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Reducing the Risk of Theft by Hirer

by Breeze Underwriting on May 18, 2015 No comments

Australia’s Hire & Rental industry is a good one to be in. Hire & Rental businesses make profit by lending out equipment to individuals and businesses, who benefit from the use of the equipment without assuming the burden of owning it. When it all runs smoothly it’s a win-win situation. However, unfortunately for rental companies it’s not always that simple.

In the Hire & Rental industry, risk goes hand in hand with the nature of the business. Companies operating within the industry are typically considered ‘high risk’ as they allow people to borrow potentially dangerous equipment that they are unfamiliar with. Not only is the probability of hurting themselves or others higher than average, but your equipment is also more likely to be damaged when used under someone else’s supervision. Furthermore, hired equipment can also become ‘target merchandise’ for thieves.

The key to running a successful rental operation is to reduce risks and where possible, eliminate them altogether. While we would recommend that you always have a comprehensive insurance policy in place to protect your business, there are a few steps that you should take to further protect your business from theft by hirer.

Request Multiple Forms of Identification

At the time of rental, request at least two forms of identification from the hirer. Some examples of acceptable identification are as follows:

  • Driver’s Licence
  • Birth Certificate (extract, original or certified copy)
  • Citizenship Certificate (original or certified copy)
  • Passport / Foreign Travel Document
  • Membership Card of a professional or trade association
  • Student Identification card (issued by a tertiary institution)
  • Medicare Card
  • Marriage Certificate

Thoroughly Check The Identification

Ensure you ask for one piece of photographic ID (Driving Licence, Passport etc) and check that the image on the ID matches that of the hirer at the time of rental. Check that the identification is valid and up to date, and take a copy to store on your files.

In addition, you should take a mobile phone number from the hirer and call it while the hirer is with you, to ensure it is correct. Finally, be sure to take a photo of the hirer that you can store on file with the hire agreement.

Do Not Rely on Vehicle Registration

Many Hire & Rental companies fall into the trap of taking the hirer’s vehicle registration as a form of security. By all means, take note of the registration as a back up measure, but do not rely on this as a means of identification as the link between hirer and vehicle registration can be tenuous at best. The hirer could be using someone else’s vehicle or loaning the vehicle from another company.

Talk to other Hire & Rental Companies in the Area

Although thieves will typically have a fraudulent history and criminal record, the police are bound by the privacy act and unable to provide this information to you at the time of rental.

The best way to screen fraudulent hirers is to liaise with other Hire & Rental businesses in the area. Let them know if you’ve been ripped off and who by, and request that they do the same in return.

Install A CCTV Camera

CCTV cameras are proven to deter criminals. You only need one, which you should strategically place in plain sight so that the hirer can clearly see it. Ensure it is positioned so that it can get a good shot of the hirer’s face. Just seeing the camera may be enough to discourage the hirer from a planned theft.

Effectively managing risk is key for the ongoing success of any business, particularly those in the Hire & Rental industry.  Actively taking steps to reduce risk faced can be backed up with a comprehensive insurance policy for optimum protection.

Speak to the underwriters at Breeze for a confidential discussion on your business’ risk management strategies.


Conditions apply for each policy and the information expected from you for a policy to trigger. Coverage may differ based on specific clauses in individual policies. Please ask your broker to explain the additional benefits and exclusions pertaining to your policy.

The information provided is general advice only and does not take account of your personal circumstances or needs. Please refer to our financial services guide which contains details of our services and how we are remunerated.

Breeze UnderwritingReducing the Risk of Theft by Hirer

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