A van is broken into every 23 minutes in the UK. It’s a sobering statistic for every business operator, fleet manager or those involved in the motor trade business. For many, your van reflects your livelihood and safeguarding it and its contents with motor trade insurance can spell the difference between business success or failure. But some simple precautions could also help you minimise the risk of theft or damage.
In 2016 the cost of tool theft claims across the trade industry was £2.8million. By 2017 there was a 30% increase, with insurers recording that the average value of a tool theft claim being £1,626. In a BBC investigation, all UK police forces reported that while there were 14,063 thefts of tools from vehicles in 2014/15, that had risen to 22,749 in the year 2016/17 - a rise of two-thirds.
If you’re keeping your expensive and essential tools in your van, it’s important that you take steps to keep them safe. Here are some easy steps you can take to help protect the security of your van.
If you’re in the motor trade business, and especially considering a fleet purchase, security should be top priority when buying your commercial van. Most modern models offer a good selection of security features to protect your van such as immobilisers, intruder alarms, motion and vision sensors, onboard cameras and GPS tracking. Alarms that are rated Thatcham CAT 1 are the highest-rated alarm systems currently available.
Lock and Load
Make sure that all of your van’s doors and windows are locked when you’re outside the vehicle, even if it’s for just a short time. You might just be popping out, but as thieves become more refined, it can take them no time to steal your valuables.
Inside the van itself, ensure that all your tools are properly secured, preferably with padlocks. Consider internal racks or bars to which you could fit specialist locks to make your tools as tough as possible to remove from the vehicle. You should definitely do some research into different types of locks to work out which is right for you. There are loads on the market.
Windows are often a weak point for van theft, as they tend to be the easiest part of the vehicle to gain entry. The ‘peel and steal method’ is where thieves use their bodyweight to ‘peel’ the van open and then lift the top of the side door open to reveal any tools located in therein. It’s a method that resembles opening a tin of sardines – and a trick many tradesmen have now become aware of. To avoid this, you could consider fitting grills or window tints.
When parking your van, even for a short time, you should think carefully about where you stop. Parking with the back or side doors against a wall or railings could help to ensure that they can’t be forced open.
A lot of people take their van to their homes overnight. Make sure you park in well-lit areas with lots of pedestrian foot traffic, and ideally with CCTV cameras in sight. It’s important that your motor trade insurance covers you for when the van is parked at your home rather than a secure depot.
Next month, we’ll look at some of the best van security products on the market to help protect you and your business. For van and contents insurance advice call Tradex on 01708 678 400