Protecting the tools of your trade

The right tools are essential to the day-to-day work of tradespeople. They're central to what you do.

Losing or damaging your tools can seem like a disaster. But with the right insurance policy you can quickly get back up and running with replacement tools.

There's so many different tools insurance policies out there, but it's not always obvious which is appropriate for your business and the type of tool you may be using.

Here are a few key things you can look out for.

Cost versus cover

The balance between making sure you have enough protection and avoiding paying too much for your cover can be a difficult one to strike.

As a sole trader, you’ll want to manage your costs. While insurance might seem like an unnecessary cost, buying the right insurance cover, rather than the cheapest, is worth thinking carefully about. Cheap insurance, or even no insurance, might prove to be a false economy in the long-run.

Carefully consider which of your tools and equipment are essential to your business, then look at what you need to cover and what you don't.

Extent of coverage

While much of your work may be close to home, or commutable, there might also be opportunities outside your local area that you're keen to pursue.

Working outside of the UK in Europe could both boost your business and be a great experience, but you also need to consider the insurance implications. Are your tools protected in Europe under the terms of your policy?

Theft from vehicles

Most trades will have a range of tools that are required on site, whether this is at a customers’ home or on a construction site. While you’re working, you may not unload all of your tools – just the ones you’re using that day, leaving the rest in your vehicle while you work.

As a result, you need to be confident that your tools are insured in your vehicle, while you’re travelling and while you’re on site.

When selecting a policy, look to see whether your tools are insured while they’re in your vehicle, whether this is 24/7, and whether you’re covered if the vehicle is unattended. In any case, all insurers will require you to take adequate security measures to deter theft.

Reputation, reputation...

It's only natural to turn to an established company when looking for tools insurance. Some insurers sell directly, while some only sell through brokers. Checking who the insurer providing the policy is key, as it’s the insurer who will, or won’t, pay any claims.

Dig a bit deeper to investigate the different options, read some reviews of the policies the insurers offer, and think about what's right for you and your business.

New for old?

With 'new for old' cover, the insurer provides you with the current equivalent of the stolen or damaged tool(s). It’s worth noting this isn’t designed to leave you in a better position than you were in before the theft or damage.

It's not a standard element of all tools insurance policies though, so check to see what level of coverage each policy provides.


In a separate article, we looked at Excesses that can be applied to tools insurance policies. Excesses can help you pay less for your policy, but can also reduce the amount that is paid to you in the event of a valid claim being paid. Look out for both Voluntary and Compulsory Excesses.

You can get more information on the tools insurance policy available at ToolsInsuranceOnline.

Full details of our Terms & Conditions, Limits, Excesses and Policy Exclusions can be found in our Policy Wording. ToolsInsuranceOnline do not offer advice relating to insurance, and you need to ensure that personal tools insurance you choose meets your demands and needs.