How to Protect Against Rental Equipment Theft
by Mike Viola
Rental equipment is at a great risk of theft compared to other equipment. This is for a variety of reasons. Fortunately, there are some great ways to protect against rental equipment theft.
People using rental equipment are less likely to take appropriate precautions for its security, because it’s rented, replaceable and not vital to the usual fleet of equipment. While unsecured equipment is one common reason rental items are stolen, it’s also the entire rental system that leaves machines and products open to theft. Thieves use false identities to their advantage, either posing as the rental company to retrieve equipment from unsuspecting renters, or posing as someone else to rent equipment, then stealing away with it.
Insurance helps, but the theft of insured rental equipment can still have a negative impact on one’s business, especially when it drives up the cost of insurance. It’s crucial to understand how to protect rental equipment before theft can occur, whether you are an underwriter, insurance agent or a rental business.
Protecting Against Equipment Theft
To start, companies can and should register equipment with the American Rental Association (ARA).
ARA members can register equipment on the National Equipment Register’s database, up to 1,000 pieces of mobile, off-road equipment. This database can be accessed 24/7 by law enforcement officers, so if something is reported stolen, the chances of recovery are greatly increased.
NER will send theft alerts to law enforcement and provides warning decals indicating that your equipment is registered within the database.
Good customer management is important. Keeping track of who your customers are, who is authorized within a business, and the proper identification for renters ensures that if something does go wrong, you have a paper trail in place.
Simple steps like checking that signatures and photos match with ID, taking larger deposits and/or references for first-time renters, and a stringent rental contract also help stress the importance of good rental practices, both for rentals and for business owners.
It’s important to confirm a customer’s story if something goes missing. Have a job address and a work address with contact information so you can have those details for law enforcement and any other parties that may need it.
Before you send a rental out, understand the logistics of how it will be used, where it will be stored, and what conditions will be in place for security. If you can think like a thief you may have a good idea of how a customer’s physical security could be strengthened for the safety of your own equipment.
Invest in Security Measures
Consider how to secure the premises, and how to secure the equipment itself. Something as simple as removing keys from ignitions goes a long way in protecting your assets. A customer who cares about your equipment will take your suggestions positively for their benefit and your own.
Investing in security measures goes a long way in preventative action. A GPS tracker is a simple yet effective method of following stolen equipment and gives vital geographical information law enforcement can use for recovery. Knowing that a GPS tracker is in place is also a deterrent itself, if you make it obvious to renters and would-be thieves.
Security support in various forms, including on-site personnel to monitor jobs, and theft prevention devices like geofencing, build in an extra layer of protection that is well worth the cost if you can save your rentals from theft. Where you store equipment in your own facility should be secured, be it with fences, cameras, physical patrols, or other security measures.
If theft or fraud does occur, you should report it in full to the appropriate authorities. Provide the numbers that identify the equipment, both your own and any PIN from the manufacturer. Photos of the equipment, whether it’s registered with NER, and any other details will help. This not only gives law enforcement and other agencies the information they need to follow your case and possibly recover the equipment, it protects your company and others in the future.
Often, equipment thieves are repeat offenders, and reporting them can help establish a pattern that will ultimately ensnare the thief or fraudulent actor.
If the theft occurs from a customer’s job site and the customer is the one who files the report, follow up with law enforcement to get as involved as you can.
When all is said and done, being insured is one of the number one protections a business can take against rental equipment theft. It won’t stop theft from happening, though the previous tips should help with that. However, if all of those precautions fail and a theft still occurs, it’s insurance that provides a financial safety net.
Rental equipment insurance coverage is available in many configurations. These include general liability, property and equipment liability, auto liability and physical damage, and excess or umbrella liability for those with higher limit needs. Whatever your needs, there is a rental equipment insurance package that will protect the bottom line.
When your equipment is insured, you can call the company and file a claim as soon as you know the theft has occurred. A good company will walk you through the process of opening a claim and recovering your financial wellbeing, and can even assist you with taking proactive steps to avoid future risk.
Working with Ascinsure
Strong preventative measures are of course the first line of defense against rental equipment theft, and securing your premises, your equipment, and your customers’ premises are excellent first steps.
When it comes to equipment rentals, the immediate investment in equipment protection yields long-term payoffs if the insurance is ultimately needed. This is something Ascinsure knows well, as we have been involved in this industry for over three decades.
Ascinsure knows the industry, and we know how to properly protect the equipment within it from theft and other issues. We work nationwide, and count hundreds of insureds across the country. Clearly we’re doing something right.
We underwrite heavy equipment, aerial reach, construction equipment, boom lifts, scissor lifts, tents, inflatables and party goods. If people are renting it, we can insure it for your peace of mind and financial wellbeing.
We know that all individuals and businesses are different, which is why our specialist team is pleased to be able to provide you with a solution that is tailored to your needs. Whether you would like more information, advice, or a quote, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
We’re pleased to consult with you to determine what we can do to benefit your business. Give us a call at 877.372.0517, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your inquiry. You can also send us a message online at your convenience.