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Car Security Advice
Securing your motor car Securing your caravan Safe parking guide How to beat the thief
  Top ten safety tips Security products  


Security Advice


Securing your motor car


Don't leave papers lying around - especially private mail with your address on it and documents like vehicle registration. And take your house keys, cash, cards or chequebook with you.

Have your car's registration number etched onto all glass surfaces - including the headlights. Or have the last 7 digits of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) - unique to your car - linked with a recognised, secure database, etched in this way. Most manufacturers are now bonding VIN plates to the dashboard in plain view - check it out if you're buying a new car.


Get an approved dealer or installer to fit an alarm - you can find one through the . If you're buying a new car, check if it's got an alarm as standard.

Get a stereo you can remove and take with you. Mark it with your registration number or postcode. Make a note of the serial number. Some manufacturers are fitting stereo equipment with different parts spread around the car - check it out when you're buying.

 

Lock all the doors when you leave your car and even while you're driving. Keep the windows rolled up too, especially when you're making slow progress in traffic. It only takes a few seconds at a stoplight for a thief to reach in and take whatever you've left on a seat.

Get a lockable petrol cap. Some new cars have these as standard - check it out if you're buying.

Locking wheel nuts - cheap and easy to buy and fit, difficult to get off without the key. If you're buying, look out for new cars that have these as standard.


If you've got a garage, use it and lock it. If you haven't or you're away from home, park where there's plenty of light and life. Or park where you see a sign for a car pack that is a member of the Safer Parking scheme and displays the Park Mark placque. These are designed and managed to keep your car safe.


If you're buying a very special car, it may already have a tracking device or your insurance company may want you to fit one - it's worth finding out.


Don't leave anything on show in your car. Even an old coat can be too much to resist. Most car criminals 'smash and grab' first and think about how much it's worth later.


An electronic immobiliser means your car won't start unless you want it to. Get an approved dealer or installer to fit it - you can find one through the Vehicle Systems Installation Board.

When you leave your car, always take the ignition key with you. Don't pop back into the house, leaving the engine running on a cold winter's morning. At home, never leave your car keys, or house keys, near a door or window. Some thieves use a fishing rod or magnet on a stick to steal them through the letterbox.

Always make sure you outsmart the car criminal




Securing your caravan


Immobilise your caravan, even if you're stopping only for a short time. Use good quality padlocks, heavy-duty chains and hitch locks to secure your caravan. Fix lock nuts or wheel clamps to the wheels and padlock gas cylinders to fixing clamps.

Fit an alarm and switch it on every time you leave your caravan - even if it's just for a short time.


Lock windows, doors, rooflights and the gas compartment when you leave the caravan, for any length of time. Always keep the keys with you.


Take all your valuables with you when you leave the caravan. If you can't, lock them away. Never leave anything on display - even an old coat can tempt a thief to have a closer look.


Never leave the vehicle registration documents in the caravan. They can help a thief to sell the caravan on.


If your caravan does not already have a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etched onto the windows you should use an ultraviolet pen to mark it inside with an identifiable number. Security mark all the valuables you usually take on holiday with you too.


If you're buying a new caravan, ask about built-in security features. All caravans manufactured since August 1997 should be electronically tagged for added security. Check it out.



If you're buying a second-hand caravan, try to verify the seller's identity and make sure the number plate on the caravan matches the one on the tow car. Also ask if it's registered with the Caravan Registration and Identification Scheme (CRiS) - if it is, you can check its history through this scheme. If it isn't, call 01722 411 430 and get it registered. If you purchase the caravan call CRiS to register the details.


Get to know your neighbours on the site when you're on holiday and think about joining a vehicle watch scheme at home.


10. You could fit a tracking device so that your caravan can be tracked by the police or a system operator if it is stolen.





Safe parking guide


If you have a garage, use it. Always lock both your car and your garage. If you don't have a garage, always try to park in a well-lit, open place.

Try and park your car in an attended car park. Look for a public car park that is part of the police-approved Safer Parking scheme that displays the Park Mark Safer Parking award plaque. For more, see


If you can't find a car park, try to avoid parking in places that are hidden from public view.

Never leave anything on display when you park your car. Even an old coat or a plastic bag can tempt a thief.




How to beat the thief

The financial loss of a stolen car is bad enough and although insurance will compensate for this, nothing can help with the shock and inconvenience.
Walk around any car park. You'll see cars with windows open, ignition keys in the lock, sun roofs open, valuable property and clothing on display on the rear seat.

Be sensible. Follow the checklist below every time you leave your car.

