Keeping your van at home.
Practical security advice and information.
The Pro's and Con's.
For those that have the space, storing your van at home can be quite advantageous. For a start you save on the not insignificant storage fees. There’s also the convenience of nipping out to do the odd job or simply chill in it whenever you want. So what are the down-sides to home storage?
As one of our members Steven Ingram pointed out, the sudden absence of a caravan on your drive is a signal to all that you’re away on holiday and the house may be empty. Something to seriously think about!
But if you’re sill considering home storage, check that you’re allowed to do so. Many councils object to it, reasons ranging from it being a fire hazard to it being used as an untaxed extension to your home. Even if you own your home there can be clauses in the deeds or freehold that prohibit it so you need to check first.
If you do decide on home storage then there are a few things you need to do. Security matters wherever you store your van and the more resilience you can apply, the less likely you are to become a victim of theft. At the very least you need to ensure you comply with your insurers policy requirements. The reason insurers push for approved storage is a consistency in applied security, too many self store owners let security slip and that costs them. Demonstrate that you have excellent security at home and you’ll have no problems with cover. Many of the devices and deterrents you should consider are covered in our Security Equipment pages.
Make sure the area you are storing it in is large enough, that it’s not obstructing the road or footpath, access to any building (including your own back door) or likely to cause complains about blocked views or daylight. Any of these will be cause enough to upset your local council who can order you to move it.
The area chosen should be secure and not left open to the street. Nothing elaborate is requited just a simple wall or fence with a sturdy and lockable gate or security post. Because it’s on your property, give serious consideration to fitting a good ground anchor that you can hitch your van to or lets you chain the chassis down. Even a good strong chain round a nearby tree works. Don’t chain to a house drain or down-pipe though, if they’re not soft plastic they’re usually cast iron and smash with a hit from a hammer or similar.
As with any storage location, invest in and deploy as many theft deterrents as you can. All doors, windows and lockers should be secured, alarms and trackers should be enabled, wheel and hitch locks should be fitted. I often hear people suggesting you close all the blinds to prevent people seeing in, personally I disagree, firstly there shouldn’t be any valuables in there for someone to see, it can also stop you spotting someone in your van, what’s more a wee bit of daylight is good at preventing mold or damp. If you’re worried about the sun fading your upholstery simply turn the cushions over or remove them over the winter.
Another great product for long term storage are JSB Hub Locks. Fit these in place of your road wheels and your van’s going nowhere in a hurry, I have added a review of these HERE but before you rush off and order them, check with your insurer. Many policies insist your van is kept in a road worthy condition so it can be moved in an emergency, no wheels definitely affects road worthiness!
If you do go for these as a solution, don’t get rid of your normal wheel locks, you certainly don’t want to be removing wheels when you pitch up on site or stop at the services.
A motor mover can be quite an asset for home storage. You can use it to maneuver the van ‘hitch first’ into a spot that not only maximises space but makes it very difficult for anyone to hook up and drive off without turning the van around. Depending on your layout it may also be possible to position the entry door close to a solid object, fence or hedge preventing anyone getting it that way. Remember to keep charge in the battery though or it’s you that will have problems moving it!
Another advantage of home storage is that you have access to a constant electrical hookup. Not only will this keep your battery topped up and your alarm/tracker powered, it enables you to add some other security devices that don’t cost the earth. I have two small, wireless CCTV cameras, one is outside the house watching the van, the other is in the van itself. The cameras I use cost less than £90 each and come with some great features including pan, tilt, zoom (PTZ) giving me the ability to reposition them remotely, automatic infrared night vision for low light condition, motion detection and alerting. They also come with a free app you can install on your computer or phone to control and view them via your home wifi.
Not only can I can check the cameras anytime from my phone, the motion detection feature instantly alerts me to any movement sending a photograph or video clip with the message so wherever I am, I can keep an eye on things. I hope to do a separate review on these cameras in the near future.
Simple and cheap. Motion activated lights are great for deterring would be thieves, let’s face it, the last thing they want is to be seen. A bright light suddenly flooding your van is not just a shock to the bad guys, it lets you know something’s happening out there.