frequently included as part of a builders' insurance package. But you can also buy it as a stand-alone policy if you’d prefer or if the level of cover included in the package is lacking.

Tools typically covered include:

  • Handheld tools (brushes, saws, pliers, hammers, wrenches)

  • Power tools (drills, grinders, nail guns, sanders, pressure washers) 

  • Plant equipment (rollers, lawnmowers, diggers, dumper trucks)

Portable tool insurance costs from[1]
£3.01a month

Why is tool insurance important? 

A bad tradesman may blame his tools, but without them even a good worker can’t do their job. Just one lawnmower or pneumatic drill swiped from a lock-up or even on site can leave a small business in trouble.

Recent findings reveal that tool theft is big business. According to the Metropolitan Police, incidents have rocketed by 62%. Almost 35,000 tools were stolen in London alone between January 2021 and October 2022 compared to the 21,500 stolen between January 2019 and December 2020. 

Tool insurance can’t prevent crime, but it can at least ensure your losses will be kept to a minimum.

Tools stolen in London over two years[2]
35,000

What's covered by tool insurance

When you're covered

Theft from a secure location
Accidental damage
Loss

What's not covered

Injury to yourself or third parties
Wear and tear
Deliberate damage

How tool insurance works

As either a standalone policy or as part of a wider business insurance package, tool insurance works to protect your tools up to a pre-arranged limit. 

You choose what level to set this at, so make sure you know the value of what you want covered. If it would cost you £3,000 to replace your essential work kit, you should take out at least £3,000 of cover.

Aside from the level of cover, you need to make sure you know where and when you're protected. For example, not all tool insurance covers tools left in a van overnight or while they're in transit.

How much does tool insurance cost?
FactorsScenario 1Scenario 2Scenario 3
Number of Employees131
Turnover£100,000£250,000£100,000
Cover Limit£1,000£2,500£5,000
Monthly Cost£3.29£6.10£18.85

10% of tradespeople paid £3.01 a month or less for their standalone portable hand tools cover between April and June 2023.

These are real quotes given to Superscript customers for standalone tools insurance. 

Each business presents its own set of risks and a unique profile, making insurance premiums highly variable. Use these figures as a guide only — you may receive quotes that are significantly higher or lower.

How to claim on tool insurance

Tell your insurer

They'll ask for details like the crime reference number (if applicable), the date of loss, type of claim and what's been taken. Supporting documents such as proof of loss or proof of purchase should be passed on if possible.

Your claim is assessed

For large claims you might need to add in more information along the way, but with smaller claims, the matter should be resolved fairly quickly.

You get a decision

Your insurer will let you know if your claim’s been successful, and when you’ll get a payout.

Tips to help keep your tools safer

Lock them up when not in use

Keep your tools inside overnight if possible. If you need to leave them in a van, make sure it's alarmed and your tools are out of sight when you're away from it. Make sure plant equipment, such as rollers and dumpers are fully secured with anti-theft devices.

Put security marks on your tools

Put your business address and phone number on your tools, or use indelible or invisible/UV ink. This increases the chance of you getting them back.

Register them

Register the serial numbers of your power tools with an online database like DataTag.

Add in extra security

Security systems like smart CCTV cameras can let you keep an eye on your premises and tools from your phone. Movement-activated security lighting can also prove an effective deterrent.

Tips to help keep your tools safer

Lock them up when not in use

Keep your tools inside overnight if possible. If you need to leave them in a van, make sure it's alarmed and your tools are out of sight when you're away from it. Make sure plant equipment, such as rollers and dumpers are fully secured with anti-theft devices.

Put security marks on your tools

Put your business address and phone number on your tools, or use indelible or invisible/UV ink. This increases the chance of you getting them back.

Register them

Register the serial numbers of your power tools with an online database like DataTag.

Add in extra security

Security systems like smart CCTV cameras can let you keep an eye on your premises and tools from your phone. Movement-activated security lighting can also prove an effective deterrent.

Learn more about our business insurance partner

Superscript Logo Full 2x

We qualify, quantify and offer insurance using data, analysis and technology, and we serve a wide range of business types — from dog walkers and dieticians, to landlords and locksmiths. Enro Ltd t/a Superscript is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Why Superscript?

We make it quick and easy to find, buy and manage your business insurance.

benefit tile 0
Customisable cover for 1000s of business types
Superscript will help you find the different types of cover that are right for your business.
benefit tile 1
Adjust your cover as you grow
Amend your cover with no admin fees, to address your evolving needs as your business grows.
benefit tile 2
Simple claims process
Our customer portal allows you to enter the details we need to get your claim processed.

Tool insurance FAQs

Do I need to keep all my receipts?

Although having receipts - and tool serial numbers - to hand can speed up a claim, insurers know this isn’t always possible. For this reason, other proof of purchase, such as bank statements or trade account records you hold, should suffice.

Are my tools covered in a van?

Some policies will protect tools left in unattended vehicles, others won’t, so check the T&Cs when you take out cover. 

Getting your tools covered for overnight van storage generally costs a bit more, and the van needs to be securely locked.

Are my tools covered by home insurance?

You need to check this with your home insurance provider. Most home insurance policies won’t cover tools for commercial use as standard, but there might be an option to add this benefit to your cover.

What is tools in transit insurance?

Tools in transit insurance covers your tools while they’re driven around or being loaded and unloaded from a vehicle.

There’s also specialist van tools insurance available to cover you if your tools are lost, stolen, or damaged while in transit.

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About the author

James Andrews
James has spent the past 15 years writing and editing personal finance news, specialising in consumer rights, pensions, insurance, property and investments

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References

1. Superscript 10% of tradespeople paid £3.01 a month or less for their standalone portable hand tool cover between April and June 2023.
2. Tool theft Metropolitan Police figures January 2021 – October 2022

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