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The number of criminals specialising in 'crash for cash' scams involving vans is increasing, according to a recent report by the APU (Asset Protection Unit).

The report states that one third of 10,000 annual crash scams deliberately target vans.

The Asset Protection Unit, which is comprised of former forensic investigators and Police Officers, has shed some insight into why more van drivers are being targeted by these criminal gangs It has been reasoned that van drivers are more likely to be fully insured and, due to their busy work schedules, they may be less likely to dispute an insurance claim.

White Van with Dent

Neil Thomas, APU's Director of Investigative Services and a former Detective Inspector of West Midlands Police, stated, "This is yet another example of how criminal fraud gangs are becoming more sophisticated – they are thinking quite hard about exactly who they target on the roads and it’s based on solid logic."

'Crash for cash' schemes are reportedly costing the motoring industry around £130 million annually, with the average value of an incident costing £30,000.

The scam involves a member of the gang pulling out in front of a chosen target and hitting the brakes. This gives the innocent party very little time to stop the collision or react to the situation.

Peter Oakes, Head of Fraud at international commercial law firm Hill Dickinson, has announced that "over 17% of induced accidents are perpetrated by individuals who have previously committed fraud, and they are increasingly turning their attention to commercial vehicles. Data and analytics is the best weapon the industry has against the fraudsters".

The best way to combat these schemes is to ensure that the necessary van insurance is in place and van drivers should always follow the basic rules of the road to maintain concentration at all times.

Autorola, an online remarketing specialist, has been keeping tabs on used van prices over the last six months.

During this period the prices of used commercial vehicles have risen by more than 30 per cent. This means that the average prices of these vehicles have increased to record levels for the third quarter in a row.

Autorola has reported an all-time average price high in the second quarter of 2014. Used prices rose from around £9,605 to £10,513. This is just under a 10% increase of around £907.

White Ciroen Berlingo Van

At the moment this rise doesn't seem to be slowing down and there are a few reasons why it could be continuing.

Neil Frost, Autorola UK’s operations director, states, "More ex-fleet stock is coming back into the used market at 5-6 years of age with higher mileages and in a tired condition, this has helped increase demand for the newer used stock on our platform.".

Neil adds "SMEs are still buying used vans typically under £10,000 as they continue to grow, but struggle to get finance to buy a new van. With the holiday season nearly upon us and with the economy continuing to thrive it will be interesting to see whether prices stabilise in Q3 2014 or continue to rise".

With a continued rise of used van prices for the foreseeable future, one way that van owners are trying to keep some money in their pockets is by trying to get the cheapest van insurance quotes possible. Thankfully they have iVan to help them out with that, so they can run their business instead of browsing for the most suitable deals on cover.

Volkswagen commercial vehicles has marked the 60th UK anniversary of the legendary Transporter series by releasing a special 60th anniversary edition.

The mainstay of Volkswagens van range since the 1950s, the transporter range has certainly become a cult classic in the world of van enthusiasts.

VW Transporter T1 1950's

The newly announced 60th edition model called the Sportline 60 is set to replace the existing Transporter Sportline model.

This new flagship vehicle is being offered in both short and long-wheelbase forms, with the option of being either a panel van or kombi.

Style is another feature that the Transporter series has always been known to carry in spades and the new Sportline 60 is no different. This Transporter is being offered in either Reflex Silver or Deep Black metallic paint schemes as standard, but there is also a White version that comes with a Black roof.

In addition the Transporter Sportline 60 comes fitted with a colour-coded front bumper with a low front spoiler and a chrome grille. The rear also has a colour-coded bumper plus a roof spoiler and unique rear badge. This all sits on 18" five-spoke Anthracite wheels, and the vehicle is adorned with special decals, black steel side bars, and gloss black door mirror covers.

Volkswagen Transporter Sportline 60

Like the existing Transporter Sportline models, the new Sportline 60 comes packed with high-tech features. There's a Kenwood sat-nav 'infotainment' system with functionality for smartphone mirroring, a DAB radio, CD Player, and iPod and iPhone connectivity is also available.

Don't worry about scratching this new van either, as there are front and rear parking sensors and a rear facing camera for those tricky manoeuvres fitted as standard.

This is all powered by VW's top-of-the-range engine, a 2.0 litre BiTDI 180hp engine that pushes out a maximum of 400Nm in torque. Customers can choose between a six-speed manual transmission, or Volkswagen's excellent seven-speed DSG automatic gear box.

