You may know the feeling.
It's been a long day, and you just want to get home and relax. You empty your bag, dig around in your pockets – the house keys are nowhere to be found.
You're not the only one.
One in five people say they've been locked out of their home, according to a survey by AA Home Membership.*
As well as the inconvenience, the average cost of having a lock replaced is a not insignificant £61.74. And one in seven survey respondents has spent more than £100 replacing the locks on their front door.
Helen Brooker, head of AA Home Membership, said: "Nobody wants to be stuck outside, unable to get into their home because their keys have gone missing. It's not only really awkward and even embarassing to lurk outside, it can be quite expensive too for a locksmith to let you in or even change your lock.
"For if your keys had been stolen or found by someone, they could they let themselves in to burgle your home.
"So having a policy in place to cover your locks and keys can prove invaluable if you're locked out, or your locks break and you can't secure your home."
Home Emergency Response from the AA can help in an emergency when you have no access to your home due to lost, stolen or damaged keys.
But Mrs Brooker warns against hiding a spare key outside the home: "You may think you've found somewhere really clever to put your key, but thieves are pretty good at guessing where these places are likely to be – under plant pots or doormats for instance.
"They could even catch sight of you hiding it. That's an open invitation to an opportunistic burglar."
One in eleven hides a spare key to their home somewhere on their property. Over 65s are four times more likely than those aged under 35 to do this.
Londoners are most likely to have been locked out of their home (35%) compared to those from Yorkshire and Humberside (13%).
* Research by Populus, 13–23 February 2014, among 1,690 adults aged 18+.
11 March 2014