Add an alarm to your touring caravan and you’ll benefit from peace of mind – plus a drop in the price of your annual premium.
Fit an alarm to your caravan and you’ll qualify for a five per cent discount from Caravan Guard. More importantly though, you’re adding extra protection – not just for your tourer but also its contents, more often than not at least some of which have the kind of sentimental value that can never put a price on.
An alarm will give an audible warning should anyone attempt to gain illegal entry to your caravan. Typically, a caravan alarm will monitor movement via a PIR (Passive Infra Red detector) as well as a tilt sensor, the latter activating the alarm if a thief attempts to drive off with your vehicle. It might also offer: accommodation protection, perimeter detection (i.e. movement close to your ‘van), and battery back-up power supply.
Any alarm – or rather, the thought of an encounter with one – is your first line of defence against caravan criminals. It will warn you, as well as others, that a break-in has taken place – as well as potentially deterring the criminal.
The Caravan Safety & Security Group, a cross-trade initiative, points out most good alarm systems will offer:Do consider an alarm in conjunction with other security systems – such as wheelclamps, axle locking devices, hitchlocks, and tracking devices, as well as a secure storage site.
- Protection of the contents of the caravan through PIR (Passive Infra-Red detector) or other internal sensor technology
- Instant operation upon detection of an intruder inside the caravan
- Protection of your caravan when stationary/parked, through movement sensors
- Instant activation upon insertion of road lighting plug/turning on ignition
Also, some alarms can be linked to a tracking system to allow a monitoring company to notify you if anything untoward appears to be happening to your caravan or motorhome. Caravan Guard offers a 15 per cent discount for approved tracking devices. Click here for our approved list.
Fitting an alarm?
Some alarms can be fitted by competent DIY-ers. If you don’t fancy doing it yourself, do consider getting your local caravan service centre to do the fitting – maybe combining it with annual servicing work.
- Do get into the habit of arming your alarm, even when just nipping to the toilet blocks or for short stops whilst towing such as at service stations. (If you have specified an alarm system on your insurance policy, it will likely be a requirement for it to be activated whenever the caravan is left unattended and detached from the towcar)
- Alarms relying on tilt sensors only often don’t sound the siren until the thief is driving off.
- Wire-free alarms are usually easier to fit, but can some can be easily jammed so look for a good quality system.
- Simple alarms are cheap and easy to fit, but they can often be disabled in seconds. Also, if your neighbours hear a siren for only a few seconds they usually assume it’s been accidentally activated. Bear in mind free standing alarms such as those that fit around the inside of the door handle may not be acceptable for insurance purposes. Ultimately the alarm needs to be fixed to the caravan – even a wireless system will have permanently wall mounted PIRs and sirens.
- Adding stickers to your window help warn criminals that you have an alarm system fitted. Sometimes, a visual deterrent is all you need to divert a thief.
- Features like “sleep mode” and/or “pet setting”, mean you and/or your pet won’t set off the alarm when you’re on board.
- Check power consumption and what battery monitoring is included. You’ll want to make sure batteries don’t run flat when your caravan is left for long periods.
- If you invest in a sophisticated alarm system, check if it’s transferable to your next ‘van – it could save you some money – plus, you know you have a system you’re comfortable with.
Star Player Number 1
Keen Protector Two
Keen is a long-established designer and manufacturer of caravan alarm systems. A successor to the popular Concept KEL, the Protector Two is an instantly operating intruder alarm that protects contents and interior fittings. It will also protect a parked caravan via a sensor mounted underneath and close enough to a corner steady to detect the movement of a leg winder.
The alarm also connects to the ‘van’s road lighting wiring, sounding immediately if a thief attempts to connect the electrics to a towing vehicle.
Alternatively, if the thief attempts to drive off with your whole outfit, the siren will sound every time the footbrake is used. The kit – which comprises a control box with 12-way connecting lead, wall-mounting PIR with sensitivity adjustment and pulse-counter, corner steady leg sensor, 120dB siren and two remote key fobs – can be DIY fitted. It can also be linked to some satellite tracking systems.
Features also include 25mA currency draw, panic setting, full operating and installation instructions
Expect to pay £171
Star Player Number 2
SAS Caravan Security System 3
Running off the caravan battery with a 9V back-up (not supplied). This system includes a PIR, tilt motion sensor and internal (105dB) and external (110dB) sirens.
The control panel attached to the PIR has a real time display, showing date and time. There are also options to add another PIR and more magnetic switches.
Features also include 1.6mA battery drain, panic button, and fitting cable.
Expect to pay £79.99
Star Player Number 3
Autowatch 650 Caravan Alarm System
A system that claims approval from the independent assessor, Sold Secure, and is designed for professional fitting only (typical prices are from £100).
It includes a wireless PIR and wireless leg sensor, with an encrypted remote control. There are low battery indicators, awning light operation (handy when returning to your caravan in the dark, but it also flashes the awning light if the alarm is triggered) and false alarm nuisance prevention.
Features also include Remote panic alarm facility, instant alarm trigger, battery back-up, pager output, anti-tamper security housing.
Expect to pay £239
Will it affect my insurance?
Fit an alarm to your caravan and you’ll qualify for a 5% insurance discount with Caravan Guard (minimum premiums apply). Bear in mind free standing alarms that are not fixed to the caravan in some way are not accepted where it’s a mandatory insurance requirement to fit an alarm.
Over to you…
The Caravan Guard Gear Guide aims to give you an introduction to a specific product sector. But, we’re always keen to hear about your experiences or key advice. Feel free to share and add your comments below.