avatar Andrew Burgess May 16, 2022

How to keep your campervan secure and safe

Don’t fall victim to campervan crime: follow this advice to protect your vehicle and keep the good times rolling.

You don’t want your campervan adventures to be ruined by the theft of your desirable campervan, or anything in it, so here are our top tips for security and safety. With just a few common-sense measures and easy steps, you can protect your vehicle and stay safe.

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Keep valuables out of sight

Thankfully, campsites are usually safe places with like-minded people and minimal crime. But don’t ignore the usual precautions of keeping anything of value out of sight, and leaving blinds or curtains shut to prevent prying eyes, particularly when you’re away from the vehicle.

We doubt many campers take things like posh jewellery or other valuables on a campervan road trip, but these days we all have electronic gadgets which are valuable – and also easy to steal.

Make sure your campervan insurance covers everything

Of course, the greatest asset that you’ll want to keep secure, after your family, is your beloved campervan. The recent staycation boom has seen demand for campervans go through the roof, and with ongoing supply issues for new ones, your vehicle could be more likely to attract unwelcome attention.

That’s why the best security tip is to be fully insured. Make sure your vehicle, plus contents, such any gadgets and accessories, are covered. And insurance cover needs to be for the whole year, even if you only go camping during the warmer months.

Does your insurance policy insist on any security devices?

Your insurance policy may require some security devices to be used or fitted. This might include things like an alarm. If your campervan doesn’t have an alarm then it’s definitely worth having one fitted, but remember that you need to be able to sleep in the campervan without setting it off. Insurance companies usually only recognise security systems that meet Thatcham Category 1 approval.

Fitting a tracking device can result in a discount on your premium – and could help retrieve your vehicle if the worst does happen (just remember to always renew the annual monitoring subscription).

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Is your campervan secure when it’s on a campsite?

While the degree of security provided by campsites varies, many have barriers and some may also have CCTV. At simpler campsites with just a gate or nothing to stop other people entering, such as at an aire in France, you do need to take your own security precautions.

Motorway service stations, particularly on main routes in France and Spain, can have a dodgy reputation for security if you’re sleeping there overnight. There are regular reports of vehicles being tampered with or broken into, even when people are sleeping inside. If you need an overnight stopover, it’s definitely safer to find somewhere off the motorway.

There is obviously even less security if you are wild camping, although hopefully you’ll be somewhere more remote where the chances of coming to the attention of the wrong people are more unlikely.

Remember that if your insurance policy insists on a security gadget being fitted, then that includes when you’re on the campsite. Don’t get lulled into a false sense of security.

What about security when your campervan is at home?

You should always make sure your campervan is kept securely (and insured) when you’re not away camping in it. Hopefully, you’re probably using it as an everyday vehicle anyway, so it’s not left parked for long periods or away in storage. If not, be sure to check it regularly.

Security isn’t just about preventing theft, it’s about deterring any break-ins as well. That means your campervan needs to have as much extra security fitted as possible, and sthis should be clear to any potential thieves – by adding warning stickers for example.

Which security devices are best for campervans?

A steering wheel lock and locks for the gear lever and foot pedals can be great visual deterrents. They can put off would-be thieves as they would need extra time (and make more attention-grabbing noise) to remove these items.

Another option is a wheel clamp, but invest in a decent one that covers the wheel nuts. And at home you could install a security post on your drive to prevent the campervan from being able to move, or a CCTV camera. The more security devices, the better.

But you don’t really want someone breaking into your campervan in the first place. To try to prevent this happening, you could consider fitting extra door locks (internal or external), such as the Thule sliding door lock. If you don’t want to drill into the exterior of the campervan, an alternative solution is a security bar between the front cab doors to prevent them from opening, such as the Fiamma Duo Safe Pro Security Bar.

You could also fit a safe for important items such as keys, wallets and phones, such as the AL-KO Safe. Other security devices that may help are internal CCTV cameras, motion sensor alarms and window stickers saying your vehicle is monitored or has a dog in it.

Will I need more security if I take my campervan abroad?

No, you don’t really need any extra security if you’re taking your campervan abroad. The risks are pretty similar, although if it’s hotter, you might be more tempted to leave windows open when you go out.

It’s definitely wise to be as security conscious as possible when you take your campervan abroad. You may be travelling with more cash than usual, and will have extra items like passports, vehicle ownership and insurance documents that you won’t want to lose. A break-in is unpleasant and inconvenient whenever it happens, especially if you’re away from home in another country. You’ll need to register any crime with the local police so you have a crime reference number for your insurance claim.

As previously mentioned, be extra careful if you use motorway services for overnight stops. Some people claim to have been gassed and broken into while sleeping without hearing a thing, while external items like bicycles on bike racks are particularly vulnerable in those situations.

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Take the right precautions and enjoy your travels

We know reading about security can be a little bit sobering, but taking simple precautions is the best thing you can do to keep your campervan road trips fun and fuss-free. Being switched on and in the know puts you in a great position. Remember that the odds of anything happening are low, and most people have a lifetime of travelling without any security issues – just lots of wonderful memories.

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