Trade Risk has looked after the business insurance needs of over 8,000 tradies since 2010, so we have quite a lot of data on claims.

We’ve helped tradies with claims for stolen tools, tradies who’ve caused damage to the property of third parties, and even tradies who’ve caused injuries to other people.

With all this data we thought it would be good to visualise it, so that trade business owners could really see what types of insurance they are most likely to claim on, and why they might claim.

What types of insurance do tradies claim on?

The first thing we looked at is what types of business insurance tradies are claiming on.

Claim stats for public liability insurance

We found that claims for tool insurance were the most common amongst our tradies clients, with around 45% of all claims being for tools.

What makes this interesting is that nowhere near 45% of our clients hold tool insurance with us, meaning that tool insurance is overrepresented when it comes to claims.

Coming in a close second were claims on public liability insurance.  Just over 41% of our claims were on public liability, which means they likely involved property damage or personal injury to a third party.

Car insurance rated third at just 7%, which isn’t too surprising as we find that many of our clients insure their vehicles directly with the insurers rather than using us.

The remaining 9% of claims fell into the ‘other’ category.  Many of these were for client’s own premises.

Please note that these figures do not include income protection insurance.  This is because we’ve only been recording claims data for income protection for around a year, so the figures just aren’t comparable with our overall figures which cover over seven years.

Tool insurance claims

For tool insurance we broke down the numbers to see exactly why tradies are claiming on their tool cover.

We found that 94% of all tool insurance claims where for stolen tools, with the remaining 6% coming from damaged tools.

Claims for damaged tools generally relates to damage caused by fire or damage caused in a vehicle collision or rollover.  There may be a miniscule number of claims for accidental damage, but very few of our clients choose this option.

Of the claims for stolen tools, all of them technically fall into the ‘forced entry’ category as most policies we use only cover tools for theft following forced entry.

Where we had detailed data we were able to break it down further, but where we had limited data we had to group them into the ‘forced entry’ category.

Chart showing how tradies tools are stolen

The generic forced entry category was the highest at 48% of claims.  Where we had more specific data, cut padlocks rated highest at 20%, closely followed by smashed windows at 16%.

Vehicle theft was fourth at 11%.  This category means that the entire vehicle was stolen, along with the tools inside it.

The remaining 4% fell into the ‘other’ category which was a mixed bag, and nothing statistically relevant given the tiny numbers.

In terms of dollars, our data showed that the average claim for stolen tools was just over $4,000.

There were plenty of much larger claims in the tens of thousands, and plenty of smaller ones too, but that’s the average over the years.

That compares to the average claim for public liability insurance which was just over $6,000.


What can we read into all of this?  A few things…

You’re more likely to claim on tool insurance than anything else

First up, we can confidently say that a trade business owner is far more likely to claim for stolen tools than any other incident.

Although tools claims were only marginally higher than public liability claims (45% v 41%), close to 100% of our clients hold public liability with a far smaller percentage holding tool insurance.

Thieves will access your tools however they can

Running through the data for stolen tools we can see that thieves will do whatever they have to in order to access your tools.

They’ll cut your locks, they’ll smash your windows and they’ll lever open your doors and toolboxes.  Failing that, they’ll just steal your entire vehicle or trailer!

Stolen tradies ute

Thieves aren’t just going after the easy opportunities to take unsecured tools.  They are happy to smash and break things and don’t appear worried about the noise they’ll make.

Speaking of tool theft, make sure you check out our guide on protecting your tools.

Insurance really is worthwhile for a tradie!

Our final conclusion is the simple fact that business insurance is absolutely worthwhile for a tradie.

Going through hundreds of claims shows us that our clients are benefiting from their trade insurance by being able to claim for genuine incidents.

In one instance we had a claim for over $95,000 on a policy which cost our client under $500 a year.  On that basis, they could keep paying premiums for almost 200 years and would still be ahead!

Of course that’s an extreme example and doesn’t take into account 200 years’ worth of inflation, but you get the point.

If you’d like to chat with us about protecting your business with good quality trade insurance that you can actually claim on, please get in touch with us.

Trade Insurance Claims