Firstly, if you drive a van for business, then a few extra van security ideas can be useful. Secondly, the British police forces recently revealed a 45% increase in van thefts in four years. Thirdly, did you know that four out of ten vans on sale are not fitted with an alarm as standard? Finally, there have been more than 43,000 vans stolen since 2016, equating to more than 30 vans a day.
As providers of specialist van insurance, we understand that protecting business assets such as your van is vital to ensure you can continue with your day to day duties. It is important for you to make sure you have the right level of insurance to suit your needs.
Whether you are a labourer, painter and decorator or an electrician, keeping your van secure is key to protecting your livelihood. To help you improve your van security, we have put together this useful guide on the various van security ideas that you could add to your vehicle.
Van security devices
We have compiled this list of additional measures that you could put in place to act not only as a physical deterrent but a visual one too. This can help give you that added layer of protection in the event someone considers stealing your van:
The steering lock, or disc lock, is a tried and tested method of deterring theft. It is a sturdy tool and is recommended by police forces and security experts, Thatcham. It comes in a variety of sizes to suit your van type and has a range of accompanying accessories such as covers and storage options. Essentially, the lock will attach to the steering wheel and prevent it from turning.
The heavy metal device can enclose the entire wheel, attach to the wheel spokes, or provide a connection between the wheel and pedals to obstruct vehicle use. Once attached it will open via a traditional key operated locking mechanism. Where possible, opt for a model with a well-made mechanism that will not break easily.
Also, a rooftop lock could come in handy if you use roof-mounted equipment including ladders for day to day business. This functions by using a key to open clamps and can keep your rooftop gear safe and secure.
Stop locks are devices that can be attached to the side or rear of your van. They operate by linking two opening surfaces together. This means a thief cannot use a crowbar or similar tool to gain entry.
The locking mechanism is easily opened by a key. Installing a stop lock, however, could be a tricky task. If you are hesitant to take on the job yourself, hire a professional to carry out installation for you.
Van security cage
Tool theft is a major concern for tradespeople in the UK. Stolen tools deprive your business of the means to carry out your job. This could leave you falling behind on your work commitments and having to reschedule with your customers.
For an extra layer of protection, consider installing a van security cage to safeguard valuables. These heavy-duty security options provide a huge entry problem for potential thieves. Larger, bespoke versions can be purchased to suit your van type. They could also provide a visual deterrent. Potential thieves could see it would take a great deal of effort to break into your van. The noise generated could also quickly attract attention.
Van security alarms
If your van does not come with an alarm and immobiliser fitted as standard, you may wish to consider having one installed. Where possible opt for a Thatcham approved alarm and immobiliser, as they have been at the forefront of vehicle security for over 50 years.
The minimum you want to consider installing for maximum security is a Thatcham category 2. You can check out the Thatcham Alarms & Immobilisers webpage to see the type of security your van already has installed and whether or not it can be upgraded.
There is a wide range of alarms available on the market, however, it is important to find out which one is suitable for your vehicle and budget. Installing an alarm in your van could be daunting so if in doubt hire a professional to install it for you.
What is a Thatcham device?
Thatcham devices are immobilisers, alarms, and other vehicle security devices that are evaluated and approved by Thatcham Research.
Thatcham Category 1 devices are sophisticated security systems that combine an immobiliser with an alarm. They offer features such as perimeter and ignition detection along with tilt, movement, and glass break sensors. A category 1 alarm’s siren will be powered by an independent power supply and must be able to be automatically set, without the driver’s intervention.
Thatcham Category 2 consist of just an immobiliser but must satisfy the equivalent demands of a Category 1 device. They must isolate at least two circuits or systems, or a minimum of one operationally relevant vehicle control unit with coded intervention. A Thatcham immobiliser must be resistant to attack for a minimum of five minutes. As with Thatcham alarms, the immobilisers must be able to be automatically set, without the owner’s involvement.
In the unfortunate circumstance that your van is stolen, having GPS tracking installed is a fantastic way of locating where the vehicle has gone to support its recovery. This could also help the police with the retrieval of your vehicle.
There are many different van trackers available on the market, ranging from the essential and affordable to more advanced devices. Some of the more advanced GPS tracking devices require a monthly subscription, but offer many additional features which could include:
- On-call help in the event of an accident
- Business mileage reporting
- Alerts when vehicles move
- Track vehicles in real time
- Full report suite
- Route history
For the cost of installation and possible subscription, you get peace of mind knowing should the worst happen you can track your van down.
Catalytic converter lock
Firstly, a catalytic converter uses valuable metals in its construction. These include platinum and palladium, which can easily be sold for scrap. With a catalytic converter lock, security can be upgraded using hardwearing, air-craft grade steel cabling. Secondly, this secures the converter to the vehicle chassis making it very difficult to remove.
Practical Tips to Improve Van Security
Here are some tips you can use to reduce potential vehicle theft. Depending on your budget they can include:
Be smart when parking
If you can park your vehicle on a drive or a garage then do so. It is best to park your van in well-lit, busy areas. That way any criminal activity can be easily observed and reported. If you can park close to a CCTV camera even better. This could act as a deterrent to thieves and potentially record the identities of any people in the area.
Home parking can be improved by motion sensor lighting, lockable gates, and CCTV cameras linked to your Wi-Fi. If you park your van at home at night, make sure to take all the safety measures that you can. Purchase affordable options that can be installed easily and provide further warning of criminal behaviour.
Do not leave valuables inside your van
If you can remove all tools and valuables every night, then do so. This includes items such as dashcams, Sat Navs, and mobile phones or tablets. The attraction may be to store smaller items in a glove box. However, even when locked these are far less secure than you may think.
If removing all items from the vehicle is not an option, consider installing an internal security box. These handy storage boxes can be bolted to the floor of your van. This will make it louder and more time-consuming for thieves to extract expensive gear from inside your vehicle.
Van stickers and branding
It pays to advertise your services on the side of your van. Sadly, it may also encourage thieves to risk stealing its contents. If you carry a lot of high-end gear you may want to add a sticker to the rear doors of your vehicle. This can warn “No tools are stored in this van overnight”. It may be a simple addition but could be enough to act as a deterrent to a would-be thief.
Keep a record of what is in your van
It can be useful to keep a record of what tools and items of value you store in your van. Try to also keep receipts for valuable equipment and file them away securely. These receipts can help speed up an insurance claim for your tools and items of value if covered.
You can also consider marking your gear with an identifying mark, such as a watermark. This means that if your equipment is retrieved following a crime, it is more likely to make its way back to you.
Ensure you have the correct insurance cover
As specialist providers of van insurance since 1982, we take the time to understand your individual van insurance needs to find you the best possible deal.
At Acorn, we assess each van driver’s policy individually and specialise in providing unique cover for each customer. We consider all drivers, even if you have a past conviction or points on your licence.
Need additional products? No problem!
We will help you find the right van insurance policy that works for you, with add-ons that include:
- Third party cover while driving in Europe*
- UK breakdown cover
- Tools cover **
- Goods in transit cover ***
- Key care
*All our policies are subject to terms and conditions so please take the time to read our full terms and conditions before taking out a policy
** Tools cover is supplied through a third party
*** Goods in transit cover is supplied through a third party
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