Caravan theft prevention: everything you need to know

caravan at nighttime

Danny Baggs

Posted April 05, 2023

As caravan demand rises, so does the potential for caravan theft. Here’s what you need to know to help prevent caravan theft, whether you’re at home or on the road.

Caravans are typically expensive vehicles that have seen high demand with Australians in recent years, as holidaymakers consider local holidays rather than overseas getaways. The Victorian Department of Transport reports that there was a 7,612 increase in caravan registrations from 2020 to 2021.

“Unfortunately, the spike in demand for new and second-hand caravans has resulted in a spate of caravan thefts and black markets,” says Bambi Gordon, CEO of Neighbourhood Watch Victoria. “Caravans are a lucrative target for thieves and often have expensive valuables left inside.”

How to protect your caravan from theft

Store your caravan when not in use

Like your car, when your caravan isn’t in use, consider parking it in a secure location such as your garage, a properly fenced yard, a locked building, or a commercial storage facility. Make sure to keep the caravan’s doors and windows locked at all times. You can also affix some Neighbourhood Watch stickers to your home and caravan to help deter thieves.

“Try not to park your caravan on your driveway or front lawn,” Gordon advises. “When you go on holidays with your caravan, it will be very obvious to potential burglars that you’re away.” In that case, you can also try and arrange for a house-sitter or ask a trusted neighbour to make it look like someone is at home by emptying your letterbox and bringing the bins in and out.

Security measures like wheel clamps, coupling padlocks, alarms and sensor lights can be effective theft deterrents. An automatic sensor light that switches on inside your caravan when it gets dark is very useful for making the caravan look occupied.

If you plan to leave your caravan at home when you go away, you can ask your neighbours to keep an eye on your property and to contact the police if they see something suspicious. Let them know that you haven’t given anybody permission to use or take the caravan. Home security systems such as alarm systems can also be a deterrent to opportunistic thieves.


man attaching a towing padlock to his caravan

Coupling padlocks can help prevent thieves detaching your caravan from your car. Image: Getty

Secure your valuables and personal property in the caravan

“The best way to avoid caravan contents theft is to remove temptation,” Gordon says. “Never leave valuables visible in your car or caravan. Keep them in your home or lock them away in a locked drawer or cupboard, or even a small safe.”

In addition, you can mark your property with your driver’s licence number (prefixed with a V for Victoria) using an engraver or ultraviolet pen. This helps to make stolen personal property harder to resell and easier to recover, deterring thieves from taking the goods in the first place. Valuables that can’t be marked, like jewellery, should be photographed and recorded with their makes, models and serial numbers in a secure document.

You can also close any curtains to make the caravan interior hard to see into.

Protect your caravan when on the road

When parking your caravan on a road trip, no matter whether it’s for an overnight stay at a caravan park, a quick nap or a fuel stop, always securely lock your car and caravan before leaving or going to sleep.

“It’s vital to lock all doors and windows on your vehicles when you’re not present, even if they’re parked on your own property or if you’re just ducking into a shop for a minute,” says Gordon. “Don’t hide a spare set of keys in or around your car or caravan either – thieves will search for them.”

At night, park in a well-lit and secure location wherever possible. Security devices like a wheel clamp, steering lock, alarm, hitch security device, engine immobiliser or tracking device can all help discourage thieves or catch them in action. External sensor lights are particularly good theft deterrents when caravanning in isolated areas.

“Consider parking with the hitch away from the standard access,” adds Gordon. “That means a criminal would have to turn the car and caravan around to escape, which takes much longer.” 


elderly woman sitting outside her caravan

Never leave your unlocked caravan unattended. Image: Getty

Invest in caravan insurance

In the unfortunate event of a theft, it pays to have comprehensive caravan insurance. RACV Onsite Caravan Insurance and Touring Caravan Insurance provides cover for theft, as well as fire, flood^ or storm, contents, temporary accommodation, and more. Onsite Caravan Insurance is for when your caravan is parked permanently in one spot: a “static caravan”. Touring Caravan Insurance is for when your caravan is being continually moved from place to place and includes towing cover.

Beware of caravan scams and cons

When buying a caravan, keep in mind that there is a growing black market for stolen caravans. Caravans are expensive vehicles, with smaller models selling for up to $50,000, so do your research before you buy to make sure you aren’t falling for a stolen caravan.

Before you put down cash or apply for a caravan loan, investigate the website or company you’re considering purchasing a caravan from. Several legitimate caravan hire or sales companies are having their names and logos used by scammers selling vans that don’t exist. Otherwise, thieves are driving stolen caravans interstate before selling them online as second-hand caravans.

If you’re looking to buy a caravan, check its VIN number online to ensure it isn’t reported stolen. You can also see if the seller is a member of RVMap, the Caravan Industry Association of Australia’s national accreditation program. Look for positive customer feedback and strong warranties on sellers’ websites. If possibly, visit the listed address to make sure it exists and have a face-to-face meeting with a staff member.


Protect your caravan from theft with RACV Caravan & Trailer Insurance.
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The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions, please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. Products issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Ltd ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.

^ Unless you have chosen to remove Flood, Rainwater run-off or Storm Surge cover where we have identified your onsite caravan location at risk of flooding

R.A.C.V. Finance Limited ABN 82 004 292 291 Australian Credit Licence No. 391488. RACV Finance is subject to RACV lending criteria. Conditions, fees and charges apply.