Van Security – How to Keep Tools Safe In Your Van

Tradex- Van Security

Van Security – How To Keep Tools Safe In Your Van

With the increasing growth of tradespeople and couriers, many are falling victim to theft. As many as one in three van drivers were targeted in 2022, an increase from one in four in the previous year.

Having the right commercial vehicle insurance in place will help you to recover the costs, but prevention will keep your business running smoothly, prevent loss and stop any van insurance increases when it comes to your annual renewal.

In 2022, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles commissioned a study that revealed that the rise in theft is costing workers billions of pounds in lost business and replacement tools.

The average value of a tradesperson’s tools stored in a van is £2,500, and people are often unable to work while vans are re-stocked and locks repaired, costing companies an estimated £550 a day per van.

The study also found that over half of the van drivers regularly leave their tools and equipment in vans overnight, and nearly a third do not protect them with additional alarms, secondary locks or vehicle trackers.

Tradex has witnessed an increased rise in claims for tool and van theft over the past few years. It offers full coverage as part of its commercial vehicle insurance and van fleet insurance.

To get the best deal when contacting your commercial vehicle insurance broker, it is worth investing in the best security systems for your van, as most insurers will see your well-protected van as less of a risk to cover.

Here are just some of the ways that you can protect your property and vehicles against thieves and vandals.

Planning Ahead

If you are investing in a new van, look for a modern model with the most up-to-date security features including immobilisers, intruder alarms, motion and vision sensors, onboard cameras and GPS tracking. Thatcham alarms are approved by all commercial vehicle insurance companies, Thatcham Category 1 device being the highest-rated, having both an immobiliser and an alarm. They feature perimeter and ignition detection, movement, glass break and/or tilt sensors as well as a siren powered by its own battery supply.

Mitigating Risk

Once you own a van, the next step to protecting your vehicle and its contents is thinking about where you park it overnight or when not in use. Parking in a well-lit area or in a car park with CCTV will help reduce unwanted attention. If this isn’t possible, then think about defensive parking, such as with the back or side doors of your van against a wall or railing or blocked by another vehicle. It may deter would-be thieves from attempting to break in.

Internal and External Locking

It goes without saying that tools should never be left unattended for any length of time as you never know who is around. Make sure to lock all the van’s doors and windows, even if you are just away for a few minutes.

Internally, it is advisable to store all tools on racks or bars that can be secured, preferably with specialist locks. Investing in secure storage boxes can also help to keep tools and equipment safe – check out respected brands such as Van Vault and Armorgard.

Externally, a deadlock can be one of the best ways to secure your van when it is parked overnight. As there is no spring mechanism, a deadlock is very difficult to pick by would-be thieves. For windows, adding grills, tints, foils or locks can also help to prevent break-ins.

If your job involves multiple deliveries or short stops, slam locks are advisable. Your vehicle door will automatically lock as soon as it is shut.

GPS Trackers and Steering Locks

If your van doesn’t have a GPS tracker, it is worth the investment. Most are now relatively inexpensive and can give you greater peace of mind that, even if your van is stolen, you are more likely to recover it rapidly. A private alarm can also notify your smartphone that a van has been moved.

Steering wheel locks are still very effective anti-theft devices for vans due to being high visibility deterrent. They are known as difficult to bust and win the seal of approval from Thatcham Research and the UK police force.

Catalytic Converter Lock

If your van is not locked away at night, it could become a target for its catalytic converter. Thefts are on the rise for the item’s precious metals, including platinum and palladium, that are sold as valuable scrap. A ‘cat’ lock makes removal extremely difficult.

Marking Your Property

A simple but effective way to help keep track of your tools should they be recovered is to etch or paint an identifying feature onto your tools. For anonymity, it is possible to buy ultraviolet pens which show up under specialist light conditions. Groups such as Immobilise keep a register to help police identify stolen property, as well as supply equipment to help enhance the security of any valuables.

Other Factors to Reduce Your Van Insurance

There are some elements of your commercial vehicle insurance that cannot be changed, such as your age. But, aside from security, there are a few more areas that can keep costs lower.

  • When purchasing a van, try to find one in a lower insurance group as this will automatically reduce your insurance premiums
  • Drive safely and responsibly to help build up your no-claims discount and avoid any points on your licence that will increase your premium significantly
  • Drive more carefully to minimise the risk of an accident and having to make any claims
  • Add a named driver, which can also help to reduce the cost of van insurance, but make sure you are not ‘fronting’ as this is illegal (ie, putting down the name of someone who is not the main driver to get a lower premium)
  • Consider paying annually rather than monthly
  • Increase the voluntary excess you are prepared to pay on a policy but make sure you are able to make the payment if you need to make a claim

Reduce your mileage

Ensuring You Are Covered

Despite putting into place the most high-tech preventative security measures, there is still the possibility that you could be the target of thieves. Making sure that your tools are covered as part of your business van insurance will help you to receive a quick replacement so that your business does not suffer financially from lost hours.

When you are taking out a policy with an experienced commercial vehicle insurance broker, check through all documents carefully to see exactly what is covered, what the limits and excesses are and if there are any additional conditions you must meet.

An insurance broker may specify that you fit certain recognised brands of security alarms and immobilisers as a deterrent. They will want to know how you store your tools and equipment and whether they are in a locked box or rack. In addition, you will need to provide an honest description of where your van is parked overnight if tools are to be kept in the vehicle. Some insurance brokers will not insure your equipment or tools if left in the vehicle overnight.

When looking at the value of your tools, make sure the full value is covered and update your insurance broker as you accrue more equipment of value. Also, it pays to choose new for old cover as, on some policies, age, condition and tool usage can be considered on the claim and you could end up out of pocket when replacing them.

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