Top 10 van security tips

Ford Fiesta Van facelift
14 May, 2014 11:15am Steve Walker

10 expert tips on how to improve your van’s security

Vans are valuable things. There’s the intrinsic value of the van itself, the value of the tools or materials inside and the value to your business of the van as a working vehicle. All of this means that van security should be a top priority for everyone who owns or runs a van.

Get your van security right and you protect your investment in your vehicle and its contents. You could even lower your insurance costs by investing in some of the latest security measures. 

Many insurers offer policies specifically tailored around the needs of van users. These can help reduce the inconvenience that stems from your vehicle being targeted by criminals after the event but it’s far better to prevent the worst happening in the first place. With a few simple measures it’s possible to dramatically improve the security of your van.

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Top 10 tips for improving your van security

1: Prioritise security when choosing your van

There’s a lot to consider when choosing a new van for your business but don’t let security slip down the list. Most modern vans offer a good range of security features but if they’re not standard, consider specifying alarms, immobilisers and van deadlocks from the options list.

Even the basic configuration of your new van can impact its security. Think about whether or not you want glazed rear doors - they’re useful for visibility, but they let everyone see what’s stored in the vehicle. Opting for a solid or mesh interior bulkhead is another way of protecting your van’s cargo.   

Ford Transit under seat storage

2: Modify the van to your needs

There’s a lot you can do to boost a van’s security beyond its basic specification. There’s a thriving market in add-on security features for commercial vehicles that will suit the way different operators use their vehicles. Lockable toolboxes for valuable equipment and upgraded deadlocks or slamlocks for doors are amongst the most popular aftermarket options.

3: Invest in the latest security technology

Most new vans will come with an alarm and immobiliser as standard. These systems should be Thatcham Category 2 approved but check that this is the case. From that basic level of protection, there’s the option of upgrading to more advanced electronic alarm systems or even a vehicle-tracking device.

Electronic GPS trackers can vastly improve the chances of recovering your vehicle if it is stolen and have the potential to lower your insurance premiums when fitted to your van.

4: Cheaply upgrade the security on your van

You don’t need to spend a fortune on a new van packed with the latest security features to protect it against crime. Simple, affordable measures can make a big difference.

Steering wheel locks, hand brake locks, blacked-out rear windows, lockable fuel filler caps and locking wheel nuts are all relatively cheap ways to deter opportunistic thieves. Even stickers warning that tools aren’t left in the vehicle overnight are worth considering.

5: Don’t forget the cat

While you’re busy protecting what’s inside your van, don’t forget what’s underneath it. Thefts of catalytic converters from vehicles are on the rise as criminals target the valuable precious metals inside these components.

Vans are particularly vulnerable thanks to catalytic converters that tend to be larger and easier to access than those of cars. Various catalytic converter anti-theft devices are available and it’s well worth having one installed on your van.   

6: Use your van locks

You can have the most advanced van security system in the world but it won’t do you any good if you don’t lock your van. It sounds obvious but forgetting to properly secure your vehicle, even if you only leave it for a minute, is an open invitation to criminals. Check that all the windows are shut and doors locked every time you leave your van. 

7: Don’t leave valuables inside your van

The best way to stop valuable tools or equipment being stolen from your van is not to leave them there in the first place. Remove what you can from the vehicle and ensure anything you can’t remove is kept safely out of sight. That goes for mobile phones and sat-nav devices in the cab as much as it does for tools in the load bay.

Fiat Doblo Cargo left side doors open

8: Think about where you park

Don’t park your van where a thief can gain easy access to it without being disturbed. Whether you’re leaving the van for a few minutes to make a delivery or parking up for the night, always aim for busy, well-lit areas and preferably those covered by CCTV.

If you park your van at home or at work, there are measures you can take to improve the security of the parking area. Security lighting, gates or lockable bollards will all help deter thieves.

9: Keep a record of what’s in your van

If the worst comes to the worst and your van is broken into it’s very useful to know exactly what’s been taken. Keep a record of the items that you keep in the vehicle to help when making any insurance claims. It’s also useful to have the receipts for expensive items to hand.

It’s also worth thinking about adding security tags to any valuable equipment to improve your chances of it being recovered.

10: Make your staff aware of van security

A good van security regime is only as strong as its weakest link. Employers may take every sensible security measure to protect their vans but if they don’t communicate the importance of security effectively to the people who’ll be driving them, it may all go to waste. If other people will be using your van, make sure they take the same precautions that you would.  

Find out how to get the best van insurance deal here

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