man in front of a van

Tips on how to keep your van secure

Good van security is about two things: preventing your van or any of its equipment from being stolen in the first place; and maximising your chances of getting it back if the worst does happen. Vans and the contents within are expensive to replace, so it can cause a lot of unnecessary hassle and stress if thieves break in. It’s easier than you might think to prevent van theft, so let’s look at some of the most important measures that you can take to keep your van out of the wrong hands.

Choose a van that is already secure

At the top of the list when it comes to van security ideas is to make sure that you consider security features carefully right from the start. The stage at which you are considering which van to buy is the best time to be thinking about how to keep your van secure because you can factor security into your purchasing decisions.

All vans manufactured after 1998 in the UK should come with an alarm and a Thatcham-approved immobiliser as standard.

Some modern vans can be connected to an app that offers a GPS location service, allowing you to see where it is located at any time, so this might be a feature for which you could look out.

Avoid vans with rear windows that could allow thieves to peek in and see what you’re storing in there. A solid or steel mesh bulkhead situated between the cab and load area is also necessary to prevent the front from offering a window of insight into the contents of the load area.

Get security modifications for your van

When it comes to van security, you’ll want to take a proactive approach. There are several modifications that you can make to keep your van secure.

It’s usually not that hard for thieves to pick a van lock if it’s simply left the way in which it was fitted by the manufacturer, so it’s a very good idea to fit a slam lock or dead lock, always looking for one that is Thatcham-approved. You have two main options:

  • Slam locks – A slam lock integrates itself into the existing locking mechanism on your van and makes sure that the doors automatically lock whenever the doors close. This is particularly useful for courier drivers, who are constantly in and out of their vans.
  • Deadlocks – Unlike slam locks, a deadlock operates separately from the locking mechanism the van already has in place. The deadlock works by throwing the bolt into a receiver, which is fitted into the opposing body section, and this is operated by an external key. A deadbolt will only lock when you manually turn the key in the lock, but they do still greatly enhance your van’s security and help to prevent van theft. If a thief tries to break into your van by breaking the lock, they will then have to contend with the deadlock system as well, which is no small task.

Prevent drilling with a lock protection plate

Once you’ve made sure that the locks themselves are extra-secure, you may want to consider getting a lock protection plate as well.

Thieves commonly gain entry to a van by drilling a hole above the door handle or lodging a screwdriver between the handle and the main vehicle body. They can then get to the back of the lock and lever it open.

This is easy to prevent. All you need is a stainless-steel lock-protection plate secured in this area of the van. It’s a great deterrent, showing a thief clearly that there’s no point even attempting to break your lock by that method.

Get window film to prevent window-smashing

You’re also going to want to prevent thieves from smashing the windows in the front of your van to gain access. You can buy window film fairly cheaply and it can be placed on both the inside and outside of your windows – holding the smashed glass in place so that it won’t give way, despite thieves’ best efforts.

And if you have keyless locking, it’s still possible for a thief to bypass this system. To stop a thief from stealing the signal from your key, keep it away from walls and windows when you’re indoors. You can buy metal boxes and signal-blocking pouches that store your keys and stop thieves from being able to relay the signal and break in; these are cheap to buy.

Secure your catalytic converter

Due to supply-chain issues, catalytic converters are sought after by thieves to sell on the black market. If yours gets stolen, it could cost you as much as £2,000-£3,000 to replace.

The RAC recommends asking a garage to add a serial number to your catalytic converter, meaning that, if it goes missing and ends up with a trusted dealer, there’s a higher chance that you may be able to retrieve it. When it’s been given a serial number, you can also obtain a window sticker for your car declaring that your catalytic converter has been marked.

Further to this, there are several tools that you can add to your vehicle to keep the catalytic converter firmly in place in your van’s exhaust system. You might want to consider purchasing a catloc, cat clamp or, at the cheaper end of the scale, a steel wire rope with clamps to attach the ends to the van’s frame.

Park carefully overnight

Being thoughtful about where you park your van overnight is also a simple way to reduce the risk of crime. Thieves are less likely to target vehicles parked in well-lit areas and, if you can park somewhere that has CCTV coverage, that’s an extra bonus. If you have concerns about the area where you’re going to park your van, you could even invest in home CCTV.

Avoid parking with two wheels on the pavement, as this makes it easier for thieves to access your catalytic converter.

Protect your contents

When it comes to parking overnight, it’s advisable to protect your van’s contents by bringing them indoors.

Protect the valuable items that you frequently carry in your van by writing your postcode on them in a UV pen. This makes it easier for the police to identify them as yours if they are ever discovered as stolen goods.

And lastly, keep a record of the inventory that you carry in your van, along with all receipts indicating how much you paid for them. This should make it much easier for you to file an insurance claim if ever needed.

Get covered by insurance

If you’re using a van on a short-term basis, it’s just as important to practice good van security. You will also need to be covered by a comprehensive temporary insurance policy. This will give you the peace of mind that you need to use your van for the duration of the time you have it.

Our temporary van insurance is highly flexible, meaning that you can get covered for one hour, a day, a weekend or even a whole month.

Get a quote today and arrange your cover in a straightforward process that could take as little as 15 minutes.