With the Great British summer upon us, chances are you’re spending more time in your static caravan or holiday lodge. It’s easy to switch off at this time year, but as we often see a slight increase in theft claims over the summer months, here are a few things to be aware of if you want to keep thieves at bay.
As insurers, we classify theft claims in different ways: attempted break-in, theft of contents and theft of personal possessions. Although it’s difficult to attribute theft claims to one specific season, we can tell you that between 2013 and 2014, we saw a 256% rise in the value of personal possessions stolen and a 42% increase in the number of attempted break-ins claims too.
With static caravan theft on the rise, we want to share with you the types of theft scenarios that occur and the simple things you can do to protect yourself.
Last year’s most common static caravan or lodge theft claims were:
- Theft of equipment
- Attempted break-in
- Theft of personal possessions
Let’s explore these in more detail…
Contents theft claims made up a third of all theft claims in 2014 and the cost of such claims has seen a 16% rise since 2013. Contents include items intended for use in, on or about the caravan which are not permanently installed such as electrical household goods like TV’s, toasters, kettles, and the likes of free standing furniture, garden furniture, barbecues, gas bottles, food and items kept in locked sheds.
Although common, there are things you can do to protect your contents from being targeted by thieves. Firstly, look at your static caravan from the outside in – are there any valuable contents on display that you can see from the windows? Then look at your security, do all windows and doors have adequate locks? Could you consider a static caravan alarm system?
To give you an idea of what could happen if you’re not properly vigilant, we’ve taken a close look at genuine contents theft claims recorded between 2013 and 2014.
Back in 2013, one customer reported that the window in her static caravan had been forced open and items such as solar panels, a generator and even a hoover had been squeezed through the makeshift gap.
In another reported case a thief gained entry to a customer’s static caravan by smashing the sky light and stealing a camera, Hi-Fi system and satellite receiver.
We find that in the majority of contents theft claims, thieves access the caravan via windows or skylights, but some thieves prefer the more conventional way of breaking and entering. In one case for example, a customer returned to their park at the start of the new season to find that the front door had been pried open and bent backwards to allow thieves access. The policyholder in this particular case also reported several high value contents missing.
Last year’s second most common theft claim was attempted break-in. These claims happen when customers’ units are targeted by thieves but no items are taken – most likely because thieves have been unable to defeat the caravan’s security or have been disturbed during the burglary. In most cases locks are damaged but also very often major damage is cuased to doors, window fittings and outbuildings. Insurance claims of this kind cost an average of £900 to repair in 2014. In fact one repair to a patio door cost over £1400.
In November last year, one Leisuredays policyholder got in touch to report an attempted break-in. The customer informed us of severe dents in the unit’s front door and seal damage on multiple windows. In another similar case, a park owner raised the alarm when a customer’s static caravan was targeted, but here thieves had attempted to force entry using a crowbar.
We’ve also heard from customers whose patio doors have been smashed, whose blinds have been torn apart, and whose bathroom windows have been completely cut away.
Remember that thieves will try and gain access any way they can, so take the time to fully secure your unit before you leave site.
Theft of personal possessions
Between 2013 and 2014 theft of static caravanners’ personal possessions doubled – their average claim cost also sky-rocketed by 256%!
In insurance terms, personal possessions are classed as articles which are normally worn, used or carried outside the static caravan, but excluding high risk items. High risk items include clothing, jewellery, luggage and take-away contents. Claims of this kind can be the most heartbreaking for policyholders to deal with; many are left feeling vulnerable and even fearful.
But as with most theft scenarios, there are things you can do to deter thieves. As with contents, try to keep possessions secure and out of sight when leaving the caravan unattended or at night. Consider investing in a safe or security box or if possible, carry the items on your person when leaving the caravan.
Has your static or lodge ever been targeted by thieves? Share your story or top tips in the comment box below. Or if you want to learn about other common claims, check out our guide on the top 5 static caravanning mishaps.
Are you covered? Why not get an insurance quote for your static caravan or lodge.