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Jamie Gibbs

Top tips to enhance your van security

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Secure your van – and its contents – with minimal fuss.

Owning a van sometimes means transporting and storing tools and expensive cargo. Sadly, many would-be thieves know this too. According to Confused.com data, 2017 saw a 19% annual increase in van theft claims.

With this in mind, it's important that you have the right type of van insurance for your business

It’s a good idea to ensure your van is as secure as can be and we’re here to help you out.

Top van security tips

These are just a few tips on how to improve your van’s security.

Van signage

This one is a bit of a double-edged sword. On one hand, advertising your business could act as a beacon to thieves who may think your van contains certain goods.

On the other hand, a large display with your contact details on means it’s more recognisable if it’s stolen. Also, the cost and effort of respraying a stolen van may actually be a deterrent for thieves.

GPS tracking

Investing in a good-quality tracker can mean the difference between getting a stolen van back and losing it entirely.

While this won’t necessarily deter thieves, it’ll help you and the police in ensuring your van is returned to you.

Mind your van’s contents

Whenever possible, store tools and expensive items somewhere other than your van. Thieves understand that vans are often used by tradespeople, and tradespeople often use expensive equipment.

Don’t give them the satisfaction of an easy target.

Darken your windows

To reduce the chance of your van being easy pickings, you could black-out your rear windows. This will keep your valuables from prying eyes who might be casing your van prior to a break-in.

Van alarm system

Many modern vans will have a factory-fitted alarm and engine immobiliser. Some of the higher-end models can even send a message to your phone when a break-in is in progress. 

 Security expert Thatcham uses a category system to determine how secure an alarm, lock or immobiliser will be. This is the same system that cars use.

 Thief breaking into a car

Van security lock types

One of your first lines of defence is a decent van lock. Here you’ve a few options, depending on what level of security you’re after.

Slamlock

You might have guessed how this one works. A van armed with a slamlock is locked up the instant you slam the door.

This protects your van against opportunistic thieves who might try to break into the van when you leave it temporarily unattended. 

Slamlocks can be unlocked with a key or with a digital remote. It’s thought that using the key is a safer option as it’s relatively easy to obtain a copy of a digital remote.

Deadlock

A deadlock keeps the van doors locked with a single bolt. They’re difficult to pick because there’s no spring involved in the locking mechanism.
The challenge with deadlocks for vans is that you need to remember to lock the doors again every time you use it.

This might make it a less tempting option for couriers who make multiple stops.

Catalytic converter lock

Believe it or not, thieves often target a van’s catalytic convertor. This is because particulate filters contain precious metals that can easily be sold on.

There are a number of companies that offer catalytic convertor locks, so it’s worth shopping around for one that does the job and suits your wallet.

Additional security measures

Some companies offer extra levels of protection with features like bolted-in security boxes and armour plating for around the lock.

This all comes at an additional cost, but if you’re transporting particularly expensive goods, these extra measures might be worth considering.

How security impacts your van insurance

Depending on what kind of van security measures you go for, you could wind up spending a pretty penny.

The upshot of this is that, in addition to making your van more secure, you could see your insurance costs go down.

The specifics are likely to vary between insurers. Some may insist on a specific brand of lock, for example.

It’s unlikely that the money you’ll pay for added security measures will be balanced by any potential insurance discount.

However, having a more secure van means it’s less likely you’ll need to make a claim in the future.

Making changes to your van in order to bolster its security may be considered a modification.

Even though you’re making the vehicle safer, insuring modified vans could result in higher premiums. If in doubt, chat with your insurer beforehand.

Any locks you install or other security measures you take should be Thatcham-approved where possible.

Thatcham is considered to be the gold standard by most insurers, so this is a good place to start.

If you’re still looking for ways to reduce your van insurance costs, there are a number of other things you can do

Check out our top 10 tips to improve van security.

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