• Nearly half of tradespeople (47 per cent) have fallen victim to tool theft
  • Roofers have had their tools stolen the most, with nearly two thirds falling victim to tool theft (65 per cent), followed closely by electricians (58 per cent) and plumbers (55 per cent)
  • A majority said that their tools were stolen overnight (53 per cent)


Nearly half of tradespeople (47 per cent) have fallen victim to tool theft, according to new research by Direct Line - Business. Over half who’ve had equipment stolen said the theft took place at night (53 per cent) – a result of seven in ten (73 per cent) admitting to leaving tools in their vans overnight.

Roofers have had their tools stolen from them the most (65 per cent), with electricians (58 per cent) and plumbers (55 per cent) following closely behind.

Tool Theft League Table

Trade Pecentage who have had tools stolen from them
Roofers 65%
Electricians 58%
Plumbers 55%
Carpenters 54%
Builders 42%
Flooring/tiling/wallpapering technician 33%

Young tradespeople were most likely to have left tools in their vehicle overnight frequently (54 per cent) and fell victim to tool theft most often, with the figure standing at an alarming 68 per cent for 18-34-year-olds.

Tool theft has had a devastating financial impact on tradespeople. Almost a third (30 per cent) said that it took at least a week to replace their essential tools, meaning they missed out on important jobs and were hit hard financially.

Despite the threat, only a quarter of tradespeople (27 per cent) have a specific insurance policy which protects their tools kept in their vehicle overnight. Concerningly, just under a fifth (18 per cent) of tradespeople who’ve had their tools stolen in the past still don’t have insurance to cover their tools overnight in a vehicle, nor plan on investing in any in the future.

Jonny McHugh, SME Business Manager at Direct Line, said: “Tool theft is an ongoing problem for tradespeople up and down the country – with a majority of roofers, electricians, plumbers and carpenters having had their tools stolen. With so many leaving their equipment in their vans at the end of a busy day, overnight theft from vehicles is a particular threat.

 “At Direct Line, we know the impact of tool theft can be devastating, and we’re committed to giving tradespeople the protection they need to enable them to do what they do best. We offer a range of flexible insurance cover options allowing tradespeople to build a policy which covers their specific insurance needs, whether that’s cover for during the day at work or tools locked in a van overnight.

Furthermore, with our new Tools Essentials offering we’ll help tradespeople get back to work quickly by helping them to replace their essential tools within 24 hours, with an upfront faster payment of up to £1,500, subject to a few checks. Tools Essentials is available to all customers who have a valid tools claim and policy with Direct Line – Business. Claims can be reported between 8am-6pm, Monday to Friday, except Bank Holidays, policy limits and exclusions apply.

For more information on Tools Essentials please visit: https://www.directlineforbusiness.co.uk/public-liability-insurance/insurance-for-tools

For tips on how to keep your van and tools safe please see: https://www.directlineforbusiness.co.uk/van-insurance/knowledge-centre/your-van-and-your-business/what-van-security-improvements-can-i-make


(1)   Opinium survey of 500 UK tradespeople, conducted 3rd-7th August 2020

For further information please contact:

Direct Line Group
Unni Henry
Senior PR Consultant
Email: [email protected]

About Direct Line – Business

Launched in 2007 Direct Line - Business now has over half a million customer policies, providing a flexible range of insurance products for the landlord, van and small business sectors.

Direct Line insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line - Business and U K Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Direct Line’s business products or get a quote by calling 0345 301 4827 or visiting https://www.directlineforbusiness.co.uk