Your commercial vehicle is one of the most important investments you can make in your business. You’ll often depend on it for the smooth operation of your day-to-day business. Because a typical work van covers so many miles, visiting several customers and sites each day, while often carrying heavy loads of tools and materials, van safety and van security are paramount.
Poorly protected vans can end up costing businesses money in the longer term. So our tips and advice will help you save as well as stay safe and secure in your daily business.
The type of van you choose will depend a lot on the nature of your work. You’ll want to select the right van to cope with the kinds of loads you expect to carry. This is because not only do overloaded vans create expensive mechanical problems, but you can face a penalty charge or on the spot fine of up to £5000. Furthermore, your van will likely contain important (and expensive) tools, which you’ll want to keep safe and secure.
The Thatcham National Security Listing outlines all security systems that comply with The British Industry’s Criteria for Vehicle Security. You can find out how your vehicle performs using their ratings system and make any of the recommended adjustments.
Keeping your van safe and secure is fundamental to the security and success of your livelihood. So having the right systems and measures in place, such as van security alarms, in place is key.
Modifying your van to make it more secure is a sensible move. But the wrong modifications can actually make a van less secure, raise insurance premiums or even invalidate cover. It’s worth familiarising yourself with the Thatcham-approved modifications for your vehicle.
It’s also important to weigh up the costs of achieving an effectively modified van with the amount you might save on insurance. That applies even with Thatcham-approved modifications.
Considering some of the following van modifications can help you avoid making a costly insurance claim should the worst happen.
Most new commercial vehicles will come with the appropriate security technology, which you can boost beyond the basic specification. An anti-theft alarm system is a good deterrent. And even stickers that say your tools aren’t left in your vehicle at night can reduce the risk of a break in. Van alarm fitting is best done by a Thatcham-approved specialist to ensure your van is correctly modified.
A van immobiliser greatly reduces the risk of your vehicle being stolen. The addition of a steering wheel column lock or steering wheel bar is also a visual deterrent, which will make a potential thief think twice before attempting to enter your parked vehicle.
No matter how sophisticated your alarm system, you’ll want to be able to make it as difficult as possible for a thief to get into your vehicle in the first place. Trade vehicle locks automatically lock your vehicle doors when they are closed, and can only be opened with the correct high-security key. It should go without saying that you should avoid leaving the key in your van!
Explore the best van security locks for your make and model, whether those are slamlocks, limpet locks or deadlocks.
Adding a GPS monitoring system to your commercial vehicle will help police to track your vehicle in the event of a theft. Plus, tracking GPS systems have the added advantages of letting you understand (and hopefully cut) fuel consumption. So installing one may help you reduce the running costs of your business.
A tradesman’s tools are as important as the commercial vehicle itself, so you’ll want to go to every effort to protect them. Simple measures range from removing tools from your vehicle at night to installing bonded glass van windows.
Alternative security steps might include installing van security screens. Sheet steel or window grilles (or blanks) are an economical deterrent. They work simply by concealing what you store in your van from opportunist thieves, as well as supplying another barrier to the more determined crook.
A van safe or van vault is a tough steel box in which you can put valuables such as expensive power tools, hand tools and other work gear. Installing a van safe can bring you added peace of mind by giving your livelihood another layer of protection.
Beyond investing in sensible van security products, there are no-bill-attached steps you can take that reduce the chances of your property being stolen. Simple ideas might be to consider carefully where to park by choosing a well-lit area that’s not too isolated, which benefits from CCTV or parking attendants.
If possible, avoid leaving tools in your vehicle overnight. When you’re busy and rushing off to a job it’s easy to forget to make use of whatever security equipment your van already has. So be sure to keep an inventory of your tools in case you are robbed as this will be helpful for insurance claims.
Adhering to a few common-sense safety tips not only helps keep your vehicle safe but helps ensure your passenger safety too.
Modern vans have many of the conveniences of cars, and many van drivers use sat navs as a matter of course. Using a van for work can make it tempting to answer work-related phone calls. So it’s important not to allow yourself to become distracted by these things, by electing to use a hands-free kit, or pull over to take calls instead.
Overloading your van not only puts an unnecessary strain on your vehicle and risks making it unroadworthy, but you can rack up serious penalties too. There are over 4 million vans on UK roads, so it’s important to make sure that yours is not one of the 88.5% of those stopped each year that are overloaded and fined.
Serious mechanical defects can be avoided with a little maintenance and care of:
• your brakes and steering system
• your tyre tread depth
• your lights and windscreen (replacing broken bulbs and keeping the windscreen clean and free of impairments)
Checking fuel, oil and water levels also goes a long way to preventing accidents. Remember that road accidents can undermine not only your ability to function as a business, but also potentially your health and wellbeing.
Installing a van safety partition is a sensible measure if you are carrying a lot of heavy tools in the back of your vehicle. In the event that you need to break sharply, the partition will take the impact of the tools rather than the driver and any passengers.
It’s easy to underestimate the value of the tools and equipment you take around with you in your van. With NatWest, you can choose tools in Van cover of £2,500 or £5,000. Get a quote for van insurance today.