Guide to secure caravan storage
Each year there are between 600 - 1,200 touring caravan thefts. In the current economic climate, this figure is set to increase significantly. Home caravan storage may be the preferred option, but the deeds to your property may actually prohibit such storage. If you do store at home, when your caravan isn’t there you may be advertising you are on holiday and that your house is empty. From our experience approximately 48% of caravan thefts occur from the home address.
Nowadays, fewer people have room on their driveway, so you may need to consider storing your caravan elsewhere, in either an urban or rural location e.g. at a central base near a motorway or perhaps at your favourite holiday resort. Do you want your leisure vehicle in open air caravan storage, in a sheltered location; or undercover caravan storage for protection against the elements? Simply opting for a local business premises or a farm may not necessarily be the best option. A high % of caravan thefts (both theft of and from the caravan) are committed from insecure caravan storage sites, usually by organised caravan thieves.
It's best to opt for a professional, secure storage facility such as an accredited member of the Caravan Storage Site Owners’ Association (CASSOA). This nationally recognised body was formed over 10 years ago in response to growing concerns about the large number of thefts and acts of vandalism occurring at caravan storage sites across the UK. CaSSOA provides a register of safe and secure caravan storage sites which have been inspected to ensure compliance to guaranteed minimum security standards. By promoting best practice, the caravan owner has the reassurance that reasonable steps have been taken to protect their stored caravan. There is a tiered award system of Bronze, Silver and Gold, with Gold award providing the best in caravan storage. To reflect the high standards of security, Shield offer caravan insurance customers a premium discount of 15% for Silver award sites and up to 25% discount for Gold award CaSSOA storage.
Whatever secure caravan storage facility you choose, the monthly, seasonal or annual storage site fee charged will be determined by its location, the level of security provided and the availability of secure storage in the particular area. The actual security design of the site may be influenced by planning authority conditions e.g. how the storage area is screened by use of trees or shrubs; how the caravans are arranged; through to things like opening hours.
Things to consider when choosing your caravan storage location:
- What type of storage pitch is available: grass, hard standing or undercover?
- What facilities do they offer e.g. washing, valeting, caravan servicing, etc?
- Are they CaSSOA accredited?
- Do they have public liability insurance for their secure caravan storage site?
- Will you be provided with a written storage contract?
- Do all caravans need to be insured as a condition of storage?
- What safety & security features are there to ensure effective site management?
There should be a clearly defined perimeter fence (usually palisade or weld mesh) that identifies the designated storage compound as a private area. Depending on the land’s contours you may find earth banks, drainage ditches or natural barriers such as a river.
There should be 24 hour access control, with entry or exit via a single gate with barrier access (using a card control or keypad system) or a manned control point. Security lighting should operate from dusk till dawn. Make sure the CCTV system doesn’t use dummy cameras and is monitored 24 hours a day.
- What other detection systems do they have in place?
- Is the site able to monitor the movements of authorised visitors?Is the site continuously manned?
- Does the owner or a warden live on site?
- Have there been any previous thefts from or of caravans from their site?
- What vermin controls are in place – particularly if you are opting for farm storage?Any incidences of flooding?
- Do they conduct a fire risk assessment?
The likelihood is there will be a number of caravans, many with gas bottles inside. What distance is there between each stored caravan? Is there a sufficient fire break?
It is prudent to remember to remove all personal effects and valuables when your caravan is being stored, to guard again the possibility of theft from your caravan. During periods of winter storage it may be weeks before your caravan is visited.