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Guide to caravan security

 

Our latest video, "a guide to caravan security" is sure to appeal to Shield caravan insurance customers (both experienced caravanners and those new to the world of caravanning).

Packed with useful information and expert comment from respected caravan journalists: Andrew Jenkinson and Nick Harding, leisure vehicles officer: Tim Booth of the CSSG (Caravan Safety and Security Group) and our very own Stuart Craig; it clearly explains how to stay secure to get the most enjoyment out of your touring caravan.

Transcript to caravan security video guide

Of course in this day and age, the days where you could leave a caravan basically unsecure are long since gone. Let's face it a caravan is not a cheap vehicle anymore, it is definitely a lifestyle and it is an investment.

Confession time, I have had a caravan stolen, it was on a campsite, I left it there overnight to come back to the following day, came back the following day, empty pitch the caravan was gone.

Physical security

Hitchlocks, a number of manufacturers make hitchlocks now, they'll all be quite similar in their pricing, what we would like people to see and what most insurers require is that they have this certification on, gold standard Sold Secure. It's the same with wheel clampsor the more complicated wheel immobilisers they actually fasten back to the chassis. They are there to stop the wheel going round obviously you can't tow it away.

What I would always suggest is a good wheel clamp on your caravan, and a good hitchlock.

To be fair, if somebody wants to break into your caravan they will do it, but if you've got some visual deterrent there, there is every chance they will move on to the next caravan. I'm thinking of wheel clamps, hitchlocks, locks on windows obviously keep your door locked but by all means fit an extra lock to your door. There's lots of different things you can do just to make sure people know that your caravan is being looked after.

What I tend to use on my caravan to keep it secure is I use the AL-KO secure lock. I've been using it now for several years and I find that is a very good locking system. I also have a good hitchlock on there as well.

Personal items

Theft from caravans is probably an even bigger issue today than theft of caravans. I think people have a tendency now to take more stuff away with them including hi tech gear like quite flashy TVs things like that.

People go away in their caravans, they want to have their laptops with them their mobile phones and everything.  You know, it can be a bit too tempting for people.

Always hide your possessions, don't leave them on show it's so easy you know, you're on holiday I know it's like you just want to relax, and great, and I've done it myself, I've left a laptop on there, that sort of thing, don't do it. Anything valuable, hide away in a security box, under your lockers out of sight.

That property needs to be marked and the most cost effective way to mark that is with your postcode. If it's got a postcode on, it devalues it for the thief, and anything devalued for a thief is no value, they'll move onto another opportunity where they'll get a better reward.

Electronic security

There's a massive variety of electronic devices you can use, and you've really got to make a choice in terms of what you want to fit to your caravan. Insurers will give benefits. Anti-theft recovery devices are the big products in the market. Alarms can notify monitoring stations, just like your house alarm.

Invest in as many security products as you think you can afford because, as I say, there's a visual deterrent there, there's things like tracking devices and alarms that may not be on show, but they'll all help in the fight against crime.

A tracking device is a very good system actually, because I've known several people who have had their caravan stolen and it has been recovered because of the tracking device. They have found out where it is and they've gone and got it and they've got the culprits as well. So that's gotta be a big bonus.

Storing your caravan

A lot of people can't keep their caravans at home. You look at a lot of new housing estates, there is just physically nowhere for your caravan to be stored.

The old days when you could put it on a farm - they're fine up to a point, but some years ago I went to a caravan storage company and when I went to get the caravan it was out on the front, and I noticed the hitch cover had gone, someone had been messing around with the hitchlock, I then found out the wheel trim had been smashed, the wheel clamp was on there, and what had happened was, someone had come, obviously in the early hours, and tried to steal my caravan. But luckily, because the hitchlock was a good hitchlock, the wheel clamp was a good wheel clamp, they had a job to get off, and whether they were disturbed, I don't know, and I just saw that as a real sign that how easy it is to actually take your caravan.

A better way around this is to look at secure storage for your caravan, especially the sites operated by an organisation called CaSSOA, they're great for peace of mind.

We see a lot of facilities offered to people, which are just informal farm storage areas, and the problem with that is, if you go onto Google and look at a rural area, you can see where those informal storage areas are, and unfortunately they're not as secure as they could be. There are robust and certificated storage sites around in the country and your insurers will probably be able to direct you towards some of those storage facilities.

Registration

CRIS is the Central Registration and Identification Scheme, which is operated by the National Caravan Council. It's a form of registering your caravan.

All the details are registered, pretty much like your car V5 registration document.  If it comes to theft, it's a way of instantly recognising your caravan.  And that's records that insurers, police, other agencies can access.

Insurance

Check with your insurer, because you may well find that you get a discount with certain items.

When it comes to security, we offer a fantastic range of discounts on a whole myriad of products. Things like hitchlocks and wheel clamps are table stakes, you've got to have them to exist in this market place, and every insurer expects you to be fitting them.

When it comes to electronic security and tracking systems, they are things that we wholeheartedly endorse. As insurers, it means that we get our property back, so we're prepared to offer a discount of up to 25% for those that carry Sold Secure diamond accreditation.

When it comes to storing your caravan, we offer discounts of up to 25% for storage in gold standard CaSSOA sites, that's the Caravan Storage Site Owners Association. We've found from our experience that you're up to six times less likely to have your caravan stolen from a site with that accreditation than you are if you keep it at home.

Fit as many devices as you can, take advantage of all of those discounts, they do build up to a maximum of 60%, we want you to enjoy your caravanning, we don't want it to be made off with by the light finger brigade.

 

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