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Preventing the theft of goods from vans

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Introduction

An issue that has recently received increased coverage in the press and on social media is the incidence of vans being broken into for the contents they’re carrying, rather than the vehicles themselves.  Thieves appear to be targeting in particular tools, equipment and goods, the presumption being that they’re easily disposed of and aren’t readily traced or recognised as stolen property by innocent purchasers.

Vulnerabilities

The majority of the thefts appear to be taking place when vehicles are parked away from their home locations; hotel car parks are prime sites for many of the incidents we’re currently dealing with.  Methods of entry are often violent as there is no interest in preserving the appearance of the vehicle being targeted, panels have been ripped, rear doors levered open, as the goal is the theft of the contents.

Precautions / Prevention

Prevention of these incidents is not straightforward, obvious factors like comprehensive vehicle security and alarms are essential, but the accidental triggering of such precautions has negated them as a guaranteed form of security. Parking in a well-lit secure car park or locked compound, monitored by CCTV, will minimise the likelihood of a theft being attempted. If feasible the removal of the high value items is also advisable, particularly if you believe you may be vulnerable to an incident of this nature.

Claims Management

Insurance cover for theft of goods from your vehicle shouldn’t be assumed, and even where cover is stated, there may be restrictions that you need to be aware of. The key factors you should look for are:

  • Method of entry to the vehicle. Most policies will require the entry to have been ‘forcible and violent’ for the cover to apply
  • Time of day. Some policies will restrict cover to exclude incidents occurring overnight (typically between 9pm-6am)
  • Location of the vehicle. Some policies will offer cover providing the vehicle is secured in a locked compound/garage overnight.
  • Value. Every policy will state the financial limit of your cover. The value of your goods should not exceed your insured limit.

If you’re unfortunate enough to be a victim of one of these incidents and your insurers confirm that you have cover, for what has happened, they’ll almost certainly request an inventory of the stolen items. It will aid the speed with which they deal with your claim, if you provide the age and purchase price of the stolen items. Therefore keeping a track on what items are carried on a specific vehicle is an advantage if you have to present a claim.

Conclusion

In conclusion, to minimise your exposure to this type of incident, park, whether at a home location or away on site, in a well-lit, secure car park or compound and remove valuable items. None of these measures will prevent a determined criminal, but they could discourage them and make the effect to you and your business as minimal as possible. If you would like to discuss anything raised in this article or to assist in a no-obligation review of the insurance cover you have in place, please contact a member of the Hugh J Boswell team on 01603 626155.