RVs are a big investment. They are our weekend homes away from home, and in many cases, our only home. One thing that many RV owners don’t often think about is RV theft. We go through great lengths to protect our sticks-and-bricks homes from break-ins, so why should our RVs be any different?
For weekend and part-time RVers, we tend to leave our rigs in storage facilities between camping trips. The main issue with doing so is these storage facilities are hotspots for RV theft because in many cases, thieves can come and go without detection. Plus, it could be weeks, or months, before an unsuspecting RV owner finds their rig missing or broken into.
Even if the storage facility is equipped with cameras or can only be accessed using a gate code, there are certain things you should do to enhance the security of your RV.
So what steps can you take to prevent your camper or motorhome from being broken into or stolen?
In this article we are going to cover what precautions you can take as an RV owner to secure your investment, so you don’t fall victim to an RV theft or break-in.
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- Is RV Theft Common?
- 9 Tips To Prevent RV Theft And Break-Ins
- Does RV Insurance Cover Theft?
- Final Thoughts
Is RV Theft Common?
RV theft isn’t very well tracked. When an RV is stolen, it is often classified as an auto theft since RVs are classified as vehicles. So, the chances of coming up with any hard data reflecting the total number of thefts per year is somewhat of a challenge.
With that said, although we all know that RV theft happens, nobody can provide the exact number.
What we do know is that thieves are looking for a quick score. If they can back up to your rig and hitch up, they can steal your RV in a matter of minutes. In addition, if they can get into your RV, they can clean you out before you know it.
If you set up your rig in a way to make it difficult for a would-be thief, there is a strong chance the thief will determine your rig just isn’t worth the trouble.
9 Tips To Prevent RV Theft And Break-Ins
A travel trailer or motorhome has a higher chance of being broken into or stolen if it is left unattended for long periods of time. Which is why storage facilities are a common target for RV thieves. It isn’t hard to look at a camper in a storage facility and tell if it has been there for a while.
The safest place to store your camper is at your house. But not everyone has the space available to park their RV in their yard or in the driveway. Plus, some HOA rules may prohibit storing campers and motorhomes in the neighborhood.
Travel trailers and fifth wheels tend to be made with lightweight materials that are not very durable, making them extremely easy for a thief to get in. In addition, many of the campers on the market are all keyed the same.
If you don’t believe me, take out your basement storage key and your RV door key. Is the number on your basement storage key CH751 and your door key numbered G371? Just think about how many thieves are aware of this.
1. RV Door And Basement Lock Upgrades
There is a benefit of keeping your factory door and basement locks. If you get locked out of your camper, simply ask your camp neighbor if they can let you in. There is a very good chance their key will fit your RV.
However, the drawbacks of having your things stolen far outweigh the convenience of someone in the campground letting you back into your camper.
Not only are replacement locks easy to install, but they also add an extra layer of security to your RV.
2. Locking Wheel Chocks/Boots
Locking wheel chocks, or boots, are a great RV theft deterrent. Once the device is installed and locked, it must be removed before the camper or motorhome can be moved.
X-Chocks not only keep your camper stable while your camping, but they can also be locked in place to keep your camper from being moved.
Installing a lockable boot on your rig is another great way to prevent RV theft.
3. Hitch Locks
Using a travel trailer hitch lock or fifth wheel king pin lock are another great way to prevent RV theft. If a thief can’t hook up to your rig, he can’t steal it.
4. Steering Wheel Lock For Motorhome
While motorhomes are less likely to be stolen than towable RVs, a simple steering wheel lock can prevent someone from driving off in your rig.
5. Hidden GPS Tracker
A GPS tracker won’t keep your RV from being stolen or broken into, however, it will help you find it if it has been stolen.
In a 2022 article by WZTV Nashville, police were able to find and recover a stolen food truck using the owners GPS tracking system that had been placed inside the trailer. When they found the food truck, they also found an additional food truck and a stolen travel trailer on the property.
There are many GPS tracking devices available for every budget making it easy to find one that fits your needs.
6. Security/Alarm Systems Prevent RV Theft
Security systems and alarms for your RV range anywhere from a simple plug-in camera monitoring system all the way up to systems that are designed to detect fire, glass breakage, and more. In addition, some higher end security systems, like SimpliSafe also offer 24/7 monitoring.
Another solution is a dashboard camera. While a simple dashcam won’t keep your rig from being stolen, one with parking mode will capture video footage of any vandalism that may occur while you’re away.
With so many options available, be sure to choose the setup that best suits your needs, and your budget.
7. Keep Window Blinds Closed
Keeping the blinds in your RV closed will keep burglars from being able to see what’s inside. This includes you and your valuables.
8. Make Your RV Look Occupied
When you are at a campground or boondocking off-grid, make your RV look occupied if you plan to leave it for an extended period of time. If your rig looks like you are inside or are set to return at any time, a thief will most likely keep going.
If your travel trailer has multiple or opposing slides, keep them out. Make sure your stabilizers are fully deployed as well. This makes it very difficult for a thief to steal your RV.
Remember, a thief is looking for an easy, quick score.
9. Store Your RV At Home
The safest place to store your RV is at home. When parking your rig at home, keep it out of sight, if possible.
We are lucky enough to have plenty of room to keep our travel trailer at home. We also keep the hitch locked and we have a lockable gate at the entrance of our property that keeps people from gaining access to our camper.
Of course, not everyone has the space available to store their RV on their property. The next best solution is an RV storage facility. Be sure to check the security systems in place at the facility and utilize some of the other RV theft deterrents listed above.
Does RV Insurance Cover Theft?
In most cases RV insurance covers theft. However, it depends on your policy and what types of coverage you have.
If your RV insurance includes comprehensive coverage, then RV theft may be covered. In addition, your insurance provider may cover personal belongings that may be stolen during a break-in.
Always check your RV insurance policy for what is covered and what isn’t.
The fact is that although the statistics regarding RV theft are vague, it does happen. And with RV ownership on the rise, it would be safe to assume that RV theft is on the rise as well.
The key to not falling victim to one of these cowardly thieves is to be prepared. Depending on what type of RV you have, assess your current situation, and take steps to protect your investment.
Sure, nothing in this article is 100% effective to preventing RV theft or a break-in. If a thief wants your RV or your things bad enough, they are going to get it. They key to RV theft prevention is having multiple obstacles and layers of security in place to make it so difficult to steal that it just isn’t worth the effort.
David is a U.S. Air Force veteran who currently lives on the Texas Gulf Coast with his wonderful wife of 26 years and their two furry companions, Gus and LuLu.
As an outdoor and RV enthusiast, David loves to spend his free time taking road trips and spending as much time as possible at the campground with the family in their 2018 Dutchmen Kodiak 201QB travel trailer