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Like other motor vehicles, motorhomes and campervans must be registered with the DVLA.
However, that is just merely registering the base vehicle. It’s unlikely that any details of the conversion are included and it’s not a system geared towards the needs of leisure vehicle owners.
For many years, caravan owners have had an industry-run registration scheme called CRiS (Central Registration and Identification Scheme) which provides a similar register and offers valuable services to you, the police and cover providers.
More recently, the enhanced security elements of that scheme have been made available for motorhomes too. You can add electronic ‘VIN CHIPs’ to both the base vehicle and conversion elements of your vehicle, along with visible markings and warning label, making it much harder for thieves to disguise the van’s true identity.The latest chips can be read from up to 15m away even if the vehicle is moving.
If you are buying a new vehicle, ask your dealer if this can be included. If not, or if your secondhand purchase hasn't already got it, contact VIN CHIP to find out how it can be added.
If your secondhand motorhome already has a VIN CHIP, make sure it has been re-registered to you, by applying through the 'Change of keeper' page of the VIN CHIP website.
Why does this matter?
Theft of these valuable vehicles is a lucrative business, so thieves will go to great lengths to disguise the identity of a stolen motorhome or campervan. That can involve 'cloning' the details of another vehicle (often a commercial van of the same type) onto your outfit, or even swapping the entire cab for another one. Secure identification of both the base vehicle and the habitation conversion can help reveal this.
Should the worst happen and your motorhome or campervan is stolen, the police and insurers can use the database to identify suspect vehicles. This might get your van back to you, might help your insurer recover some of the cost of a theft claim by reselling the van (thus helping to keep everyone’s insurance costs down) or might even help the police secure a conviction.