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Van security: How to prevent break-ins and tool theft

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January 10, 2022
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The latest industry figures suggest that between 30 and 40 vans were stolen every day in the UK in 2021.

That’s bad news for the self-employed, sole traders and courier van drivers whose livelihoods depend on their vehicles, and for countless leisure vanners who have been deprived of their vehicles. Though exact figures have not yet been calculated, it is estimated there were around 12,500 van thefts during the calendar year.

As well as the actual theft of the vans, life is further complicated for the victims of the crime as the contents of the van, tools in transit, building materials, goods in transit and expensive holiday gear also go missing.

With this in mind, it is imperative that owners have comprehensive van insurance in place to protect their vehicle and its contents.

Here the van insurance experts at Adrian Flux answer all your questions about protecting your vehicle and its contents


How do vans get stolen?

Most theft is opportunistic and that is the case with vans too. The thief strikes when they discover a window left open or a door left unlocked. Lock your van at all times, even if you are at a site unloading gear or filling up with fuel.

How do I keep my van secure?

If you’re buying a new van, make sure you get adequate security measures fitted. Get an alarm, an immobiliser and deadlocks even if they are not standard on your particular model so you have to fork out a little extra.

If you’re not sure whether your van has been fitted with an immobiliser, read our blog on how to find out if you have a factory-fitted immobiliser. If you don’t, it might be worth investing in an immobiliser.

Remember, good Thatcham-assured security equipment could actually save you money because they can earn you a generous discount on your annual insurance premium.

A GPS tracker will improve the chance of a van’s recovery if it is stolen. Advanced trackers not only locate the stolen vehicle but alert police too.

Whether it is new or second-hand, consider the layout of your vehicle. A glazed rear window panel is an easy way in and it gives opportunists a chance to see what’s inside and what they could sell. Instead, go for a solid panel door. 

Similarly, a solid bulkhead between cab and load area is another way of keeping cargo out of sight and safe.

Park in a well-lit area where possible

Try to park in a bright, well-lit area, preferably one covered by CCTV. At home, fit PIR lights so they’re trained on your parking space. They will illuminate when they sense movement. Also, consider investing in your own CCTV which can stream pictures to your smartphone. If you have a garage, use it.

Don’t take unnecessary risks

Don’t leave expensive power tools and other valuable items overnight in your van. Unload and stash your gear at a more secure location.

If it is impractical to keep tools elsewhere, invest in an Armorgard toolbox and get it securely fixed to the floor of your van. That way, if they manage to break into your van, at least your tools will have a better chance of staying safe.

Invest in cheaper deterrents too

Thieves don’t like to work hard, so if they see a van fitted with a steering or handbrake lock, it may be enough to put them off. Lockable fuel filler caps and wheel nuts are also cheap and effective deterrents.

The theft of van catalytic converters is on the rise too because extra ground clearance on a van make cat converters easier to access. Anti-theft devices are inexpensive and reliable and they can be easily fitted.


What do I do if my van is stolen?

The first thing you need to do is to report your vehicle as stolen. Call the police on 101 and ask for your local station. Provide your van’s details and any information you have about its theft. 

The police will also alert the DVLA and give you a “crime reference number”. 

Next, inform your insurance provider to make a claim. You’ll need the crime reference number and your insurance policy details to do so. 

You will need to provide an inventory of the cargo and tools that have gone missing, along with receipts for expensive items where practical.

Do vans get stolen often?

Between 30 and 40 vans are stolen every day in the UK and vans are the most common vehicles stolen, according to a Freedom of Information request to the DVLA by Rapid Car Check.

The FoI request revealed the three vehicles stolen most often in the UK during 2020 were the:

  • Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 313 CDI
  • Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 314 CDI
  • Ford Transit 350 

The data also revealed that seven out of the top 20 stolen vehicles of 2020 were vans, providing a stark warning for all van drivers.

Where is the best place to get insurance for my van?

A motor insurance broker like Adrian Flux will usually provide a better insurance deal, one that is bespoke to your precise needs and circumstances. The broker will shop around for the best deal, saving you the hassle of doing so. We’ve also won What Van?’s prestigious insurer of the year award multiple times, including in 2021.

Whether you use your van for business or pleasure, Adrian Flux has tailored van insurance options for you. Call 0333 254 5543 for a free no-obligation quote. 


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