Last year we published an article stating that vans were broken into every 23 minutes. Research continues to highlight that vans continue to be a key target for would be thieves.
We insure many van drivers, so we know that keeping your business going is important to you. Having your van broken into or worse, being stolen with all of its contents, can bring your business to a halt, particularly if you’re self-employed and only have one van. Some tradespeople can lose at least £500 a day in lost income as a result of having their tools stolen according to Boilerguide.co.uk
So we’ve updated our guidance and and van security tips to help you protect your vehicle and livelihood. But don’t forget, protecting your van and tools with the right insurance isn’t as expensive as you might think (see the section below ‘Make sure you’re fully covered if the worst does happen’ for more info).
Where you park will be a key factor in thieves deciding whether to try their luck. When you’re out and about, look for Park Mark car parks or ones with visible CCTV cameras. And avoid dimly lit parking spaces at night time.
If you’re parking your van at home, think about lighting and whether you should invest in motion-sensing security lights, a CCTV camera or motion activated doorbells such as Ring. These will naturally deter thieves. Of course, if you’re able to park your van on a gated driveway, or in an outbuilding, this will add further protection as it’ll make it more challenging to thieves.
Avoid the “peel and seek” thefts by considering how you park your van. If you’ve got a side sliding door, make sure you park that side against a wall, or if you’ve got rear doors, park the rear of the van against a building or garage.
Making sure you van is locked
Some thieves create their own opportunities by using devices that block the signal from the key fob to lock the van, leaving you to think that you’ve locked it. Whether you’re popping into a shop quickly or perhaps stopped off at the services, just take an extra couple of seconds to pull on the door handle to ensure that you’ve definitely locked it.
Van manufacturers are continually improving van security, but there are additional precautions you can take to further secure your van (but be sure to check with your insurer first before making any changes).
- Fit an alarm – you can fit either a siren alarm or silent alarm or a combination of the two. The silent alarm will trigger a response to your phone, so you’re more likely to catch the thieve in the act (however, we would always recommend acting with caution in these situations!). The siren will act as a deterrent and likely to put off thieves before they make off with your tools.
- Lockable tool boxes – you can buy lockable tool boxes, some of which can be fitted to the floor of your van, making it more difficult for thieves to grab and go. These are ideal if you don’t have somewhere else to store your tools overnight. Van Vault, Van Gard and Armorgard provide some great options for securing your tools.
- Lockable ladder clamps – secure your ladders to the van with ladder clamps. Screwfix offer a variety of lockable fixings.
- Van locks – you can pick up a Master Lock Van padlock and hasp from Screwfix for £50, or check out Van Gard for alternatives such as slam locks which can be retrofitted to your van and lock when the van door is closed – ideal if you’ve got your hands full. Some insurers will require locks on either older vans or vans that are worth more. Again, it’s worth checking with your insurer about this first.
- Consider whether you need half glazed doors, or a cheaper alternative might be to use security film on the windows to stop the glass from shattering. Alternatively get mesh grills fitted to make it more difficult for people to break in.
- Steering locks – If you’re concerned about your van being stolen, consider a good old fashioned steering lock which could be useful. There’s a range of these available on Amazon.
- Van Trackers – There’s a wide range of trackers available on the market, but check out trackerfit who stock a range of brands and they’ll come and fit the device for you at your home or at work.
- GPS Tool Trackers – when doing our research, we came across gpstooltracker.co.uk – and they have replica tool batteries that contain GPS trackers. This innovative solution means you can place the replica battery amongst your tools and then through their platform, locate the exact whereabouts of your tools. The location report and inventory report can be given to the police to help prove the tools belong to you in the event they are stolen.
CCTV camera options
Wherever you keep your van overnight, it’s advisable to invest in either a CCTV or smart security camera such as those from Ring, or Google Nest. Ring offer a flood light security camera which provides the motion sensor lighting and CCTV in one. But the benefit of smart cameras is that you can monitor from your smartphone when you’re away from the location where the camera is set up. Some devices also allow two way communication and a siren alarm which you can activate from your smart phone.
Marking your tools
Marking your tools will be a further deterrent to thieves by making it more difficult for them to move these stolen goods on. There are a number of options available to you, whether you engrave your tools or use UV pens. There’s also SmartWater® which contains a unique forensic code, that in the event of a theft, it can provide an irrefutable link back to the owner. They also offer a range of signs to display on your van to reduce the risk of potential theft.
Make sure you’re fully covered if the worst does happen
Having the right insurance in place will help reduce the financial impact should your van be broken into and help you get back to work quickly. At A-Plan Insurance, we offer van insurance and you can add optional extras such as tool cover – and it’s not as expensive as you might think! The price will vary depending on the level of cover you need for your tools, but prices start from £39.21 for up to £500 worth of cover for 12 months (providing no claims of losses have occurred in the previous three years). For more cover level options, or to talk to us about your van insurance, get in touch with A-Plan Insurance.