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Make your campervan secure

by Dabs Banner

A campervan is a valuable asset. And when in use for a road trip it can be packed with valuables. So it makes sense to keep both the campervan and its contents as safe and secure from thieves as you possibly can.

Owners can quickly fall in love with their precious campervans and put plenty of time, effort and cash into making them their home-from-home. It's no wonder that campervans and camper conversions can become a target for thieves. If they can be driven off or broken into they make for rich pickings.

There's no need to turn your vehicle into a high-security fortress, but a few security measures can bring relative peace of mind to any campervan owner. We go through some of the options to help keep your campervan safe from car thieves and burglars.

Choosing campervan anti-theft devices +

The first step in campervan security is to stop someone driving off with your precious vehicle

One of the ways to improve campervan security is to fit a steering wheel lock that will disable your campervan while you are away.

The standard of engineering on wheel locks will vary. It's not much use having a device that can be quickly disabled by something as familiar as a pair of bolt-cutters.

Top-quality wheel locks may be more expensive to buy, but they act as a strong deterrent if they need a powerful angle grinder to remove.

So it's essential to choose steering wheel lock with a gold rating.

Potential thieves will not only be put off by the time it takes to remove the lock but will also know that the owner is serious about security. They will expect more anti-theft devices.

Wheel locks are another effective visual deterrent as are gear locks that tie the gear stick to the brake.

Wheel clamps and clutch locks offer yet anti-theft options, especially useful when the campervan is parked up, and security-conscious owners may have multiple deterrents in store.

Some campervan security tips +

You don't have to shell out a fortune to improve security on your campervan.

Vehicle alarm window stickers can be positioned prominently even if your campervan doesn't have an alarm, encouraging any would-be thief to move on.

Another cheap and straightforward ruse is a prominent 'DOG ON BOARD' sticker to warn off potential intruders whether you have a dog or not.

Choose a dog picture of a Doberman or German Shepherd and not a breed that looks like it will lick the thief to death.

Anti-shatter security window film is a useful way of preventing a break-in as it makes windows challenging to break from the outside.

Take care not to use on the inside as you may need to break the glass to escape in a traffic accident or some other emergency.

More security precautions to take +

Remember to take simple precautions such as closing windows and locking doors if you leave the campervan for any length of time.

Remember to put things away before going out or cover them over. Never leave valuables on display to tempt potential thieves.

Most campervans come with blinds or curtains so, whenever you leave the campervan, make sure to close them completely.

The downside is that closed curtains can look like no one is home, but a potential thief won't be sure.

Keep your belongings tucked away +

It is unwise to leave expensive items on display when vacating your campervan for any length of time. Insurance policies may not cover belongings left scattered about an empty van,

A safe may seem like an unnecessary expense when you are tight for space, yet you have to set the cost against any loss you might incur through theft.

If you intend to take expensive items or irreplaceable items on a road trip then installing a safe may be a reasonable option.

A campervan safe won't need to hold all your valuables, just the most precious and expensive ones such as family photos, jewellery, laptops and other treasured belongings.

A safe that bolts directly to the campervan chassis will be the most secure, but you can expect to pay more.

Burglar alarms for camper vans +

Campervans can be full of valuable stuff, primarily when couples or families use them for a holiday break.

Siren alarms make an excellent audio deterrent for a campervan. The siren is usually fitted under the bonnet and activated when opening the door.

Highly visible magnetic window alarm stuck to windows can trigger a loud noise when activated.

They can be preferable to motion sensor alarms which may be accidentally triggered by swaying motion when on the move.

Not all thieves are put off by a window alarm and are prepared to smash their way in and make off with valuables before anyone can act.

Try to immobilise your campervan +

Engine immobilisers have become more prevalent in recent years, and they have been factory-fitted on cars since 1998.

An immobiliser is an electronic security device which stops an engine from being started unless a digital key or token is present.

Immobilisers work by disabling any combination of ignition, fuel system or starter motor.

Methods vary with the manufacturer, but they all work on the premise that the vehicle will only start if the key's code matches that of the electronic control unit.

Using campervan tracking devices +

If the worst happens and your campervan does get stolen, then tracking tools can be useful in recovering the vehicle.

A tracking device can quickly pinpoint the location of a stolen campervan and help police make a quick recovery.

Which tracking device to use can depend on the value of the campervan and how much you can afford.

Insurance companies may insist on a specific type of tracker to provide insurance cover, so it's worthwhile checking which devices are acceptable for insurance purposes.

Trackers can cost £250 or more so make sure you buy the best you can afford.

What insurance agents say +

Insurance companies warn that the number of theft claims by campervan owners for vehicles stolen from household driveways is increasing.

The best advice from insurance agents is to keep your campervan out of sight when not in use, preferably in a lock-up garage.

If you don't have a garage, then consider some driveway security such as drive posts or lockable gates to deter thieves as much as possible.

Most reputable insurance providers require that any security product you use has an approval rating from Sold Secure or Thatcham Research.

Thatcham Research published category listings of various tracking devices while Sold Secure has a product testing service provided by the Master Locksmiths Association.

For more information, visit their websites here:
Sold Secure

And if you plan to take your campervan out of the UK, make sure the tracking device will operate in countries you plan to visit. There are various types of cover from basic location tracking to full European monitoring and recovery.

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