Motorhome Security: Top Tips To Avoid Theft
Your motorhome will no doubt have been a large financial investment for you. The last thing you want is for it to be stolen, or broken into. In this blog we will look at some of the best preventative measures you can take.
Make Your Motorhome Less Attractive To Thieves
There is a saying that “if they want it, they will have it”. Whilst this is true, it is also true that thieves will steal the easiest motorhome they can. There is less chance of them being caught and they can be on their way with their ill gotten gains. The key factor to securing you motorhome is to make it the least attractive to thieves.
The most simple precautions you can take cost nothing. Make sure you close all your windows, lock all your doors and do not leave valuables on show. It may sound obvious but I am sure we have all been guilty of not doing these things at some point.
The second precaution is to use visual deterrents. These include security devices, windscreen etching and security tagging. The cost of these varies but we will look at a few recommended devices shortly.
Invest in non-visual security devices such as alarms, immobilisers and trackers. Some manufactures will fit these as standard but if not they are a sound investment. Most insurance companies will require a level of security fitted, depending on the value of your motorhome.
Look at where you store your motorhome. It is more likely to be stolen whilst left in storage than when you are asleep in it, on a touring site. For more information about secure storage visit the CaSSOA website.
If you store your motorhome at home, we will look at some steps you can take to improve the security there.
Motorhome Security Locks and Devices
The Bulldog Wheel Clamp will fit most motorhome alloy wheels, with a tyre width up to 220mm. It offers a cost effective security option, is lightweight and easy to fit.
If you want to bulk up your wheel clamp security, for example in storage, then the Bulldog CA2000C Centaur Wheel Clamp is ideal. This wheel clamp is tested to Sold Secure standards and comes with a five year warranty.
Steering Wheel Locks
Steering wheel locks are an excellent visual deterrent and they work.
We have tested two types of steering wheel lock and found them both to be robust and easy to use.
The first is the Maypole Stronghold MP5494 steering wheel lock, costing between £40-50, it offers a good level of protection. We have reviewed this for our website and on YouTube.
The second is a more compact version, ideal for when you are touring. This is the Maypole Steering Wheel Overdash Lock, costing around £20.
Clutch or Pedal Locks
Clutch locks work by securing the clutch and brake pedals together.
The Centinel Clutch Claw has resisted testing using a professional car thief for more than 30 minutes. They are available for VW Transporters and a range of base vehicles, including Fiat Ducato, Mercedes and Peugeot Boxer. The claw also comes with flashing LED and window stickers to warn off thieves. This device costs around £119.
Motorhome Alarms, Immobilisers and Trackers
Let’s take a look at tracking devices, if your motorhome doesn’t have one here are a few you should consider. Trackers are rated based on accreditation through Thatcham. Founded in 1969 by a leading group of insurers, Thatcham Research is an independent non-profit making research centre. Its roots are in vehicle safety, but in 1990 it expanded into vehicle security, announcing categories for alarms and immobiliser. This includes tracking systems for vehicles too. There are currently two main Thatcham accreditations for trackers.
A Category S7 device is an asset location system, to increase the probability of the recovery of a stolen asset. A Category S5 device is a vehicle tracking system. It will detect unauthorised use of a protected vehicle and increase the probability of the recovery of a stolen vehicle.
A vehicle alarm and immobiliser should be Thatcham Category One. This means it has been tested and certified to Thatcham standards and will meet the requirements of insurance companies. Modern motorhomes should already have a manufacturers immobiliser fitted.
Phantom Sentinel – Thatcham S7 Approved
The Phantom Sentinel is Phantom’s leading motorhome product, comprising a Thatcham category 1 alarm and approved tracking system. It offers protection of cab and habitation doors, plus bonnet, with internal ultrasonic sensors.
For many base vehicles, it will integrate with the remote control key to arm/disarm and set for night time or pet mode. It can also be upgraded to make it a Thatcham S5 device.
Sentinel comes with a smartphone app with battery monitoring. Enhanced app functionality means you can remotely arm or disarm or lock or unlock your vehicle, or simply check on its status. The Phantom Sentinel will cost around £699 plus a monthly tracker subscription.
The HAL-Locate is Thatcham S7 approved and claims 100% success rate in recoveries after a theft. It offers a priority monitoring service across the UK and Europe. The device operates using GPS, GPRS and GMS technology. Having an inbuilt battery backup, the device can remain active even if the vehicle power supply is disconnected.
The system automatically arms itself if your vehicle is left stationary for over two hours. You can also control the tracker via a Smartphone with the HAL-Locate App.
HAL-Locate can be bought and fitted via several UK motorhome and caravan dealers, as well as a nationwide group of approved installers.
You can install the HAL-Locate from £260, including VAT and installation charges. The price includes access to the Hal-Locate App and a two-year subscription to a UK-Based European wide monitoring service.
Outsmart The Thief
Outsmart The Thief offer their own package of alarm and tracker, known as Lockdown. Whilst this system is not Thatcham S7 or S5 certified, it does claim an excellent success rate against electronic theft. The system comes with a high level of features and is fitted for £649. The annual subscription is additional to this but offers 24 hour cover. Lockdown is accepted by Safeguard, Lifesure, Caravan Guard and CAMC (Caravan and Motorhome Club) Insurance, to name a few and is highly regarded by its motorhome customers.
It is worth mentioning here an added level of security offered by CRiS. This is VIN Chip. VIN Chip allows you to add tamper proof window labels and hidden chips to your motorhome. The package costs £34.99 and can be ordered direct from Cris. Not only is VIN Chip a deterrent, if your motorhome is stolen it will assist in the identification of it by Police.
Home Storage Security
A security post on your driveway is another visible security measure. It could make a thief think twice about trying to steal your motorhome.
They’re cheap to buy but they will need fitting to your driveway. There are a number of variations including telescopic, removable and fold down – which are locked into the ground to create a robust barrier to secure your vehicle behind.
They’re also easily removed when you need to drive your motorhome away.
Manufacturers of these posts include Bulldog, Sentinel and NKGroup.
Home CCTV System
Whilst is might not be an insurance requirement, a home CCTV system can offer peace of mind. Not only will it allow you to monitor your motorhome, but when you are away touring you can keep an eye on your home. The Ring CCTV system is effective and reliable. We fitted this system ourselves in January and have been very pleased with it. The benefits include cameras that don’t have to be hard wired, and a subscription service that covers the theft of your actual cameras – should the worse happen. We produced a vlog of the Ring system which shows the benefits of it and the installation.
Make Sure You Are Insured!
Your motorhome is a motor vehicle and will need to be insured, by law, to drive it on a road or highway. Third party cover is a basic requirement, but that won’t protect you from loss or damage to your own vehicle.
There are a number of insurance companies who offer varying levels of cover for your motorhome. The best advice is make sure you read the small print and ensure your cover is adequate. If you are unsure about insurance requirements around security products then contact your insurance company. We would recommend you use a specialist motorhome insurance provider, such as Shield Total Insurance. They can offer breakdown and recovery cover too for if the worst happens.
Hopefully, this blog has given you some insight in to some of the security measures you can put in place.