We think that this new Transporter Sportline 60 is a fantastic new addition to the manufacturer's line-up and advise anyone who owns or is thinking of owning one to get the most affordable VW Transporter insurance possible.

Once again Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum 60 sten und alles Gute Transporter! (Happy 60th birthday and all the best.)

With the roll-out of super-fast broadband now being undertaken in the UK, it seems sensible to make sure that the engineers doing the hard work have access to great vehicles to help them in their daily tasks.

This is why BT's network division, 'Openreach', has decided to update their vehicle range with 1,800 award-winning Fiat Doblò Cargo Maxi vans.

Fiat Doblo Cargo Maxi

The Fiat Doblò Cargo is certainly going to be the work-horse of BT's front lines. With a load volume of 5.0m3 and a maximum payload of up to one ton this is a van that BT can use with confidence.

Comfort is also another factor that BT wanted to provide for their engineers. The Doblò Cargo Maxi’s Bi-Link rear suspension gives an excellent ride and provides car-like handling, perfect for those long days out on the open road. In addition they produce low emissions and are cheap to run due to the onboard MultiJet diesel engines.

BT Fleet's commercial director Duncan Webb says, "These vehicles have been deployed to front-line engineers installing fibre broadband into homes and businesses across the UK.

"With a fleet of hard-working vehicles of this size it was important to have the right vehicles, which we have in the FIAT Doblò Cargo Maxi."

Let's hope that BT managed to get a great deal on their fleet van insurance.

Do you, like many others, keep a lot of valuables in your van? A lot of builders, plumbers, florists, gardeners, and other van owners keep their livelihood in the back of their vehicles.

Consequently, the theft of the valuables inside your van is a terrible thing, even worse when the van itself gets stolen too. The financial loss that can be incurred from the theft of your vehicle is great - there's the value of the van itself, the tools and materials kept inside, plus the value of the van to your business as a working vehicle.

Luckily there are plenty of things that you can do to help protect your van and valuables against theft, and lots of options when considering van security.


Tips for improving van security

#1 - Be aware of van security. This might sound a little obvious but the first step in securing you van is realising that it needs to be secured.

#2 - Think about the local environment. When out-and-about it is always best to park in busy, well-lit locations, somewhere a potential thief cannot gain uninterrupted access to the vehicle. When parking at home it can be a good idea to have a security light (motion detection) focused on the vehicle to help deter any unwanted interest in your vehicle.

#3 - Think about what your needs are when buying your van. It is great to have a top model van, something new and shiny, with awesome rims and a nice sound system. While that is all true, remember, you are unlikely to be the only person to think like that and could be drawing attention to your vehicle. Furthermore, do you really need such a fancy van to get you from A to B? For instance think, 'do I really need those glazed rear windows?' They let everyone see into the back of your van, so why not go for some blacked out windows instead or perhaps have wire mesh fitted on the rear windows and a mesh bulkhead behind the driver's seat? It might not look 'cool' but it'll make people think twice before they attempt a break-in.

#4 - Keep a record of what is inside your van. Again, this might sound simple but it can be very useful if you ever do suffer a break-in. Keeping a detailed record of all of the items that are inside the van can help when making a van insurance claim. You'll know exactly what was taken. You can also add security tags to the more valuable equipment which can help with the retrieval of your goods by the police.

#5 - Make sure the vehicle is locked. Whenever you are not in the same vicinity as your van, make sure that it is locked, apply any alarms that you may have, apply wheel locks, hand brake locks, lockable fuel caps, locking wheel nuts - they all help to keep your van safe. It is also a good idea to fit a catalytic converter anti-theft device as thieves are now targeting vehicles' catalytic converters and the precious metals they hold inside. As a van is bigger and has larger components than a car, it makes these items sought after by crooks. GPS tracking can also help if your van does get pinched plus it can also help to lower your van insurance which is an added bonus! Also it is a good idea to have stickers fitted onto the vehicle warning of any safety measures that have been fitted and that no tools are left in the vehicle overnight - which leads on to number six.

#6 - Don't leave valuables in you van over night. You should always remove the valuables from you van at night and stow them away somewhere more secure.

While it can be very hard to keep a determined intruder out of a vehicle the safety measures mentioned above will go a great step towards ensuring that your van and possessions remain safe.