If you become the unfortunate victim of caravan theft, there are several different people that you will need to alert in order to try and recover your caravan and notify your insurance company as quickly as possible. When faced with the shock and upset that your caravan has been stolen, this can seem like a lot to organise, so with the help of Tim Booth, of the ACPO Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service, and Stephen Lawrence, the Club Care Claims Team Manager, we have compiled step-by-step guidelines on exactly what to do if your caravan is stolen.
Contacting the police
When you contact the police you will need to have your VIN number to hand; you can find this on your CRiS registration documents.
It does not need to be the registered keeper of the caravan who reports the theft to the police - it can be whoever is relevant to the situation as long as they have the VIN number. If you’re going on holiday and leaving your caravan at home, Tim Booth urges you to “leave contact details and photocopies of your CRIS and insurance documents with neighbours in case of emergency.”
Whether reporting the theft to 999 or 101, you will more than likely be asked the following:
- What were the make, model and description of the missing caravan?
- Were there any distinctive features that could identify the caravan as your own? This is particularly relevant to the exterior, for example, stickers, roof markings or minor damage.
- Between which hours on which day was your caravan stolen?
- Are you aware of any other caravans that were stolen at the same time from the same place as yours?
- Was the location it was stolen from secure?
What the police will do
Once the police have been notified about the theft, they will begin to look for your caravan. Road checks are made all year round and increase during peak season summer months. In addition to this, sometimes intelligence received or information provided by the general public can lead to the recovery of a stolen caravan. Stolen caravans are listed on a number of systems including the PNC (Police National Computer), CRIS, Caravan Theft Alerts, and insurance databases, so historic checks can be made by officers.
The amount of time that the police will consciously look for a stolen caravan depends on individual cases, however in most cases if your caravan has not been recovered within 21 days of the initial report, you will receive a letter from the police advising you that it has not been recovered.
Contacting your insurance provider
If you are insured with Club Care, it is not completely necessary for the policyholder to contact Club Care themselves; however Stephen Lawrence says that this is the preferred method as “it becomes more of a two-way conversation.” Representatives like to advise as well as ask questions, which they are not permitted to do if someone is calling on the policyholders behalf.
When calling Club Care, questions will always begin with Data Protection queries then follow a similar pattern as those asked by the police. They will also ask for permission to log your caravan onto the Caravan Theft Alerts system.
Once a theft has been reported by phone a claim form is to be completed by the claimant. This will be sent by post or email, whichever is preferred, and you will need to send it back to Club Care within 30 days. Upon receipt of your completed claim form, a Club Care loss adjuster will be assigned to your case and at some point soon they will need to physically check where the theft took place and create a report. You will be alerted to this but will not need to attend, though you can if you want to.
Your loss adjuster will then submit their report back to the claim handling department so that Club Care can assess whether any further information will be needed or it’s ok to process the claim.
Stephen advises us that in many cases “if a caravan is not recovered within the first 48 hours it generally means it is highly unlikely that it will be, unless years down the line” For that reason, Club Care does not wait any specific time for police to potentially recover caravans, and subject to the speed in which they receive the claim form, loss assessment report and additional information requested, their average claims handling time is four weeks.
If you have started a claim with Club Care and your caravan is recovered during that claim, what happens to the caravan depends on the extent of any damage to it. If undamaged, the caravan should be collected by its owner and Club Care will close the claim. If there has been some damage to the caravan, Club Care will attend to any repairs and the claim will proceed as a damage claim. Again, if the caravan is recovered but written off, the claim will proceed as a damage claim.
As soon as Club Care has approved your claim, guaranteed value policy holders and market value policy holders will be sent a cheque with the relevant amount to your policy. If you have a new for old replacement policy, the process can take longer as Club Care does not like to rush you into making a decision on your new caravan straight away.
If your caravan is recovered after a theft claim has been settled and you have received a cheque, the caravan will become property of Club Care Insurance.
Caravan Theft Alerts
Once all the relevant contacts have been alerted of your caravan’s theft, make sure it has been added to the Caravan Theft Alerts system. You can then download the widget for your own website, share links and keep up to date with latest alerts on social media.
Hopefully these guidelines should help you to stay calm if you do become a victim of caravan theft. In order to best prevent this from happening to you, Tim Booth advises caravan owners to ensure that they install security devices, protecting your caravan from theft and asking themselves “Have you done everything you can to prevent your caravan from being stolen?” For more information on how you can protect your caravan, read our Caravan security advice.