For many people, their van is their business - it's their mobile office, carries their tools & materials, & is their primary mode of transport - so keeping it secure is top of the list. To help you keep your van & business as secure as possible, Vanarama van expert Tom Roberts has pulled together his top security tips & advice in one place.
Over the last 4 years, the amount of van thefts in the UK have risen by nearly 50%*, so it's no wonder security is a key consideration when leasing a new van. In fact, customers discuss the same 3 questions whenever we talk to them, so let's kick off with those questions.
What Security Does A Van Already Come With?
Modern vans often feature security measures as standard features or optional extras that can be added by the manufacturer - whether that be things like alarm systems, trackers or immobilisers. Most vans should come with an alarm & immobiliser - do check they're Thatcham category 2 approved (simply means it has an immobiliser system integrated into the alarm system) - but if you want to upgrade to something more advanced, there should be plenty of options to choose from.
I understand that the decision to lease a van comes down to a lot more than just security - but knowing what you can & can't get in the shape of security from stock will dictate how much you have to invest after you get it. My advice is to compare the costs of having the options fitted before & after delivery (in most situations you're able to spread the cost across the term of your lease). At the end of the day, while you can't put a price on security, you can always get a good price.
What Extra Security Can Be Added To A Van?
As mentioned, some security features can be added as optional extras by the manufacturer before delivery, but others might not. It's important to find out what can & can't be fitted to enhance your van's security.
Again, my advice is to compare the costs of manufacturer & private fittings of extra security measures - or find out if the cost can be spread out.
What Types Of Locks Can Be Added To A Van?
Most vans I see on the roads have extra locks installed on them & customers often ask what types are available, so here's the top 4:
Slamlocks : These locks lock themselves automatically when you close a door - perfect for couriers or short-drop drivers.
Stoplocks: This type of lock links both sides of a door together making it hard to use a crowbar or pry bar to break in.
Deadlocks: This kind of unsprung lock is manually locked & unlocked by a separate key - it works in exactly the same way as a deadlock on your front door.
Lock Covers: These covers stop thieves from being able to target weak spots on your vans existing locks - can cost a bit but are worth it.
Top 6 Van Security Tips
There's plenty of information above to start you off with above, but there's just a few more bits of practical advice I would offer any van driver - 4 van security best-practices to help keep your van secure:
1. Don't Leave Tools & Valuables In Your Van
Sounds like a no-brainer, right? I hate these articles to come across like teaching Grandma to suck eggs, but it's worth adding here. Simply put, where possible, avoid leaving tools & valuables in your van overnight. I know it's easier said than done in some cases, but removing tools overnight is a major deterrent to potential thieves.
2. Remove Ladders & External Storage Overnight
Dovetailing nicely with the tip above is another no-brainer - if you do have any kind of external storage or ladders mounted on your vehicle, remove or empty them when you leave your van overnight. Again, it's easier said than done, but worth it for the peace of mind that your property is secure.
3. Keep A List Of The Things In Your Van
For your own peace of mind as much for insurance purposes, keep a list of everything you keep in your van (with photos). That way it's easier to spot a theft or missing item quickly & you have recorded data to better claim insurance or replace the item. Vanarama can help with all types of insurance & bolt-ons, just saying.
4. Use A UV Pen To Mark Items
Most people will check tools being sold second-hand for UV markings that don't match the seller (which usually indicates they're stolen property). So, make it easier to identify your tools in the unfortunate event they get stolen by marking them with your business name or address in UV ink.
5. Park Your Van In A Safe Location
Parking you van outside your house, on your driveway or in a garage is best, but somewhere well-lit if you have to park on the road is good too. Lots of people have taken to buying CCTV cameras to monitor their vans overnight - some have even bought fake cameras which are just as good a deterrent. Motion-detecting lights are also a great investment to fit outside your house - no potential thief wants to suddenly be in the spotlight!
6. Make Sure You Have The Right Van Insurance
Most van insurance policies won't offer contents insurance, but bolt-on insurance products can be bought for very little extra which specifically cover tools, devices, key loss & more. Robust insurance can really help you stay focused on your business rather than constantly worrying about what to do if the worst happens.
If you're currently on the lookout for a new van, head over to our van leasing special offers page where you can choose between the best deals on small, medium or large vans – whatever suits your business best.