Whatever the value of your caravan it is advisable to take some precautions against the risk of theft. There are many types of device on the market at the moment including hitch locks, wheel clamps and internal alarm systems. You will undoubtedly be asked to take the minimal precautions of a hitch lock and wheel clamp by your insurers as part of your policy. To help you through the minefield we know as caravan security we have pet together a guide to most of the items on the market to help you decide which are best and practical for your situation
"CRiS" is the caravan registration identification system, which was set up in 1992. Any caravan manufactured from 1992 onwards has a unique 17 digit identification number stamped onto the A-frame at the front of your caravan, you will also find this number etched into your caravan windows. In the same way as cars this VIN (vehicle identification number) is recognizable to the police and can identify the registered keeper of the caravan. With a car you get the vehicles log book when you buy it, in exactly the same way you get a registration document with any new caravan you buy and the details of owners are kept on a central computer.
This information is not only useful in identifying your caravan, it can be some useful when you are looking to buy a used caravan. For a small fee you can find out if the caravan has been reported stolen, worth checking out before you part with that hard earned cash!! When you buy the caravan you need to contact CRiS and inform them of the change in ownership, unfortunately this again has a small charge of around £10. You can find information about CRiS by following our link in the "Useful Links" section, or contact them on Tel: 01722 411430, and let them know where you found out about them!!
CRiS is ran by HPI, they can check on any connections with finance companies to find out if the caravan has any outstanding credit attached to it, if you were to buy a caravan that did have finance outstanding on it from any previous owner the finance company has the legal right to recover the caravan if it has not been paid for, which would mean you lose your caravan and all the money you invested in it. Our advice is obviously "check it out", or the caravan you bought in good faith could be taken away and you left with nothing to show for it except a large dent in your bank balance!!
Here are some scary fact about caravan security!!
If your main concern is loosing you caravan lock, stock & barrel then the most favoured means is the hitch lock, by locking of and incapacitating the towing hitch of your van, it prevents the would be thief from being able to hook up and whisk the van away. Although this does not totally immobilize your caravan, it could still be winched onto the back of a low-loader and taken away, not many opportunist thieves will try and manually haul your van away by hand. Even though the hitch lock does not deter all criminal elements we would highly recommend fitting one to protect your property, also many of the caravan insurance companies demand that this type of lock is used.
So as to totally immobilize your caravan the second most common device is the wheel clamp. Once fitted it prevents the wheels from moving hence making it impossible to be towed away or winched onto the back of a low-loader truck.
Whether you fit a fully active alarm or dummy alarms it is fair to say that just the sight of a red flashing LED on your van can often be enough deterrent to put of the opportunist thief.
Full alarm systems advantageous if you live and store your caravan in a built up area, but can prove less effective if the caravan is kept in storage where there is unlikely to be anyone around to hear the alarms sounding. If you have an alarm system fitted it is also advantageous to ensure you have a good quality, reliable power supply because if false alarms were to occur the attached battery can soon run down and render the system useless.