The study of small business owners and sole traders, of which there are more than 4.5 million in the UK, also revealed that the average insurance claim resulting from business crime was £2,500.
Vehicle break-ins and thefts from the workplace were the most frequent crimes reported by small businesses. One in eight of the companies interviewed also reported that they had been coming under pressure from fraudulent non-payment of bills, making it a bigger threat than any single crime.
Around a third of the total crimes against businesses resulted in companies having to make an insurance claim, making the bill to insurers approximately £833 million.
Head of Direct Line for Business Jazz Gakhal said: “It’s alarming to see that as much as a quarter of small businesses have recently been affected by crime, though unfortunately this is always likely to increase in an economic downturn. The research demonstrates the importance of sufficient protection of the business as claims typically average £2,500, and an unexpected bill of this size could put huge pressure on many small business owners. Businesses should explore the variety of insurance options available to ensure they have appropriate cover for all sectors of operations.”