If you rely on a van to help you do your job, you will be acutely aware of the crippling effects on your business if anything were to happen to it.
Making sure your van is secure will not only bring down your insurance premiums – it will also minimise the possibility of something undesirable happening to your vehicle. But in order to give your van the protection it needs, you must first identify the major risks you could be facing.
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Theft is the most obvious problem facing most van owners. The scale of the risk is dependent on factors such as the location of your van and the precautions you take to secure it – both of which could also have a significant impact on your insurance premiums.
Keeping vehicles in a garage is less common these days so when thinking of ways in which you can reduce the risk of theft, you should consider measures that will make your van more difficult to steal as well as measures that will act as a deterrent to potential thieves.
There are certain steps you can take that are preventative and which act as deterrents. Combined alarm and immobiliser systems are a good example; many such systems feature a visual indication that an alarm is active, such as a flashing light on the dashboard. This will act as a deterrent to potential thieves.
If someone attempts to break into the van regardless, the alarm will sound, hopefully deterring them from proceeding any further. Finally, a sturdy immobiliser system should prevent the thief moving the vehicle – or at least make it more difficult.
Theft of content
A significant proportion of van thefts involve theft not of the vehicle itself but of its contents. This is a particularly severe risk if you keep tools or other equipment in your van – and even more so if you store them there overnight.
Again, steps that you can take to mitigate this risk could be deterrents, preventions, or a combination of the two. Perhaps the simplest example is the sign seen on many vans stating that ‘no tools are kept in this vehicle overnight.’ Regardless of whether or not this is true, these signs can act as an effective deterrent to opportunistic thieves.
It is vital, however, to ensure that the contents of your van are secure at all times. You can reduce the likelihood of thieves gaining access to your vehicle using a number of methods; these include grilles and blanks to protect windows, as well as bulkheads placed behind the front seats to ensure that access cannot be gained to the rear of the vehicle by smashing the windscreen or front windows.
It is important to remember that driving a van involves risks not just to you and your property, but also to others. You should take steps to ensure that you and your business mitigate the risk of an accident occurring, and minimise your liability as far as possible in the event that an accident does take place.
If you are an employer, you should think very carefully about which employees are permitted to use your vehicles. If you are not confident about the abilities of any of your employees you should not let them drive. Wherever possible, you should only hire those with clean driving licenses. This is doubly beneficial; past form is a good indicator of an individual’s abilities, and therefore hiring those with clean licenses may reduce the likelihood of an accident.
Aside from this, you should ensure that your vehicle is always in good working order. Commercial vehicles tend to be worked harder than a family car, and it is therefore important to check up on it more regularly. Rather than waiting for your MOT to come round each year, take your vehicle in for a full service every few months. Although this might seem like an unnecessary added expenditure, it can increase the safety and efficiency of your van – and even save you some money on petrol.
One of the best ways to protect yourself against these risks is to take out a good van insurance policy. This is both good business sense and a legal necessity. You can now buy van insurance with Simply Business, so that all your business covers are stored online in one account.
Commercial van owners face a number of risks to which others are not exposed. However, with a bit of forethought and a good insurance policy, you can make sure that those risks are reduced and dealt with efficiently and cost-effectively.