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As summer fades into autumn many caravans will be laid-up for storage, but just because it won’t be in use there’s no excuse for failing to keep your caravan safe.
In fact, your beloved holiday home on wheels may be under greater threat when it is in storage over the winter than when it is out and about in the summer.
Every year around 1,400 caravans are stolen in the UK and as many more are thought to be targeted by thieves. A large proportion of those caravans disappear while they are laid-up for winter.
Nine tips to keep your caravan safe
Caravan insurance experts at Adrian Flux offer nine tips to keep your caravan safe while it is laid-up for winter.
1 Window and door locks
Close and lock windows, doors and rooflights when you leave your caravan – even for a short period. Replace old and worn locks and think about fitting extra security door locks to keep your caravan safe.
2 Get a tracker
A GPS caravan tracker will help locate your caravan if it’s stolen. Some ‘proactive’ tracking devices also have movement sensors which will notify you if there’s been a break in. Display stickers in your windows warning potential thieves that there is a tracker on board – even if you don’t actually have one.
If you do invest in a tracker it could well pay for itself, as it will result in a discount on the cost of your Adrian Flux caravan insurance.
3 Fit an alarm to keep your caravan safe
Top caravan alarms monitor movement inside the van using Passive Infra-Red (PIR) sensors and tilt sensors which detect movement. A new alarm may also qualify for a caravan insurance discount. Remember to activate your alarm whenever your van is left empty – even for just a short time. Keep your caravan safe at all times.
4 VIN Chip
Caravans manufactured from 2016 are fitted with a VIN Chip kit, which uses visible and invisible markings containing a unique 17 digit Vehicle Identification Number (also known as a CRiS number). Tamper-evident stickers are displayed on windows and gas bottle lockers.
VIN Chip packs can be bought for older vans.
5 Caravan hitch lock
A hitch lock keeps your caravan hitch and the receiver on the towing vehicle together until you unlock it, often with a key. The lock prevents anyone from lifting the receiver, and they won’t be able to unhitch the trailer unless the lock is off.
Fit a hitch lock post where your van is to be laid up over winter and make sure the van is secured to it.
6 Wheel locks
Wheel locks have a dual purpose: they are a visual deterrent and an anti-theft device. The best wheel locks will still work even if the caravan tyres are let down by thieves.
7 Park wisely
Park your caravan with the towing gear facing towards your home and consider fitting a sturdy security bollard at the rear of the van to block its path. CCTV, if available, should be trained on the van and security lighting should illuminate the parking spot.
Should you choose to leave your van in a paid-for storage facility, the cheapest option may not necessarily be the best. Make sure it has 24 hour access control, perimeter fencing and CCTV.
8 Mark and register valuables
You should not leave valuables in your caravan when it is laid up over winter, but it you do and in the event of them being stolen, property marking kits will improve the chances of your valuables being recovered.
Marking is applied either using a forensic microdot solution or using a UV pen. Valuables should be marked with your postcode so police can return them should they be recovered.
You should also register caravan valuables at www.immobilise.com which will improve your chances of getting them back.
9 Keep your caravan safe with specialist caravan insurance
It is not a legal requirement, so you may well be wondering “Why do I need caravan insurance?”
But caravans cost a lot of money to replace, and insurance can be surprisingly inexpensive, so skimping here can prove to be a false economy.
There are discounts for members of touring, camping and caravan clubs, and great deals when you obtain car and caravan insurance together with Adrian Flux.