Motorhome security and your insurance

What measures can you take to improve the security of your motorhome, and how may they impact on the price of your insurance?Motorhome security

If you own a motorhome it's probably amongst your most valuable assets and, if anything happens to it, you could lose out significantly.

So it's essential to use as many security measures as you can to keep your vehicle safe, as well as making sure you have the right motorhome insurance in place should the worst happen.

You can boost the security right away by remembering the basics, such as making sure all windows, doors and sunroofs are closed and locked when you leave it.

This will certainly limit the scope for opportunist theft but, unfortunately, these steps alone won't stop more determined thieves.

So read our guide to increase the chances of your van - and its contents - remaining where you park it.

Must-have devices

There are a number of devices which you really shouldn't be without. In fact, some specialist motorhome insurers won't allow you to take out a policy with them unless you have certain security gadgets, which might include:

Motorhome insurers sometimes give discounts for a good combination of security devices that could result in significant savings

Wheel clamp

Clamps can be bought for steel or alloy wheels and prevent the wheel from moving, meaning thieves can't drive off.

Steering wheel lock

These fit across the steering wheel and, as well as acting as an immobiliser, they are a visible deterrent for would-be thieves.

Removable steering wheel

An easily detachable steering wheel could have obvious anti-theft advantages.

Gear lock / Handbrake lock

These allow you to lock the gear stick to the handbrake.Motorhome

Clutch claw

A clutch claw allows you to lock the brake and clutch pedals together.

Mule

A so-called 'mule' could be described as an angled leg that's dropped down from the body of the vehicle to the floor. This will dig into the ground if a would-be thief tries to drive or tow the vehicle away.

Alarm

Most modern motorhomes come with an alarm fitted as standard, but there are plenty on the market if yours is an older model and doesn't already have one.

As well as standard audible alarms, options include visible alarms and alarms with internal sensors. Interior sensors can be switched off or put into sleep mode when your motorhome is in use, preventing you or a pet from setting them off.

Immobiliser

Modern motorhomes tend to have an immobiliser, an electronic security device which prevents the engine from running.

Tracking device

If your motorhome does get stolen, you have a much better chance of getting it back if it's fitted with a tracking device. These send signals to a control centre, pinpointing your vehicle and, hopefully, enabling it to be retrieved.

Check your policy covers personal effects such as laptops, TVs, jewellery and cameras

Switched on to security

Security devices should be used whenever your motorhome is stationary, even if you only plan to be gone for 10 minutes.

Failing to activate any of the devices listed under your policy could invalidate your insurance, meaning the cover won't be paid out if your vehicle is stolen or damaged.

But the good news is that insurers tend to give discounts for a good combination of security devices, with some owners saving a substantial amount on their premium.

Qualifying for these discounts usually depends on you choosing security gadgets that are approved by specialist firms such as Thatcham or Sold Secure.

Do your research and compare different policy features as, in some cases, the insurance savings are likely to outweigh the cost of the security devices but, in other cases, they may not.

If you search for policies through Gocompare.com you'll be asked for details of where the vehicle is kept overnight and will be able to list the security devices you have on your motorhome.

The information you provide will play a part in calculating the prices and options you see in the comparison table.

On the move

It's easy to understand how your mobile home could be stolen when you're not around, but you might assume it's as safe as houses whilst you're on holiday in it. Sadly, it's all too easy for thieves to jump on board when your back is turned for just a moment.

Never leave your keys in the ignition, not even on the hard shoulder if you need to pull over to check something. An opportunist could steal the van in seconds, leaving you stranded at the roadside.

The same applies at a campsite when you leave the motorhome to use the shower block or pop to reception.mp3 player Lock up properly and make sure that there are no valuables visible through the windows.

Cover up

Make sure your policy covers not only theft of the motorhome itself but the personal effects you might take on holiday with you, such as laptops, TVs, jewellery and cameras.

Check the overall limit of the personal effects cover as well as the limit of each individual item, as you might find that some policies don't cover the full cost of a replacement item.

For example, your insurance might set a limit of £350 per stolen item, yet things such as laptops and wedding and engagement rings could be worth a lot more than this.

Consider instead whether high-value items are covered under other policies, such as a dedicated gadget insurance option, your travel insurance, a packaged bank account or home cover. The latter might include an 'away from home' clause covering the items whilst you are on holiday.

But again, check the small print carefully for a 'contribution' clause or a reference to 'other insurance', as in theory things could get complicated if a single item is covered under multiple policies.

Our guide to getting your motorhome ready for winter has lots more tips about security, especially during the colder months when mobile homes are more likely to be parked up or kept in a secure compound.

By Rebecca Lees