Mowers, loaders, and tractors are at the greatest risk for theft
In 2014, nearly 12,000 heavy equipment thefts were reported in the United States– a slight increase over the previous year, but a serious amount compared to five, ten, or fifteen years ago. In fact, some experts believe the issue now costs American heavy equipment owners up to $1 billion a year when downtime, rental costs and wasted business productivity and associated costs are added to the cost of equipment replacement.
So, whether you work in or own a construction company with multiple bulldozers, or simply do your own yard maintenance with a few expensive mowers, your property could be at serious risk for theft. While it’s essential to take a variety of anti-theft measures to protect your heavy equipment, even the smartest owners can’t always protect themselves against the acts of increasingly determined thieves– and that’s where your insurance company can help.
Despite the risks of heavy equipment theft, having a comprehensive heavy equipment insurance policy can protect you if your equipment is stolen, vandalized, or breaks due to an accident. While many owners might not believe paying extra for equipment insurance is worth it, owners need to seriously ask themselves if they can afford to quickly replace some or all of their heavy equipment simply using their current assets. If the answer is no, equipment owners without insurance could find themselves in serious trouble if they face an incident of serious theft or vandalism.
What steps can owners take to prevent theft
Getting a comprehensive insurance policy is the best way to protect yourself financially in the case of a theft. However, there are also things you can do to prevent and discourage theft of your equipment itself. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NCIB), the best ways to prevent heavy equipment theft include installing hidden fuel shut-off systems, removing circuit breakers when equipment is unattended, and stamping and/or engraving all heavy equipment with serial numbers and corporate logos. In addition, individuals or companies with large amounts of heavy equipment should make sure to keep a photographic record of each item, being especially careful to capture serial numbers, corporate logos, and other identifying information in each photograph.
In addition, heavy equipment owners may want to take other basic security precautions, such as always being careful to store equipment only in secured areas (and inside locked buildings or locked gates whenever possible). In addition, for large construction sites or areas where lots of heavy equipment is involved, it can pay to have security cameras monitoring the area. Even if no one watches them, one or more battery-operated security cameras (many of which can record for up to 24 hours) may be able to get a close look at thieves in the unfortunate case that a theft does occur.
Heavy equipment is more likely to be stolen than to be damaged in an auto accident or natural disaster
While you might not think theft is the worst thing that can happen to your heavy equipment, it seems to be the most likely disaster to occur. An NICB study showed that heavy equipment items are two times more likely be subjected to theft than natural disaster, and five times more likely to be stolen than damaged in an auto accident. And, with theft on the rise, it could pay to lock in your insurance rate before thefts increase, and rates rise again, which they easily could.
To learn more about how heavy equipment insurance can help prevent your property from theft and other expensive disasters, contact Avante Insurance today for a free consultation.