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David350

Appropriate choice of security products for my first caravan?

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Hi Everyone, I'm a carvan newbie (crossing over from the dark side of camping) and am presently drawing up a shopping list for accessories for (hopefully) my new caravan (Swift Astbury 580EB). I really want to get the basics right at this stage, so security is a priority for me. I am totally new to all this, and after spending a few hours reading up  on caravan security my thoughts are:

  • Use a CASSOA Gold storage site.
  • Fit an AL-KO Premium hitchlock (seems VERY expensive compared to other hitchlocks!!!)
  • Fit an AL-KO Secure wheel lock (looks like this is the benchmark & insurers like this)
  • Milenco Security door lock
  • Subscription to Swift Command Tracker service (will insurers take this into account?)

Does this seem like a reasonable combination or am I going a bit OTT? Have I missed anything out? Presumably you only need the one wheel lock rather than two? Will a new Swift caravan come with the 'receiver' fitted as standard for the AL-KO secure wheel lock? Are the Milenco Security door locks a straightforward DIY installation or is best to get a mechanic to fit this? Am assuming that most insurers will be happy with CASSOA storage & AL-KO devices & might even give discounts? What happens when you pop into motorway services & leave caravan unattended in carpark - are you expected to fit the wheel lock to remain insured? 

Thanks in advance for any comments & advice & sorry for the number of questions.

 

David

Edited by David350
typo

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Take out a good insurance policy - if the scumbags want a caravan they'll take it regardless of security products.

 

Personally - I store the caravan on our drive - I removed the Tracker as it flattened the leisure battery - I use a standard Alko hitchlock - standard Alko wheel lock - we don't leave the caravan unattended at Motorway Service Areas but do in chain pub or supermarket car parks.

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Nothing you can do is 100% certain to succeed. 

All the things you list are good, other brands can also be good, but good seldom comes cheap.

You need to read your insurance policy to find out what you need to do at service areas, some insist on wheel locks whenever left unattended, others set a time limit.

 

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Good secure storage doesn’t have to be CASSOA gold. Look at what each place offers, ours pretty much meets their standards, but it’s only a small yard so there’s no point in him paying Cassoa. 

 

A good wheellock is a definite for us, we like the Alko, we don’t fit it at short stops.

 

a hitchlock is only a minor deterrent, they’re very easy to bypass, but they are convenient and quick. We use ours if we’re likely to be leaving the van at a services, as well as pitched or stored. 

 

The Milenco door lock is a waste of time, I force entry into all kinds of places as part of my job, and no part of a caravans structure would slow me down more than a few seconds if I wasn’t concerned about causing damage. 

 

And I don’t bother with a tracker either. If you get an alert that your caravan has moved from storage, what are you going to do? Don’t expect the police to do much either.  Also, if someone breaks into my van, smashing it up and nicks it, they’re welcome to it, that’s what I pay my insurance for. 

 

Dont get too hung up about it, caravan theft isn’t as prevalent as some folk would have you think. Be careful, but not paranoid. 

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My insurance says to fit a wheel lock without specifying any more.  If it doesn't earn you a significant discount I wouldn't bother.

 

Where will you keep your caravan?

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Some good advice here, ours is in storage that is not Cassoa approved but I feel very comfortable with their level of security. Use a Nemesis wheel lock (much easier to fit than the Alko) and a nemesis  hitchlock both on site and in storage, probably more for my own piece of mind than anything else. Never leave it unattended in services etc. Have got a tracker and that’s probably why I’ve now got a flat battery!!!

 

As already said enjoy your caravan and all the experiences it will give and fit what you feel comfortable with, if they want it that badly they take it whatever you fit.

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I was in this position a month or so back. Is you're Swift new? If so they are doing half price insurance for the first year.

 

I use a nemesis wheel lock that fits onto the chassis just like the Al-Ko, so they give the same discount.

 

Also have a hitchlock, they weren't concerned about the type.

 

My storage is on a caravan site near where we live (drive isn't an option)

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As others have said,get some good insurance and ditch the secure door lock,won't keep any capable thief out.

 

The Al-Ko Premium hitchlock is a mighty beast,much better than the original one,more thief proof I don't know as they could always use the scaffold pole trick.

 

We have a Phantom tracker,gives me peace of mind despite what others say,never flattened our battery but we do  have a solar panel.

 

Prior to the Unicorn we had an Orion without a panel and once again no  battery flattening.

 

Personally I think a van is much safer in secure storage,much less convenient admittedly but much safer,try to find one near home which cuts down the hassle somewhat.

 

Having said that it depends whereabouts at home you are going to store it,on the drive in front of the house,in a locked garage/barn,round the back out of site,only you can choose on that one.

 

Our storage has hundreds of vans,we would be unlucky if ours got nicked when there are far more salubrious ones around us.

 

Don't find the Al-Ko wheel lock any problem,if there is a receiver on the van perhaps it should come with one,always worth asking.

 

Ian

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we have the hitch lock  and the nemesis wheel lock. we also have an alarm but no tracker. We keep it in a cassoa gold storage. Our storage place has a few rules, the same as the insurance has rules that we have to comply with, so read up on what 's expected of you.  

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Another one for Nemesis wheel lock,and hitchlock. My insurance does stipulate tha Alko wheel lock and that is a right pain to line up.One other tip to make it even more unattractive is to put the van in nose first.

