As the cost of construction materials continues to rise, protecting your construction business against theft becomes more important than ever. Construction sites are often susceptible to theft, with certain items left on job sites being particularly enticing targets. In this article, we’ll explore the most common items sought-out by those looking to make a quick profit, effective tips on how to prevent theft, and the pivotal role of having inland marine insurance to ensure your valuable assets are protected.
The 5 Most Stolen Items From Construction Sites
Construction sites are full of valuable materials, which unfortunately attract theft. However, certain items tend to pique the interest of thieves more than others. The most common items stolen from construction sites are:
According to the Department of Energy, copper theft costs businesses across the United States nearly $1 billion annually. These illicit activities occur predominantly at construction sites, where thieves take advantage of easily accessible copper. Adding to the allure, the value of copper has experienced a significant rise in recent years, surging from $2.53 to $4.94 per pound between 2019 and 2021. Its value and demand make it a prime target for thieves seeking quick financial gains.
Lumber is rarely inventoried and frequently left unsecured overnight, essentially creating an open invitation for theft. Moreover, the resource is widely used in various construction projects, is conveniently portable, and has a strong market demand, making it an attractive item for reselling. The lack of unique markings or identifiers on lumber makes it harder to trace or recover and an appealing target for theft. The impact of the pandemic has only further fueled the issue, causing lumber prices to surge 188% by the end of 2021.
3. Power and Hand Tools
Construction tools, although small, come with hefty price tags making them a favorite target for thieves. Surprisingly, a significant number of tool thefts are committed by employees on the site. While you may not initially miss a drill or hammer, the collective loss of multiple tools can add up over time. A simple practice to safeguard your tools is to lock them away at the end of each shift and keep an inventory of all tools on-site.
4. Home and Business Appliances
Appliance theft frequently occurs in multi-family residential areas, particularly high-end apartments and duplexes. These construction sites are sought-after due to the abundance of new and expensive appliances such as fridges, ovens, washers, and dryers. Oftentimes, property owners want the area to be easily accessible for potential renters or buyers, but this makes it more accessible to potential thieves, as well.
5. Construction Vehicles
Although larger equipment is harder to steal, it does happen and can result in a substantial financial loss. Consider the value of these large machineries, like forklifts, dump trucks, or excavators. Each construction vehicle can run anywhere between $100,000 to $500,000. While theft of heavy equipment occurs less frequently than appliances or smaller tools, the potential gains from stealing larger equipment make it an attractive prospect for criminals who engage in high-risk, high-reward activities.
Preventing Theft At Your Construction Site
Many times, materials and equipment are left at the job site when crews go home. Without proper security measures, these items become easy targets for theft. Here are some tips for preventing theft on your site:
- Secure Your Perimeter – Close off your site with sturdy fencing and install proper signage indicating your area is monitored. Ensure gates are locked when the site is not in use.
- Lighting and Surveillance – Install bright outdoor lighting to deter thieves at night and set up security cameras in strategic areas to monitor activities.
- Keep Inventory of Everything – Keep a detailed inventory of all tools, equipment, and materials on-site. We recommend installing RFID tags or GPS devices on high-value equipment.
- Lock Up Your Equipment – Store valuable tools and equipment in locked containers or secure storage units when not in use. Use heavy-duty locks and chains to secure your machinery.
How Inland Marine Insurance Protects Your Tools
Inland marine insurance is a vital component of business insurance for construction and contracting businesses. This type of coverage helps reimburse the cost related to equipment loss, theft, or damage. Inland marine insurance also extends its protection to leased or rented equipment. This ensures owners and their workers can continue working without major interruptions and meet project deadlines.
Consider adding inland marine insurance to your existing general liability insurance policy or business owner’s policy (BOP). While these policies generally offer coverage up to $10,000, inland marine insurance significantly widens the scope of protection, providing more comprehensive coverage.
Ensure Your Business By Insuring It
We know you’ve worked hard to build your business and we’re committed to helping you protect it. Speak with one of our Commercial Insurance Specialists today at (855) 919-4247 for a quick and easy free quote. Our specialists can provide you with a quick inland marine insurance quote to ensure you have the necessary coverage to safeguard your business.
The information in this article is obtained from various sources and offered for educational purposes only. Furthermore, it should not replace the advice of a qualified professional. The definitions, terms, and coverage in a given policy may differ from those suggested here. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.