Securing Your Van and Tools - Keeping on Top of Van Security

When your livelihood centres on the tools of your trade, we know how important it is that your work van is always as secure as possible. Whether you work for a small business or you’re a sole trader, keeping your van and its contents safe from criminals is a year-round concern.

2021 research carried out by the Federation of Master Builders1 found that 83% of builders have had tools stolen at some point in their working life, costing them an average of £2500. No matter if you’re new to your trade or you’ve been in the business for years, it’s always worth looking at tried and tested ways to keep your van and tools secure.

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How to improve your van security

Prevention is better than cure, as the saying goes, so let’s look at some of the simple things you can do to improve your van security. One of the biggest challenges facing van owners is that thieves are constantly finding new ways to break in. If your van doesn’t already have a GPS tracker fitted, consider investing in one. It won’t be able to prevent it from being stolen, but it does increase your chances of getting it back if it is taken.

Then there are your van’s locks to think about. If your van doesn’t already have deadlocks, they can be a worthwhile investment if you leave tools in your vehicle overnight. Deadlocks work separately to your van’s central locking system to add another layer of security.

Thieves will often attempt to drill their way around a van’s locks to gain entry, so some owners choose to place steel plates around the locks, just in case. Stoplocks can also be effective at keeping unwanted guests from your van, as they reduce the risk of thieves forcing the doors open with a crowbar.

Securing your van with technology

Now, as thieves become more tech savvy, it’s a good time to turn to technology to secure your van. Installing a dash cam can put off would-be thieves from trying to break in, as it’ll be able to record activity in and outside of the vehicle. Look for a dashcam with the ability to detect movements close to your vehicle when it’s parked up, as these can be a great deterrent.

There are steps you can take to keep your tools secure in your van overnight, but it’s best to take any expensive items into the house with you overnight whenever you can. If you do need to leave a few tools at night, make sure you keep security in mind when parking.  

It’s not always possible to get a parking spot for your van outside your own home, which can make leaving your tools overnight more of a worry. There are also alarms available that will alert you with a phone call or text message if anything suspicious is detected, so you’ll be able to enjoy greater peace of mind when your van’s parked out of sight.

It may sound simple, but when your diary’s full and life’s busy it’s easy to make a mistake that could prove costly. Always take a moment to think about where you park your van – especially if you’re leaving it overnight. If it’s not possible to leave your van on a driveway, choose a parking space in a residential area with plenty of lighting – preferably in sight of neighbouring homes.

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Van security tips

There are some simple habits you can get into that may make life easier if you do experience tool theft. Mark your tools (and even the van itself for that matter) with a UV pen to help police identify the items as yours if they fall into the wrong hands.

    • If you have items with unique serial numbers, note them down in an inventory and keep it at home. This can take the hassle out of proving what belongs to you if the van or its contents are recovered after a theft. 
    • There are also online services available to help you track your tools if they are taken. You can register the details and serial numbers of your tools on to help protect them from thieves, and they’ll work with the local police to help recover them if you do experience a break in. 
    • It’s always important to make sure your tools are protected with the right insurance cover. Take a moment to double check your insurance is still right for your business and tools, and always remember to let us know if things have changed. Having the correct tool insurance can cover you for the cost of replacing them, helping you to get back to business as soon as possible.

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Van insurance from Towergate

We have longstanding relationships with some of the largest companies in the market, including Aviva, AXA, Ageas, LV and NIG, to offer van insurance.

Why not provide your renewal date and our specialist team can help you get a quote at the right time.

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About the author

Alison Wild Bcom Hons MAAT MATT Taxation Technician Commercial Tax Pensions Insurance And Marketing Specialist AuthorAlison Wild BCom (Hons), MAAT, MATT, Taxation Technician is a highly respected industry professional who has been working with and advising SMEs in areas including tax, pensions, insurance and marketing for over 25 years. She is a member of the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) and Association of Tax Technicians (ATT) and also has over 20 years' experience as a residential landlord.