With a caravan holiday being one of the favourite ways to spend time off, it has never been more important for holidaymakers to make sure the caravan they are buying or renting is above board, and knowing how to check if a caravan is stolen is definitely a skill you want before parting with your hard-earned cash.
Caravans have been known to be stolen from the back of haulage lorries and left stranded in random places with no way of getting back home, so holidaymakers need to take a few minutes to check if the caravan they are about to buy or rent isn’t stolen.
There are a few simple steps that can be taken to ensure that the caravan is not stolen, something we like to call a caravan check:
– Firstly, always ask for proof of ownership. This could be in the form of a V5C document (for motorhomes) or an invoice.
– Check that the caravan has all its documents with it before purchase. Ensure that the seller provides you with the necessary papers, such as logbooks and a Touring Caravan Registration Document (used to notify the CRiS of changes in ownership).
Thieves are frequently unable to provide such documentation because the previous owner should have kept it separate from the van.
– Ask to see the warranty details and check they are valid for the correct dates on the invoice.
-If possible, contact previous owners to check that they have sold the caravan legitimately.
-Cash payments should be avoided! You should be concerned if the seller refuses to sell the caravan to you unless you pay cash.
-Check the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) on the chassis and the bottom of the windows; if it’s been tampered with, or if there isn’t one at all, it’s advisable to avoid the vehicle because the seller may have something to conceal.
Cross-reference the VIN with the Caravan Registration and Identification Scheme if one exists.
-Ask for confirmation of identity, addresses, and even images of them using the caravan as an added precaution – this may seem excessive, but any legitimate vendor will gladly oblige if they have nothing to hide.
-If the price appears too good to be true, be skeptical! Stolen caravans are difficult to conceal; therefore, criminals will want to earn a quick profit and not price at the same level as a trustworthy merchant. Ask as many questions as possible to obtain a better impression of if the sale appears genuine.
-It’s a good idea to ‘sense check’ the advertisement before contacting the seller or going to see the caravan. Scammers frequently use ‘stock’ photos or even interior shots that aren’t from the actual advertised model.
Before proceeding with the vendor, double-check that all of the information appears to match the manufacturer’s descriptions and photographs. A real ad will most likely include images of the caravan on the drive or from vacation photos, so keep an eye out for this.
-If you are still unsure about the caravan’s legitimacy, it is always best to contact the police or a local caravan dealer for advice. By following these few simple steps, you can be sure that your holiday will be enjoyable and worry-free.
-Damage to the towing hitch is a common symptom of a caravan that has been stolen. Mismatched wheels or alloys are another item to watch for since this could indicate that the wheel was removed to steal the caravan or damaged in the process of a hasty departure.
As well as taking these precautions when buying or renting a caravan, it is also important to take steps to protect your caravan when it is not in use. Caravan security products, such as wheel clamps and hitch locks, can help to deter thieves and keep your caravan safe.
Are All Caravans CRiS Registered?
The Caravan Registration and Identification Scheme, otherwise known as CRiS, was created in 1985 to protect the privacy of caravan owners. The scheme also offers caravan owners an added level of security in the event of theft by allowing caravans to be identified when making a purchase or rental agreement.
However, it is important to note that not all caravans are CRiS registered.
How Can I Find Out If My Caravan Is CRiS Registered?
The easiest way to find out if your caravan is CRiS registered is by searching for its VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). A CRiS number should be present on an accompanying document or the caravan’s chassis.
If you cannot find the number, or if it has been tampered with, it is best to avoid purchasing the caravan.
How Can I Determine The Age Of A Caravan?
The major indicator of your caravan’s age is the VIN, also known as the chassis, serial, or CRIS number. The VIN can be found in the window, door, or A-frame of your caravan. Other ways to determine age include looking at dates on receipts.
How Can I Stop My Caravan From Being Stolen?
Secure your windows and doors. Fit window locks and use locking handles. Ensure both doors are locked, even if the caravan is in the garden or on your driveway.
Secure your towing hitch. Use a hitch lock to prevent the caravan from being towed away.
Use security lighting. Security lighting can be used as a deterrent to thieves and will help you see who is around your caravan when it is dark.
Install a caravan tracking device. A tracking device will allow you to track your caravan’s location in the event of theft.
Secure your wheels. Use caravan wheel clamps to prevent the caravan from being easily towed away.
Register your caravan with CRiS. Registration with CRiS can help protect your caravan in the event of theft and make it easier to identify if it is stolen.
Get an alarm so that you know if someone is tampering with your caravan.
Store your caravan in a secure location. If you cannot take your caravan with you on holiday, store it in a secure location such as a locked garage or storage unit.
Discreet property marking. Use a property marking system to mark your caravan with your postcode or driver’s license number. This will help the police identify your caravan if it is recovered after being stolen.
When buying a used caravan, it is important to be vigilant and look for any signs that the vehicle may have been stolen. This includes looking for obvious signs of damage such as broken windows or door handles and taking note of the VIN to check it against the registration list.
It is also important if you are looking to buy a caravan that you research where you are buying it from. It is best to avoid purchasing a caravan off of someone via online classifieds or community websites, as this can prove difficult without an address for the seller.
If you are buying a caravan from someone “in person,” take care when looking at it, noting who the seller is, the age of the caravan and any signs of damage or tampering with the serial number.