contractor equipment and tool theft


Safeguard Your Tools and Equipment

What You Should Know About On-Site Tool Theft and Loss So You Can Guard Against It

What would a major loss in stolen tools and equipment mean for your business? Sometimes it can add up to tens of thousands, if not much more. The average estimated cost of a stolen piece of equipment is around $46,000.

Even when smaller tooling is lost or stolen, you may not directly suffer monetarily, but you’re left high and dry at a job site, unable to complete projects and compensate for the every day expenses of your business. This isn’t just an inconvenience—it can be crippling to your ability to complete projects and receive compensation in time to pay your bills.

But how common is tool theft on a job site? Is your business at high-risk for loss? And, how much insurance do you need to properly protect your company’s assets?

Read on to learn how susceptible you are to tool theft, how to keep your contracting tools and equipment from being stolen and what kinds of insurance are best suited for these losses, should they occur.

How Common is Contractor Tool Theft?

According to the latest NCIB Equipment Theft report, 11,625 equipment theft reports were submitted to the National Crime Information Center in 2014, with the key factors that determine theft susceptibility for tooling and equipment being value and mobility.

Thieves are more likely to steal equipment that is expensive and relatively easy to transport.

Compared to other construction site risks, such as vandalism, fire damage and collision, theft accounts for the highest number of losses. The number of incidents rises as peak construction season ramps up, increasing from February to July, and then slowly falling in January, for an annual equipment theft cost estimated between $300 million to $1 billion. What’s more, the recovery rate of equipment was only 23 percent in 2014.

Chart showing the number of equipment recoveries per month in 2014

Source: 2014 Theft Report

Read the full report: 2014 Theft Report

Which Scenarios Put My Company at Risk?

With such a low rate of recovery, risk for equipment thieves is also low. Keep your equipment and tools safe by understanding the risks you currently take on-site. You are at risk of a theft if:

  • Your mobile equipment is not secured.
  • Your portable tools are not locked up.
  • Your job site is not protected by a locked gate or other enclosure.
  • You have not properly trained your employees and contractors on your risk managementprocesses.
  • You have not registered your equipment with the National Equipment Register.

If a burglary or robbery does occur, you may not be able to prove your loss if you do not keep a thorough, updated registry of your equipment, including:

  • Item description.
  • Serial number.
  • Date of purchase.
  • Purchase price.

These are just a few indications that you may be at risk for theft or loss. For a full checklist of job site security, explore our other tool theft resources linked below, complete with a downloadable job site inventory checklist.

What if a Theft Occurs?

With such a low rate of recovery, you need to make sure your equipment and tooling is covered. Protect yourself against monetary loss with the right insurance coverage. Consider the following.

  • Property insurance, which may cover company equipment and tools owned by your business in cases of loss or damage. It also covers income lost as a result of damage to your business or the inability to conduct business due to a loss elsewhere.
  • Builders’ risk or installation floater insurance can also protect your equipment if you are aiding in a construction or renovation project. Generally, builders’ risk coverage is intended to cover either a single building or structure, or multiple buildings or structures, during construction, rehabilitation, or repair. Installation floater coverage is suitable for most contractors engaged in low-to-moderate hazard installation activities, such as plumbing, electrical, heating, cooling and air conditioning.
  • Contractors insurance covers the cost of lost or damaged tools and equipment for your contract workers, among other things.

Keep your equipment and your company’s bottom line safe with the right coverage. There’s no guarantee your assets are completely secure, and with an average piece of stolen piece of equipment around $46,000, theft could be a major hit to your organization.