What's worse than lost car keys? Probably having to fork out an arm and a leg to have them replaced. Check whether you're covered through your car insurance and look at ways to prevent being locked out of your car.
What to do if you lose your car keys?
One in four people have lost their car keys while an additional 5% of UK drivers have been victims of car key theft. Simply put – it happens to the best of us. First things first, don't panic. Help is at hand to get you back behind the wheel.
- Depending on your policy, you could claim against the cost of replacement on your car insurance. As well as giving you peace of mind, it could save you the hassle of forking out on unexpected costs.
- Using a breakdown service is great if you've left your keys inside your car and need to get going in a hurry. Depending on your breakdown policy and how they get your keys back to you, there may be extra costs involved.
- Buying a new set of keys is often the most expensive way to get back into your car in an emergency and sometimes it can't be avoided.
What are car fob keys and what to do if you lose them?
They're little gadgets (commonly called a keyless entry system or smart key) normally attached to your key ring that lets you lock and unlock the doors on your car. More advanced car fob keys now let you start the ignition, set the car alarm and open and control the boot and windows. Despite being easy to use, replacement key fobs can be pricey as they need to be programmed to your car's exact settings. If you do lose them, then you're looking at around a 7 to 10 day wait before you get the new ones. Just like getting a spare pair of car keys cut, you'll need to take your driving licence and V5 document with you to prove the car is yours.
What not to do if you're locked out of your car?
The internet is full of videos and articles that show and tell you how to break in if you've left your keys inside your car. But you'd be taking quite a big risk because any damage caused by trying to unlock your car in any other way than that suggested by the manufacturer is unlikely to be covered by your insurance policy. Plus, there's the added headache of having to deal with potentially dented doors, and smashed or cracked windows.
How to avoid losing your car keys
Unless you always have your keys on you, there'll be times when you have to leave them somewhere. Try these clever tips to help keep your keys at hand for when you need them:
- Key hook. Why should coat pockets have all the fun? Putting a key hook in your corridor is a simple and effective way to remind you to keep your keys secure and you'll get to try your hand at a bit of DIY too. However, it's advisable to keep your key hook out of sight of windows and doors so as not to encourage car thieves from taking them.
- Meet the neighbours. Asking a close friend or trusted neighbour to hold a copy of your car keys is a tried and tested way to make sure you're never without your car at home. You'll have to eventually find the lost keys or get them replaced, but this is a great solution to get you out of a last minute jam.
- Make them big. Adding a sizeable toy or soft ball to your keychain won't be very pocket-friendly but it'll make them stand out and means they're harder to lose.
- Make them glow. Early in the morning and late at night, your car keys could be in plain sight but still hard to find. Putting a small glow-in-the-dark object with your car keys can stop you from having to turn your house or office upside down.
- Use some tech. Companies like Tile make key finder apps that make finding your car keys easier. By attaching a Bluetooth tracker – usually about the size of a supermarket points card – to your bunch of keys, you can let your phone or tablet do the looking for you.
The future of car key technology
Car manufacturers are starting to introduce technology to help prevent drivers from accidentally locking their keys in the car. For example, Nissan has introduced the Intelligent Key System which senses if your keys are in the car and prevents the car from locking. The use of car keys may decline over time as new technologies take over. Misplacing your keys could be a worry of the past if voice recognition or fingerprint entry becomes the norm.
If you have AA car insurance you may be covered for car key replacement up to the value of £1,000. Or, why not look at our Key Assist service to get you back on the road? There's no need to be a Breakdown Cover member, just give us a call and let us help you out.