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Van security ideas: top tips to stay safe

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Criminals are becoming savvier in how they break in to vehicles, so it's more important than ever to make your van theft-proof.

From a van lock box or a van security system, we share our top van security ideas.

person locking a van

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You can improve your van's security by:

  • Invest in the latest security technology
  • Improve your van security locks
  • Secure your catalytic converter
  • Boost your safety with van alarm systems
  • Put signs on your van to improve its security
  • Secure your tools
  • Don't leave valuables inside your van
  • Park somewhere secure or well lit
  • Add physical van security devices

If you don't have an immobiliser, you can get one fitted by a professional, and look for immobilisers that are approved by Thatcham. This stops the engine starting if you don't have the key, so it can't be 'hotwired'. Every van made after 1998 has an engine immobiliser fitted as standard.

If you don't have one, it's worth considering a tracker too. These use GPS to locate your van if it's stolen.

Van trackers often have locking systems that you can operate remotely. This means you can get the van locked down and protect its contents as soon as you’re aware of the theft.

Trackers can’t stop your van being broken into, but they could make it much easier for police to recover it and limit the potential damage.


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Visit Tracker to improve your vehicle's security. Buy a tracking device

There are 2 main types of van security locks: a slamlock and a deadlock.


Slamlocks lock the van as soon as you slam the doors shut. This makes them easy to secure but does involve the risk that you could accidentally lock your keys in the van.

Slamlocks might be a good option for couriers who make short, frequent stops, as they could stop opportunist thieves.


Deadlocks are a separate lock to your van's internal locks.

You lock them manually, but they're difficult to force open - even if thieves get past the regular lock.

Deadlocks could be good for tradespeople who leave their van unattended for longer periods of time.

You can also add steel plates around the locks to stop thieves drilling around the lock to break in.

The average price for fitting a van security lock is around £130.

You can get a catalytic converter lock to stop opportunist thieves stealing your catalytic converter. They're around £250, but this is certainly cheaper than a new catalytic converter. Alternatively, if your catalytic converter is bolted on, you could ask your garage to weld them shut.

Catalytic converters contain precious metals that thieves like to target and, thanks to a higher ground clearance, vans are at greater risk than cars.

For more information, take a look at our guide on catalytic converter theft.

Most vans have an alarm fitted as standard. So, it's worth checking if yours has a van alarm system before you buy a new one. If you don't have an alarm, you can get one fitted by a professional.

As with immobilisers, it's worth looking at a Thatcham-approved van alarm system. There are 2 main types to choose from:

  • Category 1 - a combined alarm/immobiliser. These are usually for vans that were made before 2006.
  • Category 2/1 - an alarm upgrade to your existing van security. These tend to be for vans made after 2006.

Having proper van signwriting announces who the van belongs to and how to contact you.

If your van is stolen, it's going to stand out. This might make it harder for a thief to make a clean getaway.

So, having your business name on the side of your van could be a really effective way of improving your van security.

Wherever you can, take any tools and valuables out of the van when not in use.

If you have to keep tools in your van, you could invest in a secure storage box to make sure they're extra safe. You can get a van lock box that bolts to the floor for added van security.

You could also look into tool insurance for extra peace of mind.

You can also boost your van security by ensuring you don't leave any valuables in your van.

Always take personal possessions like your phone and wallet with you. The glove box is a safer option than the passenger seat, but if your van is broken into, it's one of the first places thieves look.

If you have to leave tools or valuables in your van, a 'no tools kept in the van overnight' sticker is better than nothing. It might be a bit overdone, but it could deter the more casual thief.

Look for open, well-lit public places with CCTV cameras to act as a deterrent. Better yet, if you have the option of a secure car park, use it.

Considering the threat of catalytic converter theft, it also makes sense to think about how easy it would be for thieves to get under your van when you park. If your van is parked at home overnight, you might also wish to consider your own CCTV.

Thieves operate day and night, so be careful where you park your van at any time of day.

Adding physical security like steering wheel locks could complement your van's security and give you an extra level of defence.

So, even if a thief manages to hotwire your van, they can't steer it anywhere.

And, if the van looks like it might be difficult to steal, it could put off most thieves.

Making your van more secure could help you get cheaper van insurance.

What our motor insurance expert says

“Improving your van's security might cost a bit. But it could mean lower insurance costs, as well as less of a headache in having to replace stolen tools.

“Be warned that some security features could be considered a modification by some insurers. This could increase your costs. So, check with your insurance company before you make any big changes to your van.”

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