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The most popular stolen tools and how to protect them

Rhino Trade Insurance 09 January 2023

You may have seen our most recent article, where data has suggested that vans being stolen could double by 2030! We, of course, wouldn't wish this upon anybody. The despair of tradespeople who find their van stolen or broken into must be awful. 

Today, we are diving into more data on what the most likely tools to be stolen are. We also want to share some best practices to ensure you are fully protected and have all your defences in place. 

Rhino Trade Insurance prides itself on offering quality trade cover. Our tool insurance is one of our most popular policies and gives tradespeople added precaution that should they be targeted; they are covered to replace any tools lost. 

The most common stolen items and ways to avoid break-ins. 

According to data shared by the UK government and succinctly shared by our friends over at Toolstation, it's been found that one in ten items stolen from work vans in the UK are tradespeople's tools. The data collected in 2020 shares precise information on the tools stolen and how often each was taken. Let's have a look at some of the top tools:


In 2020, figures suggest that drills were the number one tool to be stolen from hardworking tradesmen and women. It was reported a total of 380 times with an average cost of £132. The total cost of this specific tool totalled over £50,000 worth of stolen drills - a disgraceful amount!

The most common way for criminals to break into a van is simply by the doors being left unlocked. It could save you a lot of trouble if you lock your van and take precautions. It is important to remember that thefts rarely occur overnight or at night. They can occur at any time of day or night, even during the week.

Nail Gun

Another popular item that was targeted included nail guns. A reported 61 were stolen in 2020, all with an average price of £93. This meant tradesmen and women utilising this tool were out of pocket to the tune of £5,600+. 

As a popular route of entry for thieves is through the window, it's worth remembering to keep your tools and other possessions out of sight at all times because criminals will try their luck if they see something they want.

Tool Box

Unsurprisingly, the tradesperson's toolbox is high on the list. It was found that 47 reports of toolbox theft happened in 2020, which equalled a value of just under £1,200. 

If a thief is hellbent on getting into your vehicle, they can (especially if they use up-to-date technology). That's why it could be worth installing this clever gadget that sounds an alarm and alerts you via smartphone or smartwatch when someone touches your door handle.

Hedge Trimmer and Leaf Blower

Sadly for all the gardeners, both of these tools were in the top ten of tools stolen. Perhaps because of their generally high price. Hedge Trimmers were found to be stolen 43 times totalling over £4,000 worth of gear. Leaf Blowers were slightly less, with 25 being taken and equalling £1,650. 

Some steps to avoid stolen tools include parking in a tight space where your doors are against walls or garage doors. You can also dodge any thefts by taking your tools in your unit, garage or home overnight. Add a decal that reads "no tools stored in this van" to discourage them, and consider setting up a CCTV system around your home or van. 

Why Choose Rhino Trade Insurance?

Vehicle break-ins and tool thefts are common among UK tradespeople, so why not consider adding valuable Tool Insurance coverage to your current policy? Rhino offers a variety of routes to protect yourself, and your business and tool cover is one of the more popular ones. 

Tool Insurance by Rhino Trade Insurance covers your tools even if they are stolen, damaged, or lost while "in transit," "in a parked vehicle," or "while loading." It is also covered for overnight storage, provided certain conditions are met.

Our professionals have created policies for almost every industry. If you need insurance sorting as a carpet fitter, glazier or whatever else. Call us at 0116 243 7904 or request a quote online to be covered.

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