Discovering your horse trailer has been stolen, vandalised or broken into is a horrible experience. As well as the shock, you could lose much-loved items and have the inconvenience of needing to find replacements.
Ensuring your horse trailer has the best possible security is a good way to deter thieves so you never go through this unpleasant time. As well as having the right horse trailer insurance, what are the main things you should do to improve the security of your horse trailer?
Store it somewhere safe
The location of your trailer is probably the number one factor in whether it is a target for thieves. A trailer left on the road is much easier to steal - opportunist thieves even drive around, looking for an accessible vehicle to take. A secure yard or garage will deter many thieves. If this is not available, keeping the horse trailer on your driveway will still improve security. As a further incentive, horse trailer insurance providers usually offer discounts for cover where the trailer is kept off-road.
Highly visible CCTV cameras are a strong deterrent. Even if they do not put off the criminals, the footage makes it much more likely that police will be able to trace your property and punish those responsible. Of course, using CCTV is much easier if the horse trailer is stored off-road.
Use a security post
If you’re not lucky enough to have your own secure yard to store a horse trailer, a security post can be the next best thing, at a fraction of the price. These metal bollard-style posts are locked to a socket in the ground, forming an additional barrier for would-be thieves. You may even secure a discount on your insurance if you fit one.
Invest in an alarm
Many thieves will back off if they see a vehicle is fitted with an alarm. Thieves often look for horse trailers in remote places where they are unlikely to be spotted. Putting an alarm onto your horse trailer gives the best chance of alerting someone to the attempted theft if you are targeted by criminals.
Use a hitch lock
Physical locks are crude but effective. You could opt for a tongue lock or hitch lock, which fit onto the trailer’s hitch and make it unusable, so it’s much harder for thieves to tow the trailer away. Otherwise, it’s not too hard for thieves to simply attach your trailer to their own vehicle and drive away with it.
Add a wheel lock
Wheel locks can also be a strong deterrent. They fit over the trailer wheel and prevent the wheel from turning, so a thief would have to drag the trailer away in order to get it. This is possible, but it would make a very loud noise!
Buy a security chain
A thick, heavy chain is another good way to make thieves think twice before trying to take your horse trailer. A strong 10mm chain with a padlock can be threaded through the trailer structure or wheels, or even attached to a ground anchor screwed into the ground for extra security.
Put up warning signs
If you spend money on security devices to deter thieves, make sure you tell would-be thieves all about it! Signs warning thieves that you have CCTV or a security device adds another level of deterrent, so they do not need to even come close to your trailer to be put off.
Keep a photographic record of your trailer
If you wake up to find your trailer missing, photographs showing the vehicle and any equipment kept inside could be very useful for both insurance purposes and to assist the police. Take regular photos of your trailer to help in the event of theft.
Install a tracking device
Tracking devices help you to locate where your trailer has been taken in the event of theft. These inexpensive GPS tracking devices can be easily fitted to a vehicle, then you use a smartphone app to find out where the trailer is. Trackers can be really useful in leading the police to the stolen goods, and making it more likely that the criminals will be caught. Don’t forget to put a sign on the vehicle stating that a tracking device has been fitted.
Buy a guard dog
Of course, a pet should only ever be purchased with careful consideration about the responsibility and commitment involved. However, if you have the time and the space for a four-legged friend, choosing a dog breed suited to guarding will help to protect your property. Guard dogs can help alert you or any passers-by to thieves, especially at night. Many thieves will be intimidated if they see a dog at a property, as it makes it more likely they will be caught or bitten.
Park in busy places
If you’re taking your trailer out and about, the temptation is to go for the biggest parking space as this is the easiest to manoeuvre into. This could be a mistake - large parking spots are also usually quiet and with fewer passers-by. Thieves like to work undisturbed, so they are more likely to target vehicles parked in secluded locations. Work on your parking skills so you can back into bays in busier places.
Make your trailer distinctive
Thieves prefer a generic-looking trailer that can easily be sold on - a distinctive vehicle is much more likely to be spotted and is more of a headache for them to get rid of. Decal stickers are a low-cost way to personalise your trailer and make it stand out from the crowd.
Think through your response to theft
What would you do if your horse trailer was taken? In the heat of the moment, it’s often hard to think clearly. Knowing the procedure for notifying police and claiming on your horse trailer insurance will save you precious time if you are unlucky enough to be a victim.
Make sure you understand the terms of your insurance, for example what is covered, what exclusions apply, what excess you need to pay and whether any conditions are attached to your policy. Insurers often give discounts for having security so make sure you declare it when you’re being quoted.
Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.