Unfortunately it's a sad fact that caravan theft in Australia is a real issue. The insurance companies say around 500 caravans are stolen each year and the majority are not recovered.
The interesting part is that the average claim value has been decreasing over the last few years. Insurance companies believe the change is a sign that many of the more expensive vans are better protected with good quality security devices.
Caravans Plus has put this quick guide together to show the security options that are now available and highlight their pro and cons.
1. Security Accessories Comparison Video
2. Coupling Locks
Coupling locks or tow ball locks are generally the most convenient style of protection. While there are a lot of different trailer locks on the market, the simple principle is the same - to prevent someone else from hooking up and driving away with your caravan. Key benefits of this style of lock are:
They are smaller and easy to transport than larger wheel clamps.
Can be used on different trailers (not limited by tyre size)
Quick and easy setup and removal
How Caravan Coupling Locks Work
The caravan or trailer is secured by limiting unwanted access to the coupling. This is done by inserting a tow ball like device which is secured in place by a lock - generally a locking bar over the top of the coupling. The effectiveness of this style protection depends on the construction quality of the unit. While there are wide range of coupling locks available at different price points you do get what you pay for. While the cheaper lightweight trailer locks may be okay for a small box trailer you probably want a bit more protection for your home away from home.
The higher quality locks have a range of added benefits and provide a greater level of confidence. They are made of with better locks, stronger materials, limit access for drills or angle grinders, and some even have anti-tamper alarms.
Many camper trailers and 4WD Caravans have Off Road Couplings. The Kovix Trailer Lock shown above will also suit Treg style block hitches and Hitchmaster DO35 hitch.
3. Wheel Clamps
Securing your caravan with a wheel clamp is a very effective way of protecting your investment.
With a wheel clamp attached it nearly impossible to move a trailer, and they are very hard for the wrong person to remove. The added strength of this style does come at a cost, things to consider are:
Can be quite bulky to transport
Can only be used on trailers with similar size tyres
Not as easy to set up as coupling locks
Wheel Clamp Features
Wheel clamps are not only a great security device, they're also an effective visual deterrent to thieves. Purchasing the right clamp for your Caravan or RV is simple when you have the right features:
Full cover over the wheel nuts
Secure, robust fitting which will not dislodge if the caravan is towed away
Tough material which can resist cutters
A solid and strong lock
Tested, proven and trusted brand
A wheel clamp is an affordable and simple investment to protect your caravan. One which many victims of theft wish they'd purchased retrospectively, before the crime was committed.
CIL Insurance executive manager, Andrew O'Hara, says:
"Our experience shows that caravans are more often stolen from storage yards, often in remote areas, or from home addresses when the owner may be away,"
"These thefts usually occur when there is a lack of van security, such as a tow hitch lock, and caravans are facing outwards, making it easier to tow them away."
Peter Wright, executive officer of the Caravan Trade Industries Association (Vic) said recently that "...we have had only one instance in the last three or four years where a caravan has been returned. We think they end up on blocks of land. They don't get found at the end of the day."