According to a report by the Caravan Club, over 3,000 caravans are stolen each year in the UK. In 2020, caravan and motorhome thefts increased significantly with more than £1M worth of stolen vehicles recovered by one tracking specialist alone. The tracking specialist says that not only did caravan and motorhome thefts rise year-on-year in 2020, but they also increased by a staggering 50% in the weeks following periods of lockdown. With this in mind here is my advice on how to improve your motorhome security.
Whilst researching information about motorhome security for this article, one tracker company claimed that just 13% of motorhomes and 6% of campervans have trackers installed, whilst 54% and 45% of these vehicles respectively don’t have alarms. With top of the range motorhomes costing upwards of £80,000 I find this a staggering statistic, if true.
With the risk of motorhome theft high I’m always thinking about security so In this article I will give you my top 10 tips for securing your motorhome and keeping your valuables safe.
Fit deadlocks to you cab doors
Physical deterrents are the best in my opinion and the cab doors are a vulnerable part of a motorhome. We fitted good quality deadlocks with a high security key to the driver and passenger cabin doors. We lock them at night and when we leave our motorhome unattended. Standard motorhome central locking locks are easy to break and don’t offer the best protection. We used a mobile van deadlock fitting service and a quick search of the Internet reveals many companies offering this service.
Fit a tracker and alarm
As a motorhome owner, you want to ensure the safety and security of your vehicle while you’re away from it. Fitting a tracker and alarm to your motorhome can help give you peace of mind and provide added protection against theft.
A tracker is a device that can be hidden somewhere in your motorhome or attached to the vehicle, which can help with the recovery of your motorhome if it is stolen. It tracks the vehicle’s movements using GPS and transmits the information to a control centre or your phone. This way, if your motorhome is stolen, you can easily find it, even if it is taken to another country.
An alarm system can also help protect your motorhome from theft. The sound of the alarm can alert you and others to the fact that your motorhome is being tampered with, and can also serve as a deterrent to potential thieves. Many alarm systems even come with sensors that detect movement, vibration, or changes in temperature, which can trigger the alarm if someone tries to break in.
Together, a tracker and alarm system can work together to provide comprehensive protection for your motorhome. If the alarm system is triggered, you can receive an immediate alert on your phone, while the tracker can provide real-time information about the location of your motorhome. With this information, you can quickly alert the authorities and speed up the recovery process.
Another bonus of having a tracker fitted to your motorhome is that many tracker systems give you information about the amount of charge in your vehicle battery. This information can be accessed from the tracker app. on your smart phone.
Window locks and window alarms
Acrylic windows are an easy access point for thieves, especially as most windows come with a simple latch fastening, which can be overcome with the simplest of tools. Replace the latches with press-button types or add a Lock M Out-style device. They’re cheap and easy to slip on and off. Below is a photo of our window locks that we have fitted to all our motorhome windows.
We also have small window alarms fitted to all our windows and skylights.
Add extra locks to all the doors
Adding an extra lock to your motorhome habitation door and storage/garage doors will give you peace of mind and act as a visual deterrent. We have the Fiamma locks fitted to our motorhome, but you should be cautious about drilling into the bodywork of your motorhome. These locks are great when you are out of the vehicle but you can’t use them whilst you are asleep inside! Instead, when you are inside, consider setting the external doors of your alarm system only and excluding the interior alarm system. More information about Fiamma motorhome locks can be found here.
Important Note – Remember to take your vehicle keys with you when leaving and locking your vehicle. It’s very easy to lock yourself out!
Properly insure your van against theft.
Insuring your motorhome against theft is important because motorhomes can become prime targets for thieves during periods of inactivity. Even if your vehicle is not being used, it is still important to ensure insurance is maintained.
There are several ways to find a good insurance company to insure your motorhome in the UK. You can start by searching online for motorhome insurance companies and comparing their policies and prices. You can also ask for recommendations from friends, family, or other motorhome owners.
Some of the best motorhome insurance companies in the UK include Caravan Guard, Comfort Insurance, InsureMy, and Saga Motorhome Insurance. Other insurers, of course, are also available. Do your research and obtain motorhome insurance quotes.
Fit visible physical devices that deter thieves
Physical deterrents are devices that make it harder for thieves to move or access your motorhome. Some examples are:
- Wheel clamps: These are metal devices that lock around your wheels and prevent them from turning. You need a key or a code to unlock them before you can drive away. Wheel clamps are one of the best ways to deter thieves, as they are highly visible and difficult to remove.
