How To Keep Your Van Safe

A silver padlock holds two blue doors together

Volkswagen have discovered that in Scotland the percentage of drivers that have suffered from tool theft in Scotland increased from 22% in the 2020/21 period to 45% in the 2021/22 period. With the average value of tools stored in a van coming in at £2500 that's an awful lot of money for a business to lose if they need to step in and replace them.

Any time that you leave your van unattended it's at risk of van theft but there are a number of steps and precautions that you can take to prevent this. Our list of van security tips will help you protect your van and its contents.

Have the Right Insurance

Making sure that your van is insured properly is one of the best ways to safeguard your van and its contents. Business van insurance will usually cover any repairs and give you a courtesy vehicle to keep you on the road and at work. You'll also be able to purchase add ons to your insurance policy that are specific to van security which will help to keep your van covered should the worst happen.

Legal cover looks after any legal costs that arise after an accident with your van that wasn't your fault. Employer's liability cover will be useful if you employ other people to drive as it protects you against claims of negligence by your employees.

Tool cover in particular is helpful as it covers the cost of replacing your damaged or stolen tools, although you hope that you never need to use it and you can also add personal belongings cover which will look specifically at any of your own possessions that were in the vehicle at the time.

All providers will offer all or a combination of these and other add ons that are specific to van drivers which allows you to make sure you're covered for every aspect of your van, its contents, and its usage.

A hand writing a list in a notebook
A man loads boxes into the rear of a silver Renault Kangoo van
A selection of tools lying on a wooden surface

Keep an Inventory

Whilst keeping an inventory won't give you any additional van security it will be an incredibly useful security measure to have taken if your van is targeted.

If you're ever in the position of having to make an insurance claim because your van has been broken into or stolen you'll need to be able to report exactly what was in it at the time so that you can have the correct claim.

Keeping an inventory of everything that's in your van will then make it easier to determine what's missing, especially if you are stringent and keep the list up to date, with receipts for expensive items kept too if possible.

Taking stock at least once a month means that you can be sure what's been taken if the situation arises and will make it much easier to make a successful and accurate insurance claim.

A person walks past an open Volkswagen Crafter carrying a tool bag

Keep Valuables Hidden

It seems obvious but keeping your valuable items out of sight when you leave the van is one of the most crucial security measures that you can take.

Whilst loading and unloading try to keep the rear doors shut between trips. It will seem much easier to leave them open and just run back and forth but it also allows potential thieves to see what's inside your van and also that you're heading out of sight to move items.

When you leave your van at the end of the day make sure to take things like your laptop, an external sat nav, your work phone, and any other valuable tools out of the cabin and preferably into the house with you. If thieves break into your van, chances are they've seen something good lying on the passenger seat first.

Renault Kangoo E-Tech Van Rear Banner White 2023
Close up on a key in a car ignition switch
Looking into the open cargo space of a blue Volkswagen Caddy

Invest in Security Features

There's lots of costs involved in purchasing a van but you absolutely shouldn't skimp on van security equipment.

If you're buying a van brand new there may be options to add on such as additional anti-theft alarm systems, interior monitoring, perimeter alarm systems, and single van door locking. Whilst you might not see the benefit in all of these features, it's likely that some of the offerings from your chosen brand will be ideal for your needs.

For used vans and additionally security there are affordable tools available too. These include steering wheel locks, which stops the steering wheel from being turned whilst it's fitted, and hand brake locks that work in a similar fashion.

Some van owners also apply plastic window tints which will remain in place if a window is smashed or lockable fuel filler caps. Sometimes even a sticker saying that no tools are left in the van overnight can be a decent deterrent to opportunistic thieves.

Some van owners will also upgrade their van security locks from what is currently fitted, partially to make sure they have the only keys but also to improve the quality of these locks and therefore their overall van security.

You could even invest in a separate GPS tracker which would allow you to quickly locate the vehicle if it was stolen in its entirety. In some cases having one of these fitted will also lower you insurance premium, although this will vary from provider to provider. More advanced systems will also work with multiple systems to track your van and can even alert the police if its stolen.

A silver Volkswagen Transporter parked outside a brick building. The driver drops a package at the door.

Parking Your Van

Being aware of where you park your van is a crucial part of your van's security but also your responsibility as an owner. You should always leave your van locked and close windows when you're away from the vehicle, even if it is whilst you nip in to pay for your fuel.

Think about where you're leaving your vehicle overnight too. Is it left at work in a secure car park that's locked up at the end of the night or do you have to park it a street away from home because parking is difficult to come by? You'll need to inform your insurance provider as they'll adjust your premium accordingly.

If you are parked out of sight of the house you may feel the need to invest in additional security features and equipment, like the ones previously mentioned, but if its safely tucked away behind a locked garage door or gate you may not feel the same need.

A man carries water past a Volkswagen Transporter
a Volkswagen Transporter van drives through a building site
A person unloads boxes from the back of a silver Volkswagen Transporter


There are many things that you can do as a van owner and driver to safeguard your vehicle. Some are as simple as remembering to remove anything valuable when you're leaving the van whilst others will cost you to apply such as additional insurance products or safety features.

It's obviously within your best interests to take all necessary precautions as you'll be more out of pocket if your van or any of your belongings from inside are stolen.

If you have any further questions our helpful team at Clark Commercials are always on hand to help you with your next van purchase.

Clark Commercials