Thefts of and from motorhomes in the United Kingdom have fallen for the first nine months of the year, new figures show.
Research from insurance specialist Caravan Guard show that claims for theft of and from motorhomes fell by almost 50% between January and September when compared to the same period last year, according to a news release.
The company attributes the fall to increasingly vigilant and security conscious motorhome owners as well as ever improving security products available to motorhome owners such as high tech tracking devices and alarms.
Director Chris Nettleton added, “It’s great to see theft falling. We encourage our customers to invest in security – we offer up to 35% discount for various security devices including 30% off for tracking devices.
“We are also seeing a rise in motorhome owners improving the storage conditions for their motorhomes by fitting driveposts or locked gates at home or choosing high security storage sites.”
At the same time the company has seen a 40% plus increase in accidental damage claims since last year – driveway scrapes, hitting low walls and bridges just a few unfortunate instances observed.
Nettleton added, ”Accidental damage claims are by far the most costly types of claim in motorhome insurance. Accidents can happen to even the most experienced of drivers and it’s our job to get people back on the road as quickly as possible – almost 90% of our customers rate our overall claims service as exceptional or above average so we must be succeeding.”
He continued, “We do however, reward owners with an insurance discount for fitting reversing cameras or sensors which may just help to avoid a few minor bumps.”
Recreational vehicle owners Joe and Sandy Costanza say there’s a problem with security on the city-owned site in Antioch, Calif., where they keep their trailer.
There is none.
A recent string of break-ins and other vandalism at the Gentrytown Drive facility has drawn ire from RV owners who believe the city has been slow to respond, according to the Contra Costa Times.
Longtime renter Mike Lazzarini found his new vehicle ransacked the weekend of Jan. 30; the door had been “literally ripped open” and there was also other damage.
The city never notified the owners, Sandy Costanza said; it was Lazzarini who notified the Costanzas about their RV after he went to the site Feb. 1 and saw what had happened to his own vehicle.
Some vehicle owners likely are still unaware of the break-ins, said RV owner Charlie Campbell, noting that several RV doors on the premises had been duct-taped to prevent rain damage and that some have broken windows.
Police said there were three to four reports of incidents at the storage site over the past year, including the recent complaint that involved several victims. The break-in was the third for the Costanzas, and the cost of repairs from the latest incident is about $3,000, they said.
When the residents presented their plight to Antioch leaders during a recent city council meeting, some council members suggested revisiting a 2007 city law prohibiting RV parking at homes.
The site is fenced and has a gate that requires keypad entry for access. However, no one has been on site to watch the property since a person who lived in a singlewide trailer in front of the property moved out in the beginning of January, said Ron Bernal, director of public works.
The man had an agreement with city to watch the property in exchange for keeping his home there, Bernal said.
“We’re in the process of trying to get somebody on board on the interim,” Bernal said. That person could have more direct contact with RV owners, he said.
Antioch has met with three security companies in hopes of implementing new measures, and hopes to get cost estimates shortly and make a decision, Bernal said. The options include motion detectors, laser beam detection or a recordable key pad technology.
Antioch has promised added security “since I came here in 1978,” Lazzarini said.
Measures like bushes or razor wire on the chain-link fence could deter vandals from accessing the half-filled site, RV owner Marty Fernandes said. City code doesn’t allow that, Bernal said.
“The city makes money here; it makes sense to invest a little bit in security,” Fernandes said.
Antioch allows one “grandfathered” RV in public view under tight restrictions. That decision came after months of haggling over whether homeowners should have to place vehicles such as boats, campers and motor homes out of public view.
Fernandes told the council that an Antioch police officer told him he’d be better off keeping his vehicle on his property because the city is too short-staffed to enforce the rules.
Councilman Reggie Moore said the council may want to revisit the RV issue. Further, he was troubled that people have been paying to store their vehicles in an insecure lot given the hard economic times.
RV owners are charged from $30 to $50 per month for storage, depending on size.
“I kind of feel somewhat responsible, to a certain extent,” Antioch Mayor Jim Davis said at last week’s council meeting.
“We have every responsibility to make sure (the site) is safe and well-kept,” he said.
Davis asked staff to set up a meeting, including himself, with the disgruntled RV owners to try to resolve the issue.