The Federation of Master Builders

Tool theft claims - what you need to know

Published date: 04 October 2021

Should you have to make a future claim for the loss of tools due to theft, are you aware of the steps you can take beforehand, to ensure your claim runs smoothly and in a timely manner?

In an ideal world, we would like to avoid the theft of tools altogether. Unfortunately, the construction industry has always been particularly vulnerable to thieves and the reality is that tools are extremely desirable. 

Research carried out by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), showed that more than three quarters (83%) of UK builders have been victims of tool theft. The research found that of those who have had tools stolen in the last 10 years (78%), on average the loss cost them £2,500. Over a 40-year working life, a builder will typically lose £10,000 worth of tools. 

For builders, loss of tools means loss of money. Many can’t afford to go out and replace the stolen goods straight away and need to wait for a claim to be resolved to resume their work. Whilst there are things you can do to reduce the risk of theft in the first instance, it is also worth considering how you can help a claim to be dealt with quickly.


Proof of purchase is key when it comes to an insurance claim. The quicker you can provide proof the tools are yours, the quicker the claim can be dealt with. Here are some guidelines on what you can do to help:

  • KEEP YOUR RECEIPTS! Store them in a safe place away from your tools.
  • Compile a list of your personal equipment, including serial numbers and log the colour.
  • Take photos of your tools and mark or engrave them. You can even use products such as DNA property marking and UV pens. This helps deter thieves as it makes the tools harder to sell on. It also helps you to identify them if recovered.
  • Register your tools with the Tool Watch App. The app has been specifically developed to combat the rise in tool theft across the UK in partnership with local police. It can help identify the owners of recovered property. FMB Members currently get a 20% discount on the app. 
  • Always ensure any purchases made are in the name of the company you have bought the insurance through. Purchasing through a personal account, rather than your business could make the claim void.

“Tool Watch App has been developed for tradespeople as a secure platform to register the tools of their trade, along with receipts, serial numbers etc – all the information needed to make tools traceable.  Comprehensive proof of ownership for insurance providers is essential to secure a quick and successful claim.   It is a legal requirement to chip and insure our pets - we need to do the same for our tools and safeguard our livelihoods”.  Alan Brett, Managing Director of Tool Watch App

Make sure to insure your tools. If the worst happens you then have the peace of mind that you can replace what has been taken or damaged. Tool cover can be added to other insurance policies, such as your Contract Works. Call our friendly team today on 01353 652760 or visit

Tips to reduce your risk of theft:

  • Install anti-theft products such as an OBD port protector, immobiliser, or tracker.
  • Secure your vehicles with window grills and remove items from view
  • Fit a tool safe in your vehicle or property.
  • Always try and park in busy, well-lit areas, or in a garage, with the side load door and rear doors against a wall to limit access and removal of tools.

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