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On average, there are 2170 insurance claims involving commercial vehicles every single day. They aren’t all crash related. Thieves target vans and their contents – roughly 210,000 times each per year. So how can you keep your van and its cargo safe?

To access a handy printable PDF version of this factsheet, simply complete your details below.

Why should you read this?

  • 47,181 vans were stolen in one year
  • Businesses lose £152 million a year from van theft
  • You carry valuable tools and materials in your van
  • You want to know how to improve your van’s security

How good is the security on your van?

The newer your van, the better its security is likely to be.

Many new vans for instance are likely to have immobilisers, alarms, full steel bulkheads and remote locking with deadlocks (so if thieves break a window they can’t open the door).

And often, new vans have robust shielding and strength-ening of locks, a visible vehicle identification number (VIN) to deter thieves, and slam locking cargo doors.

If the back doors have windows, you can specify steel grilles

An alarm is usually available as an option and is often standard on higher-spec models. Quality varies and not all monitor both the cab and the cargo hold. Some offer tow-away protection.

Vauxhall Combi
Modern vans have better security, either fitted as standard, or available as options. If you carry valuables it’s worth finding out if your van has any particular weakspots

Any alarm labelled ‘Thatcham Category 1’ will be good (Thatcham is the insurance industry’s research lab).

An immobiliser is commonly fitted to new vans – all Vauxhall vans have one for instance.

A steel bulkhead limits access if a thief does get in. If the back doors have windows, you can usually specify steel grilles.


Thatcham ratings out of 5

  • Vauxhall Vivaro: score for theft from 4*, theft of 3*
  • VW Transporter: score for theft from 4*, theft of 3*
  • Mercedes Sprinter: theft from 4*, theft of 1*
  • Peugeot Partner: theft of 4*, theft from 3*

Stepping up your van security

Every van has its Achilles heel and ‘professional’ thieves – as opposed to opportunists – know where these weaknesses lie.

Thankfully, so do the good guys in van security. They can show you how to beef up weak spots on your particular van.

You probably have individual security needs, too – tools or expensive cargo to protect for example.

And you probably have operational security issues – is the cab locked when you’re getting stuff out the back of the van? Does the cargo door lock automatically when you shut it?

There’s kit out there to address all of these needs.


Vauxhall Movano security
Steel grilles can be fitted to the back windows

What’s available?

For valuable cargo or tools, you can fit high-security locks on the inside of loading doors, or deadlocks.

There are steel strengthening plates for existing locks and handles, loom guards (so the wiring can’t be by-passed) and slam locks, which lock the door automatically once it shuts.

Other systems lock all the doors roughly 10 seconds after you’ve left the van.

There are simple deterrents such as locks for the steering wheel and the pedals, but at the other end of the scale, GPS tracking systems are available, too.

Why security matters

  • The average value of content stolen from vans is £1752
  • Loss of your van can affect your whole business
  • Losing tools can lose you jobs and clients
  • And the loss of a van or contents always costs time, hassle and cash

A vault box can be fitted inside the cargo hold for expensive tools or other valuable items.

As well as padlocks and chains for items you carry on the roof, there are neat lockable clamps. Roof-mounted tubes with lockable ends are ideal for carrying valuable items, like copper pipes.

Thieves target catalytic converters for their expensive metals.

Thieves target catalytic converters for their expensive metals. Engraving the cat with the van’s numberplate is one option but fitting a catalyst lock is safer. And if you don’t have a locking fuel cap, buy one!


What are the costs?

Vauxhall Movano Steel bulkhead
A solid steel bulkhead means thieves don’t get access to the cab from the load area, and vice versa…

A tracking system is about £300-£400, plus an annual subscription of about £150. Some tracking systems include a three-year subscription in the initial cost.

Decent alarms start at around £220 but £300-£400 is where the smart money goes.

A steering wheel lock will be £10-£75, depending on the quality, and a pedal lock/pedal box £50-£130. A locking fuel cap is £15-£20. Decent lockable ladder clamps can be had from about £30 and roof-mounted lockable tubes £115-£155.

A vault box is typically £140-£290, according to size and quality. Window grilles are £50. A catalyst lock is £100-£120.

As for locks, reckon on £40-£50 for each deadlock, £45-£65 for each slam lock and £50-£75 for a high-security lock (buying three or four will save about £50-£65).

Strengthening plates and door handle guards range from £30 each to £70, depending on size and quality. Loom guards are usually £20 each, £60 for four.


Vauxhall Vivaro
…and the Vivaro, like the Combo and Movano, gets a solid steel bulkhead as standard

Here’s what our sponsor has to say about van security

All Vauxhall vans get an electronic engine deadlock immobiliser and a range of Thatcham Category 1 Alarms are options. An alarm is also specified as standard on Vivaro Sportive.

Insurance groups are highly competitive ranging from group 1 on Corsavan, group 3 on Combo and group 4 on Vivaro.

Vauxhall security features

  • On a Movano you can remote lock individual doors, so you can work at one door knowing the others are secure
  • The Movano’s spare wheel can only be accessed when the rear doors are opened

Where an Approved Cat 1 alarm is fitted, this upgrades the vehicle’s security rating from T2 to T1. And our remote control alarm systems work even if the battery is flat or the wires to the alarm are cut.

Full steel bulkheads are fitted as standard on Combo, Vivaro and Movano panel vans, and rear window grilles are available as an accessory. These are tailor made to each model and offer both a strong physical barrier and highly visible deterrent to thieves .

Buy them as a pair or as part of a Security Pack where you can add in a Safety Kit, Steering Wheel Lock and even a Security Alarm.

For more information, visit our website….

…or why not call us on 0845 740 0777


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