Van security tips
Keeping your van secure is no doubt one of your main priorities, particularly if you run a small business and rely on it to transport tools and equipment.
Unfortunately, vans are a top target for criminals, who break in hoping they'll find expensive items to steal. While it's not possible to prevent damage or theft to your van, there are a number of things you can do to improve security to deter thieves and limit the chance of it being broken into. By taking just a few simple steps, you could lower the price you pay for insurance, too.
To help boost your van's security, we've put together a simple guide of tips and advice below:
Before buying your van
If you haven't bought your van yet, make sure security's top of your mind when comparing different makes and models. Look at independent advisors like Thatcham Research, which has a vehicle security ratings search tool.
Are standard security features enough?
Your van should already be fitted with security features, especially if it's a newer model. But, experienced criminals will have learned your van's weak spots and be able to exploit standard security features, which is why it's a good idea to follow some extra security steps.
Additional security features
The majority of vans have alarms fitted as standard, but you can upgrade your current system to boost security and there are lots of aftermarket products available. Always choose Thatcham-approved products to guarantee the highest level of security.
Don't advertise the alarm you have fitted with a sticker on your window, as some criminals might be clued-up on how to deactivate certain systems.
If your van hasn't got one fitted as standard, consider installing a Thatcham-approved immobiliser, which will stop your engine from running unless the correct key's used.
Deadlocks are one of the simplest, most effective ways to bolster your van's security. The steel locks work alongside the standard door locks, with a bolt securing the door or hatch to a reinforced socket in the vehicle's frame.
An alternative to deadlocks, slamlocks lock automatically when the door or hatch is shut. They aren't as robust as deadlocks, but the automatic lock feature's ideal if the van's used for deliveries and quick stops — preventing opportunists from stealing items when it's unattended.
Van smash 'n' grabs aren't uncommon, so you need to take steps to secure windows as well as doors. You can blank your windows out or cover them with steel grilles, making it difficult for thieves to get into the vehicle.
Fitting your van with an electronic GPS tracking system will greatly improve the chance of it being recovered if it's stolen. Advertising the fact you have a tracker fitted will help deter thieves from targeting your van, too.
Parking your van
Use your common sense when parking your van during the day — stick to busy, well lit areas, ideally covered by CCTV. Make sure all valuables are out of sight when leaving your van (including phones and sat navs in the cab), even if for just a couple of minutes.
If you've got a garage or driveway at home, use it. A garage will offer the best protection for your van, while using the driveway will allow you to keep a close eye on it. Consider getting motion-sensor security lights outside your home to further deter thieves.
If you've no choice but to park on the road, choose the closest space to your home under a street light, which will keep your van well lit throughout the night.
Empty your van overnight
Ultimately, the best way to stop thieves from stealing equipment is to remove it from your van. Clearing out your van every night may require a little effort, but it's nothing compared to how much time (and money) you'd spend replacing all your equipment if it was stolen.
Don't forget to let criminals know your van's empty by displaying 'No tools left in this van overnight' stickers on the rear doors.
Keep a record of van items
It's really useful to keep a record of the items in your van and their value, and your list will come in handy should you ever need to make an insurance claim. It's also a good idea to hold onto the receipts of any high value items.
Catalytic converter theft
Catalytic converter theft's on the rise due to the high market value of the metals such as platinum and rhodium. Larger vehicles — including vans — are most at risk as the large ground clearance makes it easier for criminals to access the converter.
Parking your van in a garage or in well lit areas will help to reduce the likelihood of theft. For extra protection, you can have the converter's metal shell marked; this will make it easier to trace it back to your van if it was stolen.
The AA recommends a Retainagroup marking kit which includes a practically indestructible sticker, marking fluid, and window sticker to warn criminals. Every mark features a unique code that can be logged with the International Security Register.
Van insurance from Hastings Direct
Protect your van from all dangers with a Hastings Direct policy. With us, you'll receive great cover for an affordable price. You can tailor the policy to suit your personal needs, choosing from a range of optional extras including breakdown cover and substitute vehicle cover to get you back on the road as soon as possible.