Nearly four in 10 tradespeople use social media to help combat tool theft

  • More than a third (37 per cent) of tradespeople use social media platforms to help combat tool theft
  • The same proportion (37 per cent) question whether the price “feels right” or is suspiciously low when they are buying tools second-hand
  • Over a quarter (27 per cent) are leaving their tools in their van regularly, putting them at risk of theft
  • Nearly four in 10 of those who leave tools in their van overnight do not have any insurance to cover them in the event of theft

Nearly four in 10 tradespeople (37 per cent) are using social media platforms to combat tool theft, according to new research from Direct Line business insurance.1 They are using these online channels to warn each other about suspicious sellers, as well as educate themselves on criminal and suspicious activity in their area.

The research also revealed that only a small number of tradespeople are taking additional steps to help minimise the effects of tool theft, such as keeping their insurance up to date and engraving or marking their tools to make it harder to resell them and make it easier to recognise the owner if the items are recovered. This suggests that many could do more to reduce the risk of loss or theft.

Actions to minimise the effects of tool theft – Direct Line business insurance, 2022


Percentage of tradespeople who said they had done it

Keeping insurance up to date

25 per cent

Engraving the tools or using invisible ink to mark them with their details

23 per cent

Keeping up-to-date information about tools, including photographs, serial numbers and identifying marks

22 per cent

Always bringing tools indoors in a securely locked building

19 per cent

Using tracking devices/tags

18 per cent

Registered the most expensive tools on the National Property Register

16 per cent

The same applies to securing vans. Only small numbers of tradespeople have taken additional steps to protect their vehicles, such as fitting steering wheel locks (27 per cent) and installing a CCTV or alarm system (24 per cent).

Actions tradespeople take to secure their vans – Direct Line business insurance, 2022


Percentage of tradespeople who said they had done it

Fitting a steering wheel lock

27 per cent

Installing CCTV or alarm system

24 per cent

Storing tools in a secure locker safely within the van

21 per cent

Thinking carefully about where they park

21 per cent

Putting warning stickers on the van in clear view

20 per cent

Adding deadlock bolts to doors

20 per cent

Using security chains on tools

18 per cent

Installing a tracker on the van

18 per cent

Tradespeople also leave their tools in their vehicles regularly. 27 per cent said they did this all the time or frequently, while nearly four in 10 (37 per cent) said they sometimes did this. Concerningly, nearly four in 10 (38 per cent) who do this said they do not have any insurance in place that would cover them in the event of overnight tool theft from their vans.

When buying goods on the second-hand market, nearly four in 10 tradespeople question whether the price “feels right” or is suspiciously low before buying the product, while nearly a third (30 per cent) actively assess the seller’s level of knowledge about the tool.

Worryingly, however, only a small number said that they take steps such as checking for engravings or personal markings (26 per cent), looking for serial numbers on online stolen registers (24 per cent) and considering whether the seller seems eager to sell quickly (24 per cent).

Alison Traboulsi, Product Manager at Direct Line business insurance, commented:

“Sadly, tool theft continues to be a real threat to tradespeople across the UK. It is great to see that many are using social media to stay informed about tool theft in their area and warn each other about suspicious sellers and other criminal activity.

“However, our research also reveals that many could take extra precautions to help protect their equipment and reduce the impact of tool theft, such as removing tools from vans overnight, parking in safer locations and having the correct insurance in place.

“We offer tradespeople a range of products and services to help cover them in the event of loss or theft. Our comprehensive van cover comes with £500 tools and equipment cover as standard and we offer tradespeople a range of flexible insurance cover options allowing them to build a policy covering their specific insurance needs, whether that’s cover for during the day at work or tools locked in a van overnight.”

Our Tools and Business Equipment cover, which is available with Public Liability insurance, comes with Tools Essentials, a service which helps tradespeople get back to work quickly by helping them to replace their essential tools within 24 hours of a valid tools claim, by providing an upfront faster payment of up to £1,500, subject to a few checks. Claims can be reported between 8am-6pm, Monday to Friday, except Bank Holidays, policy limits and exclusions apply.

For tips on how to keep your van and tools safe please see:

For more information about Direct Line tradesperson and van insurance, please visit our webpages:


1 Nationally representative survey of 2,000 UK adults conducted by Opinium on behalf of Direct Line business insurance, 150 of whom were tradespeople, 11th-15th March 2022.

For further information please contact:

Direct Line Group

Unni Henry

Marketing Practitioner

Email: [email protected]


About Direct Line business insurance

Launched in 2007 Direct Line business insurance 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 business 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 insurance and U K Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Direct Line business insurance products or get a quote by calling 0345 301 4827 or visiting