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Tue, 27/03/2018
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How Can You Protect Your Van From Theft?

Theft is a common concern for van drivers, and losing your van can mean losing your livelihood and days or weeks of income. In 2017 it was reported that a skeleton key was being sold online that made it easier to break into vans. The report also claimed that a van was broken into and tools were stolen every 23 minutes in the UK. It is therefore very important for owners to keep their van and its contents safe. What steps do you need to take to reduce the risk of theft, and what must you do if the worst should happen?

How Can You Prevent Van Theft?

Forgetting to do the most obvious things can make it very easy for thieves to get their hands on your tools, belongings or vehicle. Always make sure your van is locked, even if you’re only leaving it for a minute. It takes seconds for an opportunist thief to try the door and grab the contents of your van.

Along the same lines, it’s important to make sure you don’t leave anything valuable on display. Even an empty bag can be tempting for thieves in case there is something inside – even if they don’t take it, they could leave you with a broken window and repair bills.

Take all of your tools out of your van at night and store them securely elsewhere. A sticker stating that no tools are left in the van overnight could help to deter thieves. An even better solution would be to park your van in your garage overnight if you have one.

Security measures could act as a deterrent for thieves and keep your vehicle safe. These may include Thatcham approved steering, handbrake and transmission locks, and alarms. This could also help to reduce the cost of your insurance premiums. You can also buy a clamp for your catalytic converter. The catalytic converter is an emissions control system in your exhaust, which contains precious metals and could be stolen and sold as scrap by thieves.

Finally, installing a tracker won’t prevent van theft, but it can help you to get your van back if it’s stolen. A professionally-fitted tracker will be hidden from view and wired into the van, and when it is activated the signal can be traced by the police with the hopes of retrieving the vehicle and catching the criminal.

What Does Your Van Insurance Cover?

Van insurance policies may also include legal expenses cover, but a typical policy will not insure tools and other contents of your van. You may be able to pay a little extra to get contents insurance as an add-on to your policy, or you could take out separate cover for your tools. Some policies don’t cover your tools if they are left in a van overnight. It’s important to read your policy carefully so that you understand what you are covered for. It is likely that your insurer will expect you to take precautions such as keeping windows and doors locked, keeping your keys safe, and ensuring your alarm is working if you have one. Alternatively, your home contents insurance might also cover the contents of your vehicle.

What Do You Do If Your Van Or Its Contents Are Stolen?

If your van or its contents have been stolen, inform the police and your insurer. Your insurer may wait to see if the vehicle is found, but if they settle your claim and then the vehicle is found, they will keep the vehicle. If the van isn’t found, your insurer should pay you its market value. How quickly your claim is settled will depend on whether there has been any damage to your van and how extensive this damage is.

If your possessions are stolen, you may be able to make a claim on your vehicle insurance or on your home contents insurance (but not both). Read your policies carefully to find out what you’re covered for. Claiming on your home contents insurance may preserve your no claims bonus on your vehicle. Find out more about making a claim on the Citizens Advice website.