You would be forgiven for thinking that the world of caravan insurance was not an exciting place. Most of us have a stereotype of the average caravan owner lodged in our subconscious, and the insurance industry does not fare much better. So the intersection of the two becomes some sort of boredom nexus – a black hole sucking the interestingness froom the rest of the universe.
But the announcement today of the arrest of a gang of caravan thieves, who were responsible for nearly half of the caravan robberies perpetrated in the UK. The members of the gang also stole cars and motorhomes, and were caught in possession of £700,000 worth of caravans.
Leaving aside the question of what kind of people could possibly want £700,000 worth of caravans (they were a family of travellers) and how they managed to hide all those caravans from the Top Gear production staff for so long, the case does present many interesting aspects (bearing in mind we are still talking about caravans).
The thefts took place between 2004 and 2007, giving police the chance to measure the effect of the arrests on the rate of caravan thefts, and after they were detained, thefts of caravans fell from 848 to 454 in a year.
No less than 19 police forces were involved in the operation to catch the villains but the bad news is that with sentences of four to five years, and given that the perpetrators seem to have spent a large part of the intervening time on remand, they could well be back on the streets before too long. So with that in mind here are some caravan security tips.
- Several of the caravans stolen were taken from driveways. For this kind of theft, physical security products are ideal. Hitch locks, wheel clamps, corner locks, ground anchors and security posts all operate in different ways, but the aim is the same – preventing opportunist thieves from making an easy getaway. Any of these products on their own will be an improvement on no security, but using multiple devices in combination makes things that much harder for a thief. You’ll want to look for the Sold Secure marker.
- Tags and Trackers – Security markers, electronic tags (fitted as standard to many caravans) and tracking devices, and although they may not stop a theft from happening, they significantly increase the chances of your caravan being returned to you in the event that it is stolen. Note that caravan trackers are different to the car variety, designed to run from the leisure battery.
- Caravan alarms – as well as protecting your contents, these are designed to go off when someone hooks up the road lights.
Any of these can help you secure a reduction in your caravan insurance premium, but there are other precautions you can consider too. Several of the thefts were from motorway service areas, so when you stop for a rest break, consider whether someone should remain with the caravan. If this is not possible think about where you park and consider applying security devices if your stop is going to be a long one. You can also consider how you park, and park in a way that makes theft harder.
I promised you excitement, but for caravan owners, excitement is not necessarily a great thing …