Guide to Caravan Security
If you’ve just purchased a caravan or are thinking of buying one soon, you might be wondering what you can do to keep it safe and secure both when you’re on the road and when it’s in storage. Buying a caravan is a big purchase after all and you’ll want to do everything you can to dissuade any potential thieves from stealing the contents of your caravan or the caravan itself.
Luckily, there have been some big improvements over the years when it comes to caravan security in the initial build of the vehicle. More sophisticated locks and tougher construction materials mean that it’s now more difficult to break into a caravan. If you’re looking at purchasing a used caravan, you may need to do a bit more research when it comes to the security you need to install.
There are some great devices available to dissuade thieves and to track a stolen caravan. There’s also the added bonus that by installing sufficient security, you could find the overall price of your annual insurance premium could go down. In this article, we’ll look at some of these devices to help you decide what best suits your needs.
The first thing you’ll want to think about is trying to dissuade any thieves from attempting to steal your caravan or possessions inside the caravan in the first place. The best way to do this is to get a robust alarm system installed. Alarms are great for deterring opportunist thieves who will usually give up on a caravan with an alarm installed in order to look for an easier target. Sometimes, all that’s needed is a sticker in one of the windows saying that an alarm is installed.
What features should an alarm include?
At the very least, you’ll want to look for an alarm that is able to monitor movement, typically using a Passive Infra-Red detector (PIR). This will deliver an audible warning if anyone is trying to gain entry to your caravan. This should operate immediately upon the detection of an intruder.
Most caravan alarms will also include a tilt sensor which will activate if someone tries to drive away with your caravan.
Some alarms also feature perimeter detection which will warn you of any unexpected movement near your caravan. This could give you a bit more warning of an attempted robbery.
You’ll want to make sure there’s a backup battery power supply, especially if you store your caravan for long periods of time. Some can even be programmed to send you a message via your phone if power is running low.
If you’ve got a pet who comes with you in the caravan, look out for alarms with a ‘pet setting’. This can be enabled to prevent your pet from setting off the alarm. Similarly, some alarms come with a ‘sleep mode’, so you can have the alarm on at night when you’re using it without the risk of setting it off accidentally.
Installing a caravan alarm
If you’re well versed in the world of DIY, you may well be able to set up the alarm yourself. Be cautious if it seems too simple to install. Cheaper alarms tend to be easier to fit but are often easier to disable too. A well-prepared thief might get the better of it in a matter of seconds.
In most cases, it's recommended that a professional comes to install the system for you. They will usually be able to give you some advice on the right models to go for.
Caravan Tracking Devices
In addition to an alarm you’ll want to look at tracking devices. If a thief has managed to steal your caravan despite your alarm system, you’re going to want to be able to track it down. These systems are becoming more and more popular as the technology is improving and more stolen caravans are being recovered rapidly after a theft has been detected.
If your caravan spends a lot of time in storage, it is certainly recommended that you get a tracking device fitted as it could be a while before the theft is identified if the vehicle is not in use for long periods of time. There are various types of trackers available. To give you an idea of the best models on the market, here’s an overview of some of the devices we recommend at Adventure Leisure Vehicles:
Phantom PRO 3 Caravan Tracking System
Phantom has built up an excellent reputation over 15 years of producing tracking systems. The PRO 3 system is able to provide the location of your caravan to within an 8-foot range of accuracy, so you can check it’s safe wherever you are, provided you have an internet connection.
If the tracking system detects a theft, the 24-hour call centre will get in touch with you immediately. If your caravan has been stolen, Phantom will liaise with the police in order to arrange the recovery of your caravan as quickly as possible.
Automatrics provide a range of tracking devices, suitable for all sorts of vehicles. They are trusted worldwide and the MTrack is particularly suited for caravans. These self-powered devices have batteries with up to five-years’ life and can be hidden away in the caravan’s interior.
Automatrics’ service has the “Police CPI Secured By Design” UK police approved specification. It’s the only Stolen Vehicle Recovery provider with a replaceable battery to have this. It also boasts a UK national and INternational agreement with the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS). This has resulted in an impressive 98% recovery record.
To find out more about the devices we recommend and provide at Adventure Leisure Vehicles, visit our Caravan & Motorhome Tracking Devices page, or get in touch via one of the methods listed on our contact page for more advice and up to date pricing.
There are wheel clamps available, however, it is generally recommended that these are used as a precaution in addition to an alarm system. Some of the clamps available aren’t robust enough to provide sufficient protection against thieves and are largely useful in slowing down their getaway. If you are considering purchasing a wheel clamp, make sure the one you choose can’t be removed by simply deflating the tyre.
Check the Stolen Vehicle Databases Before You Buy
Before you purchase a second-hand caravan, you’ll want to make sure that it hasn’t been stolen. All touring caravans manufactured by NCC members since 1992 have a unique 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) marked on their chassis and windows. These are recorded in the CRiS database and enables you to identify a vehicle and check its history. Since 1997 all new caravans manufactured by NCC members have also been electronically tagged.