Alarming rise in caravan and campervan theft

What you need to know about keeping your vehicle safe.

We’re getting to that glorious time of year when you can blow the cobwebs off your caravan or motorhome and think about a relaxing break. After months of keeping your leisure vehicle safely stored away, it’s exciting to get back on the open road, ready for adventure.

But as we reach prime holiday season, police are warning campers about a worrying rise in theft. Whether you’re a seasoned traveller or it’s your first time towing a caravan, you can never be too careful. We’re keeping tabs on what the latest security advice is and have compiled a useful list of tips for motorhome and caravan owners this summer.

Why is motorhome and caravan theft on the rise?

North Yorkshire Police is the latest team to issue a warning to holidaymakers, after a spate of thefts and attempted thefts across the county in recent weeks. But this issue is not just limited to the Yorkshire region, unfortunately.

Forces across the country, including Essex and North Wales, often remind residents about the importance of keeping your caravan or motorhome as safe and protected as possible. Unfortunately, thieves are determined, and there may always be some level of risk. The Camping and Caravanning Club believe that some may even be ‘stolen to order’.

There’s continuing high demand for caravans and motorhomes, and thieves will look to resell stolen vehicles for a lofty price – or break down and sell the parts to make their crime pay. As well as stealing vehicles, thieves may also seek valuable items inside. There could be plenty of expensive kit such as caravan TVs, sports equipment, or gadgets inside, so it’s a win-win for them – and a lose-lose for you!

How to keep your caravan or motorhome safe

Security measures can not only act as a visual deterrent for thieves but may also slow them down if they do try to steal your caravan or motorhome. There are also ways of tracking and tracing your vehicle.

The police recommend taking the following steps to keep your vehicle safe this summer:

  1. Install CCTV where you park your caravan, and potentially inside the vehicle too.
  2. Block access to your garden, driveway or garage with locks and/or a parking post.
  3. Install security devices such as an alarm, immobiliser and tracking device.
  4. Use steering, wheel, and pedal locks. Make sure these are very visible deterrents.
  5. Keep all keys locked safely in your home, well away from doors and windows.
  6. Take out any removable items from inside, especially valuable and desirable items, especially if they’re visible through a window.
  7. Have your vehicle, and any expensive property inside security marked. Your local Neighbourhood Policing Team can help with this, ring 101 as a first port of call.
  8. Keep a selection of good quality photos of your vehicle, which police can use to help identify your vehicle if it were stolen and recovered.
  9. Report any suspicious activity around your vehicle to the police, so they can take action straight away.
  10. Contact the police with your Vehicle Identification Number if your caravan or motorhome is stolen.

How to spot a stolen caravan?

If you are thinking of buying a caravan, or perhaps replacing your current model, there are a few tell-tale signs of a dodgy dealer.

Take a look at the CRiS number, which should be displayed on at least seven of the windows and stamped into the chassis. Thieves are aware this unique number identifies the caravan, so signs of damage to it could be an indication that things aren’t what they seem.

What’s more, when purchasing a caravan, make sure you are given the original registration document and ask the seller for a written receipt to confirm ownership is transferred to you. It should show:

  • The buyer’s full name and address
  • The seller’s full name and address
  • The make, model and 17-digit ID number of the caravan
  • The date
  • The price paid
  • Signatures of both parties

Look out for other discrepancies such as mismatching wheels or damage to the towing hitch. The way modern caravans are now built, it could be an indication that something is amiss.

What insurance is best for my caravan or motorhome?

There are many types of leisure insurance, from standard caravan to more specialised cover depending on whether you have a touring or static caravan. Insurance isn’t a requirement for caravans, but it is for motorhomes.

To use your motorhome, you must be insured, just as you would insure a car or any other vehicle you drive. This protects your motorhome against risks such as theft, collisions, damage and liability, whilst also ensuring you don’t leave yourself out of pocket in the event of an incident. The only time you don’t need a motorhome policy is if you officially declare that the vehicle is off the road and by applying for a SORN (Statutory Off-Road Notification).

And although caravan insurance isn’t legally required, it really is recommended. Caravan insurance protects touring caravan and static caravan owners financially against the costs of replacements or damage, should an unfortunate accident or incident happen.

For example, in the unlucky event that your caravan is stolen, then you could make a claim with your insurance company so that you wouldn’t need to pay out of your own pocket to get the caravan replaced and can carry on enjoying your holidays.

As a specialist broker, at Howden Insurance we have fantastic relationships with our selected panel of specialist and standard caravan insurers. That means we can do the hard work of finding the right cover to suit you, so that you can kick back, and relax, knowing your adventures are protected.

Find your nearest Howden branch, where our expert insurance advisors will be happy to help!

Sources: Practical Caravan, York Press, Camping and Caravanning Club