Motorhome Security Top Tips
Motorhomes and campervans are a popular target amongst both opportunistic thieves and organised criminal gangs alike. Unfortunately, incidences of motorhome theft are increasing in line with overall motor vehicle thefts. That’s why it’s important that your customers keep their motorhome security up to scratch.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) claim that the increase in vehicle thefts is part being driven by keyless car crime, whereby hi-tech criminals can bypass keyless technology in as little as 20 seconds. Use of technology by criminals is on the increase with the many motorhome thefts too. Many of these thefts are taking place outside vehicle owner’s homes, whilst their vehicles are parked up on driveways.
If your customer’s motorhome is stolen, having the right insurance policy in place will mean that they can at least have the peace of mind that they’ll be compensated financially for their loss, but an insurance pay-out can never compensate them for the inconvenience and disruption that vehicle theft causes.
The good news is that most theft is opportunistic, and thieves generally don’t like to work too hard, so if they see a motorhome fitted with wheel locks, steering or handbrake locks, it may be enough to put them off.
That’s why it makes sense to deter thieves by having additional motorhome security devices fitted.
How your customer should protect their motorhome from theft
Whether your customers have just bought a brand new motorhome, or have an older model that’s seen them through any number of adventures, they should ensure that they have sufficient security devices to both deter opportunistic thieves, or stop more committed criminals dead in their tracks.
Here are some top motorhome security tips and motorhome security devices to help your customers do just that.
Protect your keys
The best way to ensure the security of your customer’s motorhome is to make life difficult for would-be thieves.
When your customers are not using their motorhome, they should always remove their keys from the ignition and store them in a safe place or keep the keys on them, even if they just nip back into the house for a minute.
Your customers also need to be mindful that their vehicle is at risk from thieves when it’s parked up outside their home, and there are two, very different ways in which their motorhome could be taken:
- Stolen keys – Keys are being stolen by thieves breaking into vehicle owner’s homes, so they should keep them away from windows & doors where they can be seen and grabbed.
- Relay attack – If your customer’s vehicle no longer requires a key to open the doors or start the engine, thieves don’t need to break into their home to make off with their motorhome. Thieves can use a device to pick up a signal from the key fob and relay a signal from the key fob directly to the vehicle, allowing them to get in and drive away immediately. To prevent against this type of theft, keys should be stored out of sight and in a Faraday pouch.
Fit wheel clamps
Although wheel clamps can seem quite rudimentary, they are an extremely efficient and effective way to immobilise your customer’s motorhome. They are portable and can be used wherever the motorhome is parked, whether at home, on the road or on a campsite.
When your customers are storing their motorhome at home, it might be worth them installing bollards at the end of their driveway or wherever the motorhome is kept. Like wheel clamps, bollards prevent thieves from driving it away.
Improve your customer’s home security
Your customers should consider installing PIR lights trained on their parking space, which illuminate when they sense movement. Also, they should consider investing in their own CCTV which can stream pictures to their smartphone.
Disable your customer’s motorhome
There are various types of steering locks, such and bar-locks and circular locks, or they could even use a chain and padlock to secure the steering wheel to stop their motorhome being driven. Similarly, gear locks allow motorhome owners to lock their motorhome gear stick to the hand brake and stop thieves making off with their motorhome. Another useful device is a clutch claw, this allows your customers to lock their clutch, typically locking it to the brake pedal. Whichever solution they choose, all three types of lock are a great visual and highly portable deterrent.
Fit enhanced door security
Criminals are increasingly attacking the manufacturer’s factory fitted (OEM) driver’s door cylinder with screwdrivers, or lock picking devices, typically gaining access within just a few seconds. Upgrading door security will help combat break-ins to your customer’s motorhome.
Use VIN Chip technology
These tiny ‘Radio Frequency Identification’ chips are discreetly hidden randomly within the body and chassis of the Motorhome. They record critical information unique to the vehicle’s 17-digit chassis number e.g. registered keeper, make and model. They can be read by law enforcement officers from a distance and/or whilst the vehicle is travelling at speed, to establish the bona fide nature of the motorhome.
Fit an alarm and immobiliser
Another old-school deterrent, alarms offer a great audio deterrent for your customer’s motorhome. The siren is usually situated under the bonnet and is activated upon opening the vehicle door.
Typically, alarms are integrated into other forms of security devices, including immobilisers, which are invariably fitted as standard to all new vehicles and are particularly helpful if a thief gains access to the motorhome. Each time they switch off their engine, the immobiliser will automatically activate. Most immobilisers feature dual-circuit immobilisation to frustrate any attempts to start the engine by hot-wiring.
Install a tracking device
It’s also worth installing a tracking device alongside any alarm and immobiliser system. These sophisticated pieces of equipment monitor your customer’s motorhome 24/7 and, if stolen, send a remote signal to a control centre, which identifies its exact location to help police recover it. Trackers are often required by insurers for higher value motorhomes.
Utilise On-Board Diagnostic electronic port protection
These devices lock the OBD port of the motorhome to prevent unauthorized access to its systems via the OBD port. They help to prevent ‘keyless theft’ or ‘electronic compromise’; whereby thieves do not need the keys to your customers’ motorhome to steal it. Most vehicles taken without keys are stolen using equipment which plugs into the OBD port. This intelligent equipment ‘hacks’ the system and can bypass the motorhome’s integrated security protocols in order to program a new key.
Use whole vehicle marking systems
Consider using a marking solution for your customer’s motorhomes, such as Smart Water or window etching, to provide a unique identification which helps deter thieves and aid recovery of the motorhome in the event of it being stolen.
Display deterrent signs
Whether your customers have fitted a tracking device, security marked their motorhomes or deployed another means of security, ensure they don’t forget to put a sticker in the window to warn potential thieves. Hopefully, thieves will take note and leave the motorhome alone.
From storage site to campsite, taking the right security precautions will help prevent your customer’s motorhome from being stolen.
Make sure your customer’s motorhome is fully insured
Fitting quality devices will not only make your customer’s motorhome more secure, but it could also help them lower their insurance premium – fitting approved locks and trackers can help to cut the cost of your customer’s motorhome insurance, and some insurers might even insist on a minimum level of security before they’ll provide cover.