Everyone has had that moment of fear when the car keys are missing – where have you left them? Are they locked in the car? Did you drop them at work?
It is a fairly common and frustrating problem, but what are your options if you can’t find them, and how can your car insurance policy mitigate the costs of having to pay for a replacement set? Here we explain what you should do in this scenario.
Misplacing your keys
Firstly, it’s worth thoroughly looking through all your clothes, bags, hiding places and drawers in your house, because it is increasingly expensive to have keys replaced.
If you lock your keys inside your car, then most of the time the breakdown service will get them out of the car for no extra cost (providing you have cover with them). If they can’t get them out, then a locksmith will be required, which you may have to pay for.
Some premium packages include the option to pick up a spare key from your home to bring to you, so you don’t have to damage the lock.
Getting new keys
If nothing can be done about retrieving your keys, then unfortunately you may have to get them replaced, which as mentioned is expensive.
The reasons behind this are obvious – as the key’s technology becomes more advanced, the more expensive it is to manufacture and replace.
Car keys are now high-tech smart devices, fitted with immobilisers, programming chips, alarms and ignition software, which whilst improving the car’s security, also increases the problems when things go wrong.
Car insurance and replacement keys
Depending on who your car insurance policy is with, your keys may be covered, but it is always worth reading the small print. Some insurers will automatically offer key cover, some will offer it as an upgraded cover and some as an extra add-on.
For example, 1st Central offer up to £1500 of cover to replace keys and locks, which would cover most models of car in the UK. This would include locksmith charges, replacement keys and new locks if necessary.
As usual, policies will vary depending on which provider you choose. Some will offer complimentary car hire while your keys are replaced, some won’t charge an excess, and some choose to honour your no claims bonus, should you lose a key and make a claim.
Tips on how to keep your keys safe
- Don’t leave your keys unattended – keep them out of sight in a bag or pocket.
- Try not to put all your keys on the same ring, because if you lose one, you lose all of them.
- If you give them to a mechanic, then only give them the necessary keys.
- When you buy through a private seller or dealership, always ask for two sets of keys.
- Don’t leave a spare key in the glove box (you’d be surprised how many people do this).
- Leave your keys out of sight in your house – cars are often stolen through home burglaries.
- If possible, give a spare key to a trusted family member or friend.