 

In relation to using motorway service stations I would never leave it unattended.Even if it was locked securely.If you need a cup of tea or a wee just use your own facilities on board.

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As said locks are only a deterrent and with the right tools can be beaten so good insurances is a must and unfortunately it is not advised to leave a caravan unattended in motorway services .

 

 

 

Dave

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I have a hitchlock, steady lock (will get three more for the other steadies), a wheel clamp and a wheel lock.   I know a lot of thieves can probably get rid of most locks in under 5 minutes, its a matter of holding them up, so they will look at an easier target, and don't bother with your caravan.  Where motorway services are concerned, we've never left the caravan unattended.  Whilst Tom would do his dialysis in the caravan, I would take myself off to get drink and food.  Now that I'm on my own, I will take my own food, and make a cuppa in the caravan

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Several posters on this thread saying they won’t leave their caravan unattended in motorway services. 

 

I understand the logic, but am unsure if it’s sound. How many caravans are stolen from services? There are upwards of half a million caravans in the UK, and from CCC figures it looks like only about 1200 of them get stolen per year, total. So the odds of having one nicked from services has to be pretty tiny, although I can’t find any statistics for it. 

 

We do happily leave ours at services, with just a hitchlock fitted. Albeit not for long, on a journey I only stop for long enough us and the dogs to have a pee and to buy a coffee. But that’s entirely due to my impatience, and nothing to do with security worries. 

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8 minutes ago, Fireman Iain said:

Several posters on this thread saying they won’t leave their caravan unattended in motorway services. 

 

I understand the logic, but am unsure if it’s sound. How many caravans are stolen from services? There are upwards of half a million caravans in the UK, and from CCC figures it looks like only about 1200 of them get stolen per year, total. So the odds of having one nicked from services has to be pretty tiny, although I can’t find any statistics for it. 

 

We do happily leave ours at services, with just a hitchlock fitted. Albeit not for long, on a journey I only stop for long enough us and the dogs to have a pee and to buy a coffee. But that’s entirely due to my impatience, and nothing to do with security worries. 

 

How many would be stolen but for the fact that so many caravanners won't leave them unattended?

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I, too, am interested in why members feel that that service stations are high risk.  I realise that the 'outfit' might be unattended for half-an-hour or more if you go in for a nibble,  But there are CCTVs everywhere and lots of people about to witness anyone grinding off a hitchlock.

Edited by kelper
space missing between two words

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Also wheel locks are highly regarded by insurers and certainly heavy duty. Fitting them is easy. milenco hitch locks seem to be used by most caravan dealers so maybe a reason for that.  Alarms are good as at least someone is alerted if it is monitored on a storage site. @ types of tracker one passive. This is only good if you know it has been stolen and then they track it. Or active that alerts you by text if it moves outside a geographical area that you can settle 10 yards. I have a active tracker on my BMW motorbike and it is excellent. As for motorway services yes you can use milenco hitch lock as a quick fix while away but don't leave it on while driving.

Edited by colin h

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It has been known in motorway services for thieves to unbolt towballs leaving the lock on  and then just connect the hitch with a chain and drag the caravan away .

 

Lock security is only based on using hand tool to attack them . I have a 200 quid insurance approved wheel lock but I have seen the lock drilled out in a few minutes on reviews .

 

 

Dave

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3 hours ago, kelper said:

I, too, am interested in why members feel that that service stations are high risk.  I realise that the 'outfit' might be unattended for half-an-hour or more if you go in for a nibble,  But there are CCTVs everywhere and lots of people about to witness anyone grinding off a hitchlock.

 

The Wife and I rolled up to a service station three seasons ago in early afternoon in summer service station was busy.

Before we even stepped out the car to head for some grub a white unlettered flat truck loaded with scrap drew alongside with three men in the crew cab one on his mobile.

We decided not to leave the caravan unattended😀.

The Wife went off to the loo just as another scruffy white panel van pulled up on the other side carrying two men one on his mobile.

I got out the car and walked round the caravan both vehicles had tow bars.

They realised we were not leaving our outfit and both vehicles left without opening a single door.

Our Alko hitch lock would not have presented them with much difficulty.

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Another nemesis here and milenco Hitchcock. I've also got another wheel lock that I can't remember what it is called but it is big.

 

As said before you are looking to direct thieves away from yours to one less secure unfortunately. With the advance in battery tools nothing will stop them just multiple takes a bit longer.

I would go for multiple locks and and good insurance.

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Eriba Caravan in an open fronted shed in a very rural garden with just a hitchlock and nothing else .  Saga insurance company is happy with that. Storage of other sorts of caravan in other parts of the country and with other insurance companies will differ. En route stops at motorway services and shopping malls has never worried me at all. 

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Thank you all very much for your helpful replies. Think I might forget about the Tracker subscription, as I am of the mind that I probably wouldn't want the caravan back if it had been trashed. In terms of the other pieces of kit, my thoughts are (on balance) I will probably still go with them - my philosophy being that the fitting of these might hopefully put potential thieves off looking at my van if there are less secured vans in the same area. I really am  impressed with the enthusiasm, helpfulness and depth of knowledge of the people on this forum. Thanks again. 

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