- Steering locks: These are metal bars that attach to your steering wheel and prevent it from turning. They also require a key or a code to unlock them. Steering locks can be used in combination with wheel clamps for extra security.
- Pedal locks: These are metal devices that lock around your pedals and prevent them from being pressed. They also need a key or a code to unlock them. Pedal locks can stop thieves from driving away with your motorhome even if they manage to break into it. Below, is a photo of our pedal lock that stops the clutch and break pedal from being pressed. It’s a very substantial piece of metal!
- Door locks: These are additional locks that you can install on your cab doors and habitation door (the door that leads to the living area) of your motorhome. They provide an extra layer of protection against thieves who try to force open or pick your existing locks.
Improve driveway security with bollards, lights and CCTV
Installing bollards can add a very handy layer of security for vehicles on your driveway or parking area, create added protection from damage by other vehicles, and improve safety by reducing vehicle-related accidents. Bollards provide a deterrent to motorhome theft and give you peace of mind.
There are several types of driveway security bollards:
- Fixed bollards
- Telescopic driveway bollards
- Removable driveway bollards
- Automatic driveway bollards
Fixed bollards are permanently installed and cannot be moved or adjusted. Telescopic bollards are the most common type of driveway security post you’ll find and can be raised or lowered as needed. Removable bollards can be taken out of the ground when not needed, while automatic bollards can be raised or lowered automatically. Many companies install driveway security bollards. One such company I found on the Internet, although I know nothing about them, is this one.
Installing security lighting outside your home also has several benefits:
- Enhanced safety: Security lights act as an initial deterrent to potential intruders and protect your property and family.
- Increased property value.
- Aesthetically pleasing.
By illuminating potential hiding spots and dark areas, criminals are less likely to target a home. It will make it more difficult for would-be criminals to operate undetected and will also make your home a less attractive target. It can also help you feel safer and more secure in your home. CCTV can also be a deterrent in preventing theft.
Mark your motorhome
Marking your motorhome means applying unique identifiers on various parts of it, such as:
- VIN (Vehicle Identification Number): This is a 17-digit code that is unique for each vehicle and is usually found on the dashboard or on the chassis. You should make sure that this number is visible and not tampered with.
- CRiS (Caravan Registration & Identification Scheme): This is a scheme that registers caravans and motorhomes in the UK using microdots (tiny dots containing unique codes) that are applied on various parts of the vehicle. You should register with this scheme if you own a caravan or a motorhome in the UK.
- Stickers: These are labels that display warnings such as “This vehicle has been marked” or “This vehicle has been fitted with an alarm/tracker” etc. You should apply these stickers on visible places such as windows or doors.
Marking your motorhome can help deter thieves who prefer unmarked vehicles, as well as help identify and trace it if it gets stolen.
Mind where you park!
This might be stating the obvious but be careful where you park your precious motorhome. I never park anywhere I don’t feel happy with. Be aware of your surroundings: Park in well-lit areas and avoid parking in isolated areas. Break-ins are more likely to occur where the thief can’t be seen so busy parking areas might be the best choice. In France and other European countries don’t be tempted to park overnight in a motorway service area. French motorway service areas are called “Aires”. Don’t confuse these “Aires” with the traditional French Aire that you find all over France. A great book that I can recommend that details all the French Aires can be found here.
Keep your valuables secure
Never leaves valuables on display in your motorhome. An even better option is to not take expensive items on a motorhome holiday such as jewellery, laptops, tablets and expensive cameras. If you have to take these things make sure that they are well hidden.
Always lock your motorhome when you’re away from it, even if you’re just stepping out for a minute. Close windows and doors: When leaving your motorhome, make sure all windows and doors are closed and secure to prevent thieves from gaining easy access to your belongings.
Bonus tip! – Use a CaSSOA rated storage facility
We store our motorhome in a CaSSOA rated storage facility. CaSSOA sites have to meet their security standards in order to achieve and maintain CaSSOA accreditation and membership. CaSSOA awards four levels of security based on a number of features including CCTV, entry points, perimeter fencing and alarm systems. Our motorhome storage features key pad operated entry through twp large gates, excellent perimeter fencing, guard dogs, CCTV and rodent protection. We are confident that our motorhome is as secure as it can be and this offers us peace of mind that our pride and joy is safe.