Protect Your Tools: Tragedy Sparks Conversation About Tool Insurance

Where Do We Go From Here?

Many other shops are facing the same problems. J.J Fay mentioned that it was the third shop fire in his area during that month. Whenever a disaster occurs, it becomes extremely challenging to accomplish this task, even though we were optimistic about providing the individuals at this shop with a head start in reconstructing their lives.

One thing I feel is that we need to do a better job of educating both the mechanics and shop owners to prevent unfortunate events such as thefts and fires, i.E., Events that we cannot always prevent, in order to protect our assets with insurance.

A True Brotherhood of Technicians

I felt a true sense of brotherhood, but the younger technicians made sure to use words with care, which made the older technicians more interested in making the business feel like a getting just getting a feel for the business. They genuinely cared about each other, and I could tell that another person genuinely cared as well. My first reaction when I met the techs in Antigo was how positive this group was, and I couldn’t believe how much I believed in this group after experiencing such a loss.

We started gameplanning for what was to come as the technicians began to realize that they probably wouldn’t be working together anymore. J.J. Fay of Northwoods Tools, a distributorship for Snap-On Tools, organized the meeting and was truly the driving force behind its occurrence. He initiated the discussion by inquiring, “How many of you wish to continue as technicians?” All of them shook their heads affirmatively, indicating their desire to remain in the industry.

The seasoned guys had already talked about opening their own shop, so luckily, the owner of the smaller building started to get them started in and up back. They wanted to wait to hear what the shop owner was going to do before pursuing anything outside. Another truck was full-time on a tow, and one was in closing on retirement.

J.J. Initiated a GoFundMe campaign to assist in getting these technicians back on track after verifying their commitment to the business. It astonished me to witness the older technicians willingly deferring and requesting that all funds raised be directed towards the younger technicians.

On top of that, we reached out to individuals in the field and, wow, did they rise to the occasion. The fantastic individuals at VehicleServicePros.Com began contacting individuals in the industry and were able to collaborate with their associates to construct a collection of equipment to contribute. Josh Carton from Curien was also able to incorporate additional fundraising initiatives. If nothing else, it demonstrates the abundance of genuinely kind-hearted individuals we have in our industry who were capable of stepping up.

THANKS to everyone who contributed!

Protect Your Tools: Tragedy Sparks Conversation About Tool Insurance

This article was initially published on VehicleServicePros.Com in 2019.

I recently made a visit to the northwoods of Wisconsin and I absolutely love it. The fall season, especially, provides a level of tranquility and beauty that is truly breathtaking. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend taking a trip there.

I embarked on a journey to Antigo, Wisconsin to engage in a conversation with a team of technicians who had recently experienced the devastation of a fire that not only consumed their workplace but also resulted in the loss of their employment and essential equipment. My purpose for undertaking this trip was not leisure or reuniting with acquaintances. However, this particular visit held a distinct significance.

Everything had disappeared. Scattered and scorched on the floor were customer vehicles that had been elevated on hoists when the hoist cylinders had burst due to excessive heat. Office furniture and computers were utterly ruined. The destruction was absolute and total. Words alone cannot capture the magnitude of this devastation.

Pile of burnt tools and equipment from shop

The technicians were not as fortunate, but the store owner had excellent insurance on the structure and all of the store equipment. It requires some time to reconstruct, but physical belongings can be substituted, it is understood. Nobody was injured and no lives were sacrificed, although very few benefits can be derived from such an event.

These highly skilled mechanics, with the exception of one tech-savvy wife who was an insurance agent, were left without the one thing they needed to make a living.

Tool Insurance Options For Shops and Technicians

The technicians can personally purchase tools that are best suited to help them create a customized set of tools, which they can add to their toolbox throughout their entire career. This is not a universal kit of tools that can be purchased. The average technician has anywhere between $25,000 to $50,000 worth of tools in their toolbox.

According to Owner/Agent Paquette Chad, LLC Group Insurance PWA explains that owners can include all employee tools in their policy to provide coverage for their employees. However, it is important to note that not all tools are always covered under the shop’s insurance policy.

The cost of insurance would likely exceed $1,000 per year to cover $25k worth of tools for a single employee. However, the cost of insurance depends greatly on factors such as liability limits, sales figures, and the gross number of employees, and can vary significantly.

Technicians should seriously contemplate getting insurance for their personal tools. For technicians employed at a workshop that is unable to provide coverage for employee tools, this may not be a feasible choice for smaller independent workshops. However, providing tool insurance can serve as a valuable employee perk for workshops with the financial means to do so.

Paquette explains, “If it is not part of the business’ policy, the employee would have to obtain their own insurance. Tools are not included in home insurance if they are utilized for business purposes.” Paquette further clarifies, “The employees have the option to acquire a compact contractor/inland marine package to ensure coverage for both liability and tools.”

If a technician from Antigo took out an individual liability policy, they would have to think about when their tools were lost in the fire and the cost of insurance would be $1,000/year, however, it would cover up to $25k for their tools.

It is important to educate technicians on the importance of protecting their tools.

Become a WrenchWay Top Shop to show technicians why they should work for your shop or dealership. Click here to learn more.

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