This is part 3 in our blog mini series. In previous parts we dealt with Buying a Used Van and Owning & Running a Van. We also touched on van insurance and what you can do with the storage space in your van.
As we mentioned in recent blogs, vans are, for many people, not just a method of transport but essential to their business and livelihood. This does mean, being kitted out with expensive tools and equipment, that they are also a prime target for burglars to rob or break into.
In the UK the Association of Chief Police Officers Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (AVCIS) have proclaimed that the most stolen vehicle in the UK is the Ford Transit.
Owning and operating a van means you need to be aware of all these dangers. There are, however, several things you can do to make your van more secure and less of a target.
Below we have a couple of top tips that will help you to protect your van and your valuables and potentially help you save money on you van insurance premiums.
Sound the Alarm
Alarms and immobilisers normally come as standard with the majority of modern vehicles these days and they’re a great deterrent to thieves, with an immobiliser putting a barrier to the ignition when a foreign key is inserted. If you have an older vehicle that doesn’t have an alarm or immobiliser it’s worthwhile to have them installed.
Keep your items Locked Up
The locks on your vehicle are all that stands in the way of a thief and the content in your van.
It may be worthwhile, in addition to the standard central locking system, that you consider extra internal and external locks. External locks, including wheel nut locks and fuel cap locks help ensure both your wheels and fuel remain safe when leaving you are not in or around your van. Door locks should be considered too as they are ideal if your job requires you to enter and exit your vehicle on a regular basis.
If you’re looking to purchase door locks we would recommend deadbolts, slam locks or Armaplate locks. If you’re considering interior locks then ignition locks, steering wheel, gear stick and handbrake locks will prevent movement of the vehicle when not in use. Having these in place gives you peace of mind that your van and its contents will be safe.
One thing to note it that these locks aren’t impossible for a determined thief to break but they will certainly act as a deterrent. They increase the time it takes to steal a vehicle and hence the chances of being caught, therefore thieves are more likely to think twice before attempting to steal your van.
Locks are not the only security tool available to you as a van owner as a means of protecting your vehicle though. Having bulkheads installed in your van act as an additional obstacle you can place between a thief and the contents of your van. Having them means a thief will no longer be able to climb over the seats to access your cargo, combined with window grilles that block off access from the rear, should mean your contents are completely inaccessible to any would-be thief.
If you’re carrying particularly valuable items you could also consider incorporating vaults and safes as storage units inside your vehicle as well. Tool boxes that can be secured to the floor of your van are a particularly good idea to have if you use expensive tools as part of your job.
Don’t be left in the dark
A thief will always be more attracted to a vehicle parked in a secluded dark spot, as there is far less chance of being disturbed whilst they are trying to gain access. Ensure you always park your van in a well-lit, secure parking area. If the area is monitored by CCTV then the chances of avoiding being targeted are more in your favour. If you can, we would also advise leaving as few tools and equipment in the vehicle as possible when it is left unattended. If a would-be thief looks in the window and sees an empty van they will quickly lose interest in breaking into it.
Make yourself seen and heard
An easily identifiable van will always be less attractive to a thief. Provided you have your logo and contact details clearly visible on the van, a thief will be less likely to steal it as good branding is something everyone, including law enforcement services, will always pay attention to whilst driving. Not only that but if the worse came to the worst and it was stolen, a branded vehicle will be much easier to locate than one of a plain, generic style.
Along with branding, strategically placed stickers on a vehicle, such as ‘Vehicle left empty overnight’, will also work as an extra deterrent. They can also help in identifying your stolen van in the same way that your branding is.
Your Van has been Stolen?
Installing all these security measures is all well and good for preventing a theft but what if your van does get stolen? The most important thing for the majority of victims of vehicle theft is to recover that vehicle as soon as possible. In order to do so you want to make your van easier to identify and recover.
Invisible marking is a great way of doing this. Stamping your vehicle and or the equipment inside with a unique identifier, which only becomes visible under ultra-violet light, will make it far easier to recover your possessions that have been stolen and found by the Gardaí.
There has been a dramatic increase in the use of tracking technology and devices over the past decade. Nowadays many electronic devices, such as smartphones will include a form of tracking as a means of recovering a lost or stolen phone.
Similar technology to this has also been used in the motor trade too. Employing the use of a global positioning systems (GPS) will allow your vehicle to be located if stolen. Whilst expensive, as a reliable method of locating your van it can be a very worthwhile investment.
We hope that these points will help you when it comes to thinking about how you can secure your van and its contents from being broken into and stolen, and if you are unfortunate enough for it to be stolen how to get it back in one piece.
It is always best, and also the law, to have van insurance if you own a van. Your van insurance will help to compensate you if your van does end up being stolen. To get great van insurance today call our specialist van insurance team now on 01 660 6900 or you can fill out our van insurance quote online form.
We can get you covered in just one call and you can have peace of mind that if something does happen you have van insurance to cover you and the main tool you use for your business.