Research shows that 17% of small businesses have been affected, 51% of them in the past two years, according to insurance company Zurich. Of those hit, 42% said their vehicle had been stolen and the same number said they had lost the contents.
Workers such as plumbers, carpenters and electricians carry, on average, about £3,000 worth of equipment in their vans, equating to up to £1 billion in stolen tools across the country.
Zurich says that despite the number of bumper stickers suggesting the contrary, nearly 16% of small business van drivers leave their tools in their vans overnight, with one in 10 leaving power tools or specialist equipment. Small businesses are also potentially losing out financially, with 21% not insuring vehicle contents.
Should they lose business as a result of the vehicle crime, 34% would not be able to reclaim financial loss through business interruption insurance.
The area most prone to vehicle crime is the West Midlands, followed by London and East Anglia. The construction industry suffers the most, with a third of small businesses affected.
David Nichols, Zurich Commercial’s head of package business, said: ‘The nation thrives on the work done by small businesses, so we need them operating safely and free from crime. But we also need them to get back up and running if they do fall victim.
‘Small fleets should take sensible precautions against the risk of losing not only their vehicles but also any tools and stock they might have stored inside them.’
Security tips for drivers