How to keep your caravan safe from thieves
When the summer is over many caravan users will leave their vehicles sitting on the driveway or parked in an out-of-the-way spot throughout the winter months.
Caravan security is hugely important while caravans are unused or little-visited and keeping them secure and safe and secure from thieves and intruders is a significant concern of owners.
There are many caravan security products on the market, from wheel clamps to security locks for caravan doors all of which can make a caravan more challenging to break into or to tow away.
With so many caravan security devices on offer, it can be difficult to decide which is the best. As with most things you generally get what you pay for, but it pays to carry out some research before buying and to check if a caravan security product has been independently tested or reviewed.
Hitch locks fit over the caravan towing hitch and use assembly fixing bolts to prevent your caravan being hauled away by a vehicle other than your own.
Caravan hitch locks are a handy device for keeping a caravan or trailer secure, creating a significant obstacle for potential thieves.
Hitch locks can make it difficult or even impossible for a thief to hook up your caravan or trailer and drive it away, giving peace of mind that your caravan is safe when you're not there.
Although hitch locks are more than just a visual deterrent to thieves, it is not a good idea to use them as the sole security device on your caravan.
Caravan security hitch locks are usually used in conduction with other devices to provide reasonable levels of protection.
Some insurance companies even require that a hitch lock be fitted along with something like a wheel clamp as a condition of their policies.
Wheel clamps are often used alongside hitch locks to provides minimum conditions for caravan security and are often required as the minimum form of protection by caravan insurers.
Clamp fit over the caravan wheels to prevent them from rotating and so help prevent the caravan being towed away illegally.
Some clamps sold as caravan security devices can leave wheel nuts exposed so the clamp can be removed along with the wheel, so it can be worth investing in using locking wheel nuts as well as clamps.
Caravan security wheel clamps come in various sizes, and some may not be suitable for alloy wheels so do some research to ensure you have the correct wheel clamp type and size for your caravan.
It is also with checking the strength of the material used in the manufacture of the clamp. The stronger and thicker the material the better but expect to pay more for extra security.
Also, bear in mind that a wheel clamp made of the highest grade steel is not much use if it is secured with a cheap lock that can be easily broken.
Some caravan owners prefer to remove the wheels completely when the caravan is not being used and to replace them with wheel stands.
Although wheel stands are a useful security measure be aware that some insurance companies insist on wheel clamps being used and the use of stands could invalidate a policy.
Caravan security posts are usually concreted into the ground and anchored the caravan using a heavy duty chain and secure padlock.
External padlocks can be vulnerable to attack so for maximum security the posts should not only be set deep in concrete but also include an internal locking mechanism.
Some caravan posts have tow-balls set on the top so the caravan can be hitched to the post and locked in place.
Again the strength of materials used in the construction of caravan security posts is crucial to their effectiveness in preventing thieves from towing a vehicle away.
Caravan security does not just concern preventing theft of the vehicle but also in protecting against a break-in for reasons of theft or criminal damage.
There is a wide range of security devices that can be fitted to a caravan to deter and prevent break-ins.
Caravan security devices range from small alarms fitted to doors and windows, to security sensors that can detect vibration or internal movement.
It is essential to make sure that a fitted caravan alarm is reliable as false alarms can not only be a nuisance but can increase the risk of being ignored if there is a genuine criminal act.
Some caravan alarms can now be linked to a home alarm system or connected to a tracker device if it has been fitted.
It is now becoming more common to install GPS tracking devices inside the caravan which can be linked by wireless to a central database.
If your caravan is stolen, it provides the opportunity to track its movements through a control centre and eventually be located and recovered.
There are various grades of caravan tracking systems; some give an alert if the caravan is moved and new technologies mean a vehicle can be tracked even if it is parked in a container or underground.
Caravan tracking system installation can result in reduced insurance premiums, but many insurers will insist that systems are installed and maintained by a professional UKAS accredited security alarm company such as Crown Securities UK Ltd.
Many owners have their caravans registered with the Caravan Registration and Identification Scheme CRIS which keeps a national register of caravans in the UK.
All UK caravans manufactured since 1992 automatically get a CRIS number etched into the body of the caravan.
If a stolen caravan is recovered or sold, a CRIS number allows the genuine owner to be traced and contacted.
When buying a used caravan, it is highly advisable to contract CRIS to confirm that it is a genuine purchase and that the caravan has not been registered as stolen.
Caravan owners are also strongly advised to keep any registration documents in a safe place at home and not in the caravan itself.
As an additional security measure, some owners mark the caravan roof with the last six digits of the CRIS number so it can be easily spotted from the air.
The owner may also use the CRIS number to mark caravan fixtures and fittings with an ultra-violet security pen.
No caravan security device on the market will guarantee that your caravan will not be broken into or stolen.
However, caravan security products can deter, hamper and usually prevent theft and break-ins if installed wisely and maintained adequately.
It is better to fit more than one security device to your caravan and generally, the more you spend, the less likely you are to suffer from theft or damage.