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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
Updated 24 June 2021  | 3 min read

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?

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. For these, the cost including labour can run to hundreds of pounds.

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.

You might be able to claim on your car insurance for your lost or stolen keys, but remember to factor in your excess. Your excess is the amount you have to pay towards any claim. If your excess is a few hundred pounds, it might be more than the cost of paying for the replacement key yourself.

Will my car insurance pay to replace car keys?

It depends on the policy. Comprehensive car insurance policies are much more likely to include the cost of car key replacement than third-party fire and theft.

We checked Defaqto to find out what's covered if your keys are lost or stolen:[1]

Comprehensive car insurance

Of 363 comprehensive car insurance policies, 66% would cover you as standard if you lost your keys and 89% of 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 22% would pay out £1,500 or more to cover the cost of replacing locks and lost keys.[1]

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

TPFT policies don’t normally include cover to replace lost car keys – only 22% out of 187 policies covered it as standard. 

You’re more likely to be covered if they're stolen – 40% of 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]

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.

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.

Keyless fob are a gamechanger for unlocking your car with your hands full, but they can be a headache if they get lost of stolen. You'll probably have to go to your car's manufacturer to get a replacement, which can be time-consuming and expensive"
Ryan Fulthorpe, 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

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[1]Last checked 3 June 2021

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