I decided to write this article after doing a large amount of research on van security for our own work vehicles. With the monumental amount of tools that many work vans carry on a daily basis, we needed to be sure that our vans were safe. A locksmith van is more of a mobile shop and is not easily replaced. If a van was broken into, it would take weeks or months to get all the required tools back in order and installed. In the Edmonton area there have been a number of break-ins over the years on locksmith vans (one shop in Sherwood Park was hit as least 3 times), and many others on trades vehicles.
So what are the options?
Insurance for tools carried in a work van is quite expensive (our cost is around 8% of the full value of the tools annually), and it does cover the value of down time. Many times a tool set in a van is built up over years and can not be quickly replaced. Some things are generic and easy to replace (cordless drills for instance), other tools are custom made (jigs for installing hardware or small hand tools) and have to be remade. Larger specialty items commonly have to be special ordered (key machines, 6-8 weeks from Italy). After a break-in your insurance company will require a complete list of everything in the van which is quite difficult to do after the fact. Even if you have another van to compare too, it is super time consuming to list hundred of small hand tools (so better start that list now!).
If the damage from a break-in is significant, the vehicle will be off to a body shop, again adding to the down time of the unit.
Newer work vans have immobilizers built into the ignition system so the vehicle can’t be easily stolen. Older vans don’t. Call your dealer to check if your van does or not. All our vans (Ram Promaster) have transponder keys, which makes them difficult to steal.