Security of used cars and vans without access to formal storage facilities could be a growing problem for the remarketing sector over the course of the coronavirus lockdown, says the Vehicle Remarketing Association.
The body, which represents organisations involved in the remarketing of 1.5m cars and vans every year, said that large numbers of vehicles left largely unattended in storage could attract theft and vandalism.
Sam Watkins, chair of the VRA, explained: “Where cars and vans are being stored in large, structured facilities, it is much less of a problem, because there are going to be comprehensive security measures in place ranging from fencing to cameras as well as an ongoing human presence on the ground. Indeed, in most places of this type, security has largely been enhanced in recent weeks.
“The problems are likely to arise in smaller locations that were never designed to be left unattended for long periods of time, notably dealer forecourts and ad hoc storage compounds. Vehicles are quite vulnerable in these circumstances.
“Especially, if the lockdown experience in the UK parallels that seen in other countries, there will be some non-compliance as the weeks pass and it seems sensible to assume that there will be people leaving their homes, some with criminal intent.”
VRA members had been discussing the topic during a VRA webinar last week and Sam said that two key aspects that needed tackling – insurance and security.
“Our initial advice for businesses using these smaller sites is to talk to your insurer. Your policy probably doesn’t cover you for vehicles that are left at a site that is essentially unattended for weeks at a time. It is possible or probable that this condition has been suspended by your insurer but you should check.
“The second is to look at security. Call your local police station and explain the circumstances and your concerns. They may be able to drive by the site every day or you might arrive at some other measure that maintains social distancing but reduces the likelihood that there is criminal activity on the site.”
The VRA is running a series of webinars that are being held to support members through the challenges presented by the lockdown. The next will take place on 8 April.
Sam said: “The webinar format is proving a very popular way of raising and discussing topics that members are facing during the lockdown. These are difficult times and being able to draw on the expertise of the VRA is essential for people working in the remarketing sector.”