Feature: RV security
Protecting your caravan or motorhome against theft.
With adventure comes risk; not just with regards to personal safety, but security too. This is especially true given how appealing, self-sufficient and home-like the RVs have become.
But valuing safety and security shouldn’t mean chaining yourself to your RV. Here are some smart, simple actions that really minimise your exposure to theft.
RVs AT HOME
It’s ironic that the place you know could pose the greatest risk, but as Greg Matton, operations manager for CIL Insurance says, many of the caravan robberies reported to the insurance company occurred while the caravan was parked in an exposed area on the insurer’s property or street.
"We always advise our customers to be conscious of their caravan’s security when they’re at home, as well as when they’re on holidays."
CIL Insurance says that vans should be stored in an enclosed environment, such as a fenced-off yard. If you’re unable to securely store your van in your own home,
facilities such as ones provided by Hardings Caravan Services and
Springvale Caravan Centre should provide adequate security for RVs. Many RV retailers and caravan service centres will be able to recommend a good facility.
Wheel clamps and coupling/hitch locks are popular because they provide a clear, visual deterrence. Both CIL Insurance and MHIA endorse the use of wheel clamps and locks.
Klamp It is a well-known and widely available brand of wheel clamp that retails for about $200. It
comes in five different sizes. There are others available too, including
Trailer Security Wheel Clamp
and Trojan Defender, which is available at Repco.
Coast to Coast offer an in-expensive solution: a heavy-duty wheel clamp that looks a little bit like a steering wheel lock for your wheel. It fits wheels up to 250mm in tread width and retails for about $59.
Coupling or hitch locks such as the Ark Trailer, retailing for
$25.85, (also available through Coast to Coast) come in a range of designs and are available to suit most RV couplings in on the market today.
"subscription service" and you’ll likely hear a chorus of groans. A global positioning system (GPS) tracking service, however, offers clear advantages.
Locks, gates and other deterrents won’t reunite you with your RV once it’s gone,
but GPS tracking
might, and if you’re travelling to remote regions, personal security is an added benefit too. Both CIL and MHIA recommend the use of them. Many GPS tracking services offer useful add-on services such fire and security alarms.
GPS tracking services are used by large companies for managing fleets, so make sure the service you choose is appropriate to what you need.
When assessing the value of a GPS tracking service, consider the following: what’s the cost of the hardware? Do you need to buy it, or can you rent it? What’s the satellite capability,
i.e., will it provide coverage where you want to go? What's the monthly subscription? What’s the cost for SMS alerts? What level of control do you have over these alerts? And yes, that old chestnut,
is there a contract period, and what are the penalties for exiting early?
WHAT ABOUT YOUR RV?
CIL Insurance's Greg Matton says that the most common items reported stolen from caravans insured with CIL are fishing rods, laptops, cameras and other small portable possessions that can be easily concealed. He suggests you remove any valuable items such as wallets, mobile phones, handbags, cameras and laptops from your caravan before leaving it unattended.
CIL insurance recommends that if you must leave personal items in your caravan, ensure that they are out of sight, or concealed in a safe or other
Safety boxes are widely available. Dedicated units such as the Caravan Safe which has purpose-built holders can be fixed into your tow vehicle or RV.
CIL Insurance also encourages a common-sense approach, involving closing your windows and locking your doors whenever your RV is unattended, even if it’s parked on your own property. Park in well-lit, populated and secure areas, and don’t hide a spare set of car keys anywhere in or around your car or RV.