Tools, utes and thieves

Tool theft is a big problem for tradies and construction workers, and it’s not going away any time soon. Incidents of tool theft occur all over Australia, with power tools being swiped from backs of utes, inside cars, and even from construction sites themselves.

Even tradies take out appropriate safety measures, things can go wrong in the course of their work and affect both themselves and third parties or employees.

Last Christmas, more than $400,000 worth of tools were stolen from a locked trailer-box inside the boundary of a Melbourne work-site.i Unfortunately, most of the tools were not insured, and the owner found himself thousands of dollars out of pocket.

This theft was far from an isolated incident, police recovering more than 500 stolen tools in a single raid in Victoriaii, and over $80k of power tools from a property in North West NSW.iii Most of these tools were stolen from motor vehicles such as utes, parked in various locations across the state.

Theft from a motor vehicle is the most commonly reported crime in Victoria, with almost 70,000 cases in 2016 – up 26% from the 2015 figure.iv Most possessions are stolen in residential areas, with tradies frequently reporting tools going missing from outside their houses. Residential building sites are also frequently affected by theft, with NSW police warning of the importance of securely storing your equipment and materials.v

Among the most common work injuries in Australia are strains and sprains, fractures and open wounds. Source II.

Replacing tools can cost thousands of dollars, but cost isn’t the only downside of stolen equipment. Securing replacement tools costs time, and without the gear to get the job done customers’ projects become delayed. The inevitable result: money coming into the business is impacted.

Implementing simple security measures can help reduce the likelihood of theft, but won’t eliminate the risk entirely. Once you are storing your tools securely, you can gain a second level of protection by covering your tools with the right insurance.

Allianz offers a range of small business insurance for tradies. You can choose covers including General Property to help protect your tools and equipment if they are stolen from a locked portion of a vehicle or building, and Public and Products Liability that can help protect your business in the event that your business is held liable by a third party.

If your tools are stolen, then you can still take steps to try and recover your property. In NSW, you can contact the Police Assistance Line, and in Victoria you can contact Crime Stoppers. You can report an incident which will be forwarded to your local police. In QLD, you can report non-urgent incidents to Policelink, either over the phone or online. For those in other regions, look for the non-emergency police number for your area.

You can also list your stolen tools on the websites such as stolenproperty.com.au. These listing can be viewed by other members and the general public, who may be able to help.vi

Allianz Small Business Insurance is issued by Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFSL 234708. We do not provide advice on this insurance based on any consideration of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Policy terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply. Before making a decision please consider our product disclosure statement. Also view the PDS update (privacy notice).

i 9 News, 2017, Christmas in Peril After Thieves Steal $400,000 of Tradie’s Tools

ii ABC News, 2016, Victorian Police Alerts Melbourne Tradies after Man Arrested with 500 Stolen Tools

iii Daily Telegraph, 2017, Police Recover an Estimated $80,000 Worth of Power Tools Following Search Warrant at Sadleir Property

ivThe Age, 2017, Theft from a Motor Vehicle is the Most Commonly Reported Crime in Victoria,

vNSW Police, Preventing Building Site Theft, viewed 14 February 2018,

viStolenproperty.com.au, How it works, viewed 14 February 2018,