Waking up in the morning to find someone has ripped off your gear has to be one of the worst feelings for a tradie.

Some guys are lucky and only have a couple of items taken by an opportunistic thief.  Others are not so lucky and are cleaned out of $20k or more worth of gear.

Tradies ute

If you don’t have insurance, that’s a lot of dough straight down the drain.

If you do have tool insurance, that’s brilliant, but now you need to start working on your claim.

A tool insurance claim will be as easy or difficult as you make it.  If you are fully prepared the claim can be settled within a matter of days.  If you’re not, it can take a lot longer.

In this guide we’ll run through what you need to be doing right now, and what to do in the unfortunate case that you do have your tools stolen.

Knowing your insurance

The first step is to know how your tools are insured, as this is going to be very important when it comes time to claim.

Virtually every tool insurance policy out there (including those offered by Trade Risk) will only cover the tools for theft if there is evidence of forced or violent entry.

So if you ever want to make a claim, make sure your tools are locked up!  If someone can take your gear without having to break something, your claim is unlikely to be successful.

It doesn’t really matter what has to be broken.  It could be the locks or windows on your van, the padlocks on your toolboxes secured to the back of your ute or whatever else is securing your gear.

Most tool insurance policies will also stipulate that any items above a certain value must be specified on your policy.

Typically this amount is $2,500.  If you have anything with a replacement value higher than this, then you need to let the insurer or your broker know.

It won’t change the overall cost of your insurance, it just means that the item has been specified on your policy.

Keeping records of your gear

When you do make a claim, the insurance company is going to need a list of everything that has been taken, along with evidence that you owned the item.

Stolen Tools

This is important to know, because it means you need to keep records and evidence of each item if you ever want to claim for it.

What constitutes evidence?  Receipts are the best option, but the insurers are flexible and will work with you.  Other forms of evidence could include user manuals or packaging from the gear.

Ultimately the person assessing your claim just needs to be confident that you owned what you’re claiming for, and unfortunately they can’t just take your word for it.

We recommend keeping records of every tool and piece of equipment you have.  Make, model and serial number if applicable.

You’re probably keeping copies of the receipts for tax purposes (and if not you should be!) so just make sure these are available if and when you need to make a tool insurance claim.

Claim time

So you’ve done everything right so far.  Your tools are kept locked up and you have records and receipts for all of them.  And of course they are insured.

Now your tools get stolen.

The very first step is to report the theft to the police and get a police report number.

It doesn’t matter if the stolen tools are worth $500 or $50,000.  A theft is a theft and needs to be reported to police if you want to make a claim.

Once your police report has been made you need to contact your insurance company or broker to lodge your claim.

You don’t need to have all of your records and receipts available at this stage, but the sooner you can get them, the sooner your claim can progress.

The insurer will also require quotes for all of the items you are replacing.  A quick way to do this is to take a list to your preferred tool shop and ask them to do a quote for you.

Replacement quotes can even come in the form of copies of brochures or website pricelists.  The main thing is that the insurer can see the replacement cost for each item you are claiming.

Tradesman trailer

This can seem like a pain if you have a lot of items to replace, but it’s the only way the insurer is going to be able to confirm the amount they should be paying you.

Once you’ve provided your police report details, evidence of ownership and replacement quotes, the rest of the claim process should be very straightforward.

If you’re very efficient with providing all of the correct paperwork, you claim could be settled within days.  If you’re not, it could take weeks.

It’s important to remember that the insurers have strict guidelines when it comes to claims.

There is no point wasting time arguing about whether you should have to provide something.  If they ask for something, you need to get it if you want your claim paid.

With that being said, as your broker we act for you rather than the insurer.  If we think they are being unreasonable we will argue on your behalf!

Why do I have to provide so much information?

Before we finish up this guide there is one final question worth answering for everyone’s benefit.

We sometimes get asked the following:

“If I’m paying for insurance for $10k worth of tools, why don’t you just pay me $10k?  Why do I need to provide all this other paperwork?”

Fair question?  Maybe, but the answer is pretty simple.

Tool insurance is cheap.

When you insure something that is so easily stolen and so difficult to trace, it’s a big risk for the insurer.  Especially considering how many tradies get cleaned out every single day.

Covering ten grand worth of high risk items for a few hundred dollars means the insurers have to be vigilant when paying claims.  They need to ensure that every single claim is 100% legitimate.

Think about it this way.  If you insured your car and then reported it as stolen, do you think the insurer would want to see evidence that you owned the car before they wrote you a big cheque?

Of course they would.

This is pretty easy for vehicles thanks to registration.  It’s not as easy for tools, but it’s certainly not impossible with some decent record keeping.


So to recap, here’s what you need to do to make sure your tool insurance claim is as quick and easy as possible:

  • Know what your tools are covered for, and secure them appropriately.
  • Keep records of each item. Receipts are by far the best option.
  • Report any theft to police ASAP.
  • Lodge a claim ASAP and provide the insurer with everything they ask for.

And last but not least – cooperate!

The insurers and your broker deal with tool claims every day.  You might deal with one or two in your lifetime.  Arguing about the process will generally just result in delays.

Follow the steps in this guide and you should have your tools replaced within a week or two.

Sure it’s not perfect, but it’s an awful lot better than having to replace everything out of your own pocket.