Ensuring your van is secure

Safety and insurance

14 June 2017

Thieves are once more targeting parked vans in search of valuable tools and equipment they can sell on quickly. There have been spates of break-ins reported in Lincolnshire and Hertfordshire to name just a few, and van owners would be wise to act now to protect their livelihoods.

Fortunately, there are plenty of measures you can take to avoid the cost and missed work that results from losing the tools of your trade due to a van break in.

Minimising risk

To protect your van, you first need to get it out of harm’s way. That means keeping it out of sight and free of temptation as much as you possibly can. There are a few simple steps that can help you here.

  • Park in a secure garage or car park.
  • Check doors are definitely locked before leaving the van.
  • Empty your van of tools at night.
  • Plan ahead to identify safe parking and tool placement while you’re working on a job.
  • Be mindful of potential opportunists when you’re on site.
  • Stay alert to new theft tactics like electronic key cloning through the news and trade press.
  • If you manage a fleet, ensure the whole team knows your security policies.

Protecting property

If you know there are active van thieves in your area, you may want to take your security measures up a notch.

  • Display stickers announcing that tools aren’t stored in the van overnight.
  • Ensure your alarm and immobiliser are Thatcham rated.
  • Fit extra chains and locks for toolboxes and tools kept inside the van.
  • Consider professionally fitted extras like slamlocks and deadlocks.
  • Use visible steering wheel or handbrake locks to deter thieves.

Extras like these could help to make your van more secure, but remember to always have any upgrades to your van carried out professionally, and make your insurer aware of any modifications, as they could have an impact on your policy.

Planning for the worst

In some instances, there is little even the most careful owners can do to stop van break-ins. If you want to minimise the disruption they can cause, you should prepare for the worst case scenario by ensuring tools can be identified as stolen and subsequently recovered or replaced. Here are a few ways to make that easier.

  • Keep a written or electronic record of everything stored in the van.
  • Register high-value equipment with manufacturers' websites online.
  • Mark your valuables with UV pens or engravings.
  • Install GPS trackers onto the van and its more valuable contents.
  • Invest in van insurance and make sure you know what it covers. You may need to take out separate cover for any tools or equipment you carry in it.

Protecting your assets is a vital part of your business. A break-in on your van means losing time and money, so it’s wise to guard your property against any unexpected incidents. Van insurance from AXA can help you do this, with options available to suit every business.