Take Care of Your Property

Remember - if you are careless when leaving your car then your claim for theft may not be paid at all. Your insurance policy requires you to take care of your property at all times. Have all the windows etched with the registration number of your car. This deters car thieves.

Many insurers allow a special premium discount if your car has a professionally-fitted alarm/ immobiliser system. The Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre checks on vehicle security devices to see if they comply with the criteria of the Insurance Industry Vehicle Security Scheme. The list of those products that have passed is used by insurers as a basis for premium discounts and required security. Ask your insurer what systems they approve or require. They may also require the system to be fitted by a member of the independent Vehicle Security Installation Board. Your insurer can advise you about this.

Check List

Where to leave your car
At night, park in a well-lit place. Thieves like working in shadows. In a ticket-exit car park, take the ticket with you. Remove Car Ownership Information
Don't leave your certificate of insurance and registration document in the car.

Hide Property
Leave property in a locked boot. In a hatchback the rear shelf should be in position. In an estate car cover up property with a sheet or blanket.

Remove the Ignition Key
Don't leave the key in the ignition - not even for just a few seconds to go into your home, a shop or pay for petrol.

Close All Windows
When you leave the car, close windows. Don't forget the sun roof.

Use an Anti-Theft Device
Thieves are opportunists. They will probably move on to a car without a device fitted.

Always Lock Doors and Boot/Tailgate
Even when the car is in your own drive or garage, lock it and take the keys with you.

Children and Animals
Never leave young children or animals alone in a parked car. With windows or sun roof open you run the risk of theft. With windows closed there is a grave danger of suffocation.

Source: Association of British Insurers


Top Ten safety tips


Never leave anything on display when you park your car. Even an old coat or a plastic bag can tempt a thief.

Electronic engine immobilisers prevent your car from starting and are the best way to stop thieves. They should be professionally fitted by an approved installer.

When parking at home always use your garage if you have one. Always lock both your car and your garage. If you don't have a garage, always try to park in a well-lit, open place.

When parking outside always try and park your car in an attended car park. Try to look for a public carpark which is part of the police-approved

Use a steering wheel lock every time you leave your car.

Car alarms can deter thieves from not only stealing your car, but also taking items from it. They need to be fitted by a professional.


These are cheap, easy to fit and stop thieves from taking your wheels.

Have your car registration number or the last 7 digits of your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etched onto all windows, both windscreens and your headlamps.

Mark all your car equipment, like your car stereo, with your vehicle registration number.


Get a commercial database such as HPI Group Ltd, or CCN Motorfile to check out the car you've got your eye on - has it been reported stolen or written off by an insurance company?

Approval
You should only buy security devices or services that are approved by either Thatcham (the Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre 0870 550 2006,) or by (01327 264 687). - or that meet the standards referred to in the particular sections above. Fitted devices should be installed by a professional - either your car dealer or by an installer approved by the Vehicle Systems Installation Board. Check out or visit to find your nearest approved garage or dealership.





Security Products


The best ways to secure your motor are:

Immobilisers prevent your car from starting and are the best way to stop thieves.


Remember to use them every time you leave your car. You should only buy one that is approved by Thatcham or by Sold Secure.

Car alarms need to be fitted by a professional - either ask your car dealer or an installer approved by the Vehicle Systems Installation Board - .

Locking wheel nuts are cheap, easy to fit and stop thieves from taking your wheels. Look for products that are approved by Thatcham (the Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre 0870 550 2006, ) or by Sold Secure (01327 264 687 - ).


Have your car registration number or the last 7 digits of your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etched onto all windows, both windscreens and your headlamps.

Mark all your car equipment, like your car stereo, with your vehicle registration number.


If your car is expensive or has sentimental value, you could buy an in-car tracking device. A stolen vehicle recovery scheme.


Approved
You should only buy security devices or services that are approved by either (the Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre) or by - or that meet the standards referred to in the particular sections above. Fitted devices should be installed by a professional - either your car dealer or by an installer approved by the Vehicle Systems Installation Board. Check out or visit to find your nearest approved garage or dealership.


Complaints
If you have a complaint about a service or product you can contact any of the trade associations below:


Vehicle Systems Installation Board
Bates Business Centre
Church Road
Harold Wood
Romford
Essex
RM3 0JF
Tel: 01708 340911
Website:

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders
Forbes House
1 Halkin Street
London
SW1X 7DS
Tel: 020 7235 7000
Website:

Retail Motor Industry Federation
210 Great Portland Street
London
W1W 5AB
Tel: 020 7580 9122
Website:






 



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