It’s incredibly frustrating when you lose your car keys, and you don’t have a spare. Whether you’re stuck at home or stranded out and about, our guide explains everything you need to know about how you can get a new set of keys.
What to do when you lose your car keys
Check your insurance
Many car insurance policies include cover for lost keys. This could include covering the cost for a locksmith to be called out as well as paying for a new set of keys itself. Depending on your policy, you may still have to pay an excess, but it could still be cheaper than covering the whole cost of replacement keys yourself. You should also check whether claiming for lost keys on your car insurance will affect your no-claims discount, as it could work out cheaper in the long run to cover the cost yourself.
Contact your breakdown cover
If you have breakdown cover, either as part of your car insurance or as a separate policy, you should check to see if cover for lost keys is included. Often, if you are left stranded because you have lost your car keys, breakdown cover will pay for the call-out charge and the mileage costs to get you back to their base or to your home, depending on your policy. Some breakdown cover policies may even include replacement keys.
Contact a dealer
A local dealership will be able to provide OEM keys for your car. This will guarantee you receive keys made for your car that come with the features you already had on your keys, such as boot opening. However, it is usually the most expensive and time-consuming option – it can take up to 10 working days to receive keys from a dealership.
Contact an automotive locksmith
You could contact a local automotive locksmith to get a replacement set of keys for your car. They will be able to provide you with new keys and also reprogramme your car so the old set can’t be used – great if you’re worried that the keys have been stolen. Most automotive locksmiths are mobile so they will be able to come to you wherever you are.
How long it takes will depend on what the locksmith has in stock. They will have blank keys for particular cars, so if they have the correct one for your vehicle, they will be able to give you a replacement very quickly. Waiting for stock to come in could take a few days or a week.
What do you need when you get a replacement car key?
If you are getting a replacement car key, you will need to prove that you own the vehicle. So, you will need the V5 registration book that details you as the owner. You will also usually need some form of photo ID, such as your driver’s licence, to prove you are the same person as the registered owner of the vehicle.
You will need to let the locksmith or dealer the exact make and model of your vehicle, so they can get the correct keys. You also usually need to let them know the registration number of the vehicle. If you are calling out an emergency locksmith because you are stranded, they will need to know your precise location so they can find you.
How much does it cost to get a replacement car key?
A replacement car key can cost anywhere between £200 and £500, depending on whether you purchase OEM keys from the manufacturer or non-OEM keys from a locksmith. The cost will also depend on what features your key has, such as remote locking and keyless entry.
You will also need to pay for the callout charge for a locksmith, if you use one, as well as the time it takes to reprogramme your vehicle so the old keys can’t be used anymore.
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