House keys and home insurance

Lost or stolen keys can mean more than just the cost of replacing them. Find out how your home insurance can help, how to keep your keys safe and when your cover can be affected.

Eve Powell
Eve Powell
Updated 24 January 2022  | 3 mins read

Does home insurance cover replacement locks and keys?

Not all home insurance policies have replacement key and lock cover as standard, so it’s worth checking to see if it’s included.

If you don’t have key replacement cover you can buy it as an add-on. It helps cover replacing lost or stolen keys and the cost of using locksmith services to help you get back into your home.

Key points

  • Home insurance may cover replacing locks and keys or it could be available as a policy add-on
  • You need to change your locks as soon as possible after your keys are lost or stolen
  • For your home insurance to be valid, your keys should be kept in a safe place and your house made secure
  • Some insurers will allow you to use a key safe, but conditions may apply

Does home insurance cover theft if your door lock is broken or left unlocked?

If your home’s burgled when a lock is broken or a door is accidentally left unlocked, you may not be covered.

It’s much easier for a burglar if they can get into your home without needing to break in.

So, if there’s no evidence of forced entry when you’ve had things stolen or damaged, your insurer may refuse your claim.

How can home emergency cover help?

Home emergency cover is designed to help cover the cost of various home emergencies and mishaps. You can get it as an add-on to your home insurance policy or take the cover out separately.

As well as helping with stressful situations, like a boiler breakdown or plumbing emergencies, some policies can also help you to get into your home and make it secure if your keys have been lost or stolen.

This type of cover provides you with a 24-hour helpline and access to expert help and approved tradespeople who can come out to fix the problem quickly.

If my home insurance doesn’t cover replacement keys, what should I do?

If you lose your keys or they’re stolen and you don’t have any cover for replacements, you’ll need to arrange and pay for new locks and keys yourself.

It’s important to do this as soon as possible to prevent leaving your home unprotected and so that you don’t invalidate your home insurance policy.

If your house keys have been stolen, you’ll need to change the locks. And even if you think you’ve just misplaced them and they haven’t turned up, this is something you should consider.

But don’t be tempted to fit new locks yourself as this could invalidate your home insurance if you later have a break-in or burglary.

Instead, make sure you use a qualified locksmith (such as a Master Locksmiths Association member) to install suitable locks that meet your insurer’s requirements.

If I lose my keys and I'm burgled, am I still covered?

Unfortunately, losing your keys can cost you a lot more than just replacing them. It can give someone the opportunity to steal things from your home without having to break in.

If you don’t change the locks when you lose your keys, and someone later uses them to burgle your home, it’s likely you won’t be covered for any losses or damage.

This is why it’s always a good idea to change the locks if your lost set of keys doesn’t turn up quickly.

If my keys are stolen what should I do and am I still covered?

Whether you’re covered will largely depend on how quickly you change the locks. You’ll need to get this done as soon as you realise that your keys have been stolen.

You should also report the theft to the police and give a description of your keys and any distinctive keyrings, in case they’re found and handed in.

Once you can get back inside your home check to see if anything has been taken - it’s unlikely, but if you notice things are missing, let the police and your insurers know.

If you don’t act fast when your keys are stolen and a thief uses them to access your property, you might not be covered by your home insurance.

Am I covered if I leave my keys on show?

No, it’s very unlikely that you’ll be covered by your home insurance for theft or a break-in if you leave your keys on show.

If any keys are left in plain view - including leaving them in your front door when you go up to bed - burglars can use cat flaps or letterboxes to fish them out and use them to access your home.

For this reason, most insurers state that you need to remove keys from all locks and keep them out of sight.

Will a key safe invalidate my home insurance?

This will depend on the key safe, where it’s placed and your insurance policy.

Insurance providers will vary on what they’ll accept, so it’s best to check what your policy says about key safes and contact your insurer if you’re unclear.

If they’ll cover you to have a key safe, the insurer may have requirements and conditions you need to follow.

For example, they might require it to be professionally installed, meet specified security standards and for the key safe to be put in a secluded spot, well away from the front door.

How to keep your house keys safe

Prevention is better than cure, so follow these simple tips to help make sure your keys don’t end up in the wrong hands:

  • Always keep a record of who’s been given a set of your keys
  • Never store your keys where they can be easily seen or leave them near your door
  • When you’re moving home always change the locks once you move in
  • Don’t hide keys under doormats or plant pots, use a key safe if you have to
  • If you give keys to your children teach them how to use and look after them properly
  • Never have your name or address attached to your keys
  • Try not to keep all your keys on one keyring
  • Consider attaching a smart key finder to your keys that connects to your phone

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