Replacement car key insurance

Car insurance can cover the cost to replace lost and stolen keys, plus car lock repairs and replacement.

Amanda Bathory-Griffiths

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Replacing lost and stolen car keys

If your car keys are lost or stolen, check your car insurance for replacement key cover.

Replacement key cover in a comprehensive car insurance policy will usually include:

  • Replacing the keys
  • Locksmith or manufacturer charges
  • Repairing or replacing your car’s locks
  • Altering the engine control unit, alarms and immobiliser

Key points

  • Lost and stolen keys can be covered as standard, be added as an optional extra, or you can buy a separate policy
  • Some insurers cover the cost of car hire and recovery of a stranded vehicle
  • You’ll usually pay an excess for replacement keys
  • Compare the cost of excess against the cost of new keys, alterations to your car, a hire car and recovery to make sure you’re getting value for money

How much is a replacement car key?

You’ll probably have to pay an excess charge (your compulsory, plus any voluntary excess) for replacement keys, but check your policy documents.

The excess is a nuisance, but if you don’t have cover it’s a costly bill - in 2018, the average cost just to replace a car key was £252.

The price depends on the car and key you have. Generally, the more sophisticated the key the more it’ll cost – and remote keys tend to cost more.

Your car might need taking to a garage for work to be completed too. If your key was stolen, parts in your car will need to be replaced or altered to take a new key.

And if there’s a delay, you’ll probably need a hire car - it all adds up quickly.

Reporting lost or stolen keys

If your keys have been stolen, report the crime to the police and get a crime reference number - you’ll need one to make a claim with your insurer.

If you’ve lost your keys, you’ll usually be covered. But if a family member or one of your friends loses them, it’s unlikely your insurer will pay out. Don’t lie and tell the insurer they’ve been stolen instead - it’s fraud.

Which type of car insurance will replace car keys?

A fully comp policy gives the most cover, but third-party, fire and theft can provide some cover too. They vary, so we checked Defaqto to see what would happen if your keys were lost or stolen.[1]

Comprehensive car insurance
Third-party, fire and theft (TPFT) car insurance

Of 363 comprehensive car insurance policies, 213 would cover you as standard if you lost your keys and 327 policies will cover you if your keys are stolen. 
The maximum amount insurers would pay out to replace your car keys varied a lot, so carefully read your policy to find out what you’re covered for - only 85 would pay out £1,500 or more to cover the cost of replacing locks and lost keys. [1]

TPFT policies don’t normally include cover to replace your car keys - only 43 out of 193 covered it as standard. 

You’re more likely to be covered if they're stolen - 87 policies covered stolen keys. 

Many had a maximum limit on how much you could claim for lock replacement, so even if it won’t replace the keys, the insurer may be able to support other costs. [1]

Key points

  • If replacement key cover isn’t part of your policy, it could be available as an add on, or you could buy it through an independent, specialist insurer - shop around to find the right price.

Will making a claim raise my premium?

If you lose your keys, and no third party was at fault, your premium will probably go up. But there are other ways you can make your car insurance premium more affordable.

The use of smart technology in keys and other keyless devices means that, for some vehicles, the only way to get a replacement is through the manufacturer - which can be both time-consuming and expensive

Matt Oliver, GoCompare car insurance expert

Making a claim when keys are left out in the open

If you leave your keys in the ignition and they’re stolen, your insurer won’t cover you. Whether you’re paying for petrol or you’ve dashed back to the house, always take the keys with you.

If your insurer refuses to pay out, you can challenge the decision for free with the Financial Ombudsman. They’ll check:

  • Your policy documents for exclusions
  • How far away from the car you were
  • If the car was on private property
  • If reasonable care was taken
  • Your car’s security

Tips to keep your possessions safe

The smallest things encourage opportunistic thieves:

  1. Don’t leave anything on show

    Even in a locked vehicle use gloveboxes, door pockets and the boot

  2. Empty your car if you’re going away

    Open the glove box and remove your boot cover to show there’s nothing to steal

  3. Clear out your car regularly

    Avoid a build-up of things like clothing, tools and electronics

Keeping your keys safe

Reduce the chances of losing your keys, or them getting stolen, in the first place:

  1. Never keep your spare keys in your car glove box

  2. Don't leave car keys on view - such as on kitchen or hall tables - when you go to bed

  3. When you buy a car, always ask the dealer or previous owner for a spare

  4. Don't keep all your car keys on the same fob

Car insurance guides and tools

[1]Last checked 27 August 2019

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