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Lost car keys replacement insurance

Losing your car keys can be infuriating and frankly, a bit embarrassing. It can also be expensive, particularly if you have smart keys or transponder keys that require programming to replace.

That’s why many car insurance policies now offer lost car key insurance as an optional extra.

Read on to find out how lost car keys replacement cover works if your car key is lost or stolen.

Losing your car keys can be infuriating and frankly, a bit embarrassing. It can also be expensive, particularly if you have smart keys or transponder keys that require programming to replace.

That’s why many car insurance policies now offer lost car key insurance as an optional extra.

Read on to find out how lost car keys replacement cover works if your car key is lost or stolen.

Written by
Kate Hughes
Insurance expert
Last Updated
26 JULY 2023
6 min read
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I’ve lost my car keys, what do I do?

If you’ve looked everywhere and still can’t find your keys, you’ll need to replace them.

Check your car insurance policy to see if lost car keys replacement cover is included. If it is, you’ll need to decide whether to make a claim. Doing so could affect your no claims discount and there may be an excess to pay, so you’ll need to consider whether it’s worth it.

How to get your car keys replaced

If you don’t have lost key cover, or decide you don’t want to make a claim, there are other ways to replace your lost car keys:

  • Buy a replacement car key from your dealer – this can be expensive and time-consuming. Dealers will typically need to order in a blank key and then send it away to be re-programmed.
  • Try your local garage – again, this could take time and money. Most garages don’t have specialist key-coding equipment on site, so may need to outsource to get a new key made up.
  • Use your vehicle breakdown cover – if you have breakdown cover, they may be able to help you. But it depends very much on the type of car you drive and if they have the right key-coding equipment on hand.
  • Call an auto locksmith – this might be your best bet as many auto locksmiths have the necessary equipment to replace keys for most car makes and models. They can also repair or replace locks if needed and may offer a mobile service, so they can come out to you.

What should I do if my car keys have been stolen?

If you suspect your car keys have been stolen, you should report it to the police straight away. You’ll need the crime number they give you to make a claim with your car insurance provider.

If a set of keys has been stolen, including your house keys, you’ll also need to contact your home insurance provider.

What do I do if I’ve locked my keys in the car?

If you’ve locked your keys in your car and have breakdown cover, you should be able to call your breakdown service for help getting into your car.

Some car key insurance policies may also cover the cost of getting your keys back if you accidentally lock them in the car.

If you don’t have any cover, you’ll need to pay for a locksmith.

Top tip

Plenty of people lose their keys then rely on their spare set, which is entirely understandable. But remember that if you come to sell your car, buyers and dealers will look more favourably on a price or the sale itself if the vehicle comes with both sets. Funnily enough, they know replacing keys can be expensive.

How much does lost car keys replacement cost?

The average replacement car key costs around £290. However, the exact cost will depend on the make and model of your car, as well as the type of key you need to replace.

According to the RAC, around 16 million drivers are thought to regularly misplace their keys. Around 2 million never find them again, and figures suggest the overall cost of replacing car keys across the UK is a staggering £180 million every year.

How long does it take to get an emergency car key replacement?

It depends on the car model, type of key and the outlet, but you might need to wait several days for your replacement key to arrive.

Does insurance cover lost car keys?

Some car insurance providers may include key cover as standard with their comprehensive car insurance but not all do.

If you have third-party, fire and theft or third-party only insurance, it’s unlikely you’ll have key cover included.

However, you can usually get car key cover added to your policy as an optional extra. Just be aware that you might need to pay an agreed excess.

What does car key insurance cover?

Car key insurance cover can vary between insurance providers, but most will include:

  • The cost for emergency car key replacement up to a set limit
  • The cost of reprogramming your alarm and immobiliser
  • Taxi or public transport costs to help you get to your destination if left stranded – just remember to keep all the receipts
  • Car hire costs – if you’re unable to use your car because of lost or stolen keys
  • Locksmith’s charges
  • An emergency 24/7 helpline so you can get immediate help if your keys go missing.

Check the terms and conditions carefully, though, as some policies will only cover your car keys if they’re stolen – not if you just can’t remember where you left them.

What’s not covered by car key insurance?

Car key insurance may not cover:

  • Stolen car keys without a crime reference number – you’ll be given one when you report the theft to the police, and you’ll need it to make an insurance claim
  • Costs for the full replacement of locks if only one part needs to be fixed
  • Key or lock damage due to wear and tear
  • Additional keys
  • Locks that were already damaged before a theft took place
  • An upgraded version of the original locks or keys.

Which insurance providers offer lost car key cover?

When you visit our quotes page, you’ll be able to see which car insurance providers offer lost car key cover.

Simply click the ‘more details’ button next to each policy to see if key cover is included as standard or whether you need to add it as an extra.

Compare car insurance with us today and see if you could save.

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Frequently asked questions

Do I have to replace my spare set of car keys?

If your main set of car keys has been stolen, you’ll also need to replace the spare set. The main set will need to be disabled and a new generic key re-programmed so thieves can’t come back and steal your car with the old key.

In this case, your spare set of car keys will no longer work, so they’ll need to be disabled and replaced too.

Do I already have key cover?

You might have. Some home insurance policies include key cover and will typically cover both your house and car keys.

Also check your breakdown cover if you have it. Some policies have key replacement cover for keys that are lost, stolen or damaged.

Check with your provider if you’re not sure – there’s no point in doubling up on cover if you already have it.

How much does extra lost car keys insurance cost?

If it’s not already included in your car insurance policy, key cover costs from around £20-£30 a year to add as extra cover.

It could be a compelling add-on, especially when you start totting up the cost of replacing modern car keys and arranging alternative transport while you wait for a new set.

Does lost car key insurance cover broken keys?

It depends on your policy. Check carefully as you may not be covered for broken keys due to wear and tear.

Can I claim for both lost and stolen keys?

Car key insurance should cover the cost of replacing your keys if they’re stolen. However, some policies won’t let you claim if you’ve simply misplaced your keys.

It’s also unlikely you’ll be covered if the keys were stolen by a family member or someone who lives in your house – such as a lodger.

Check your policy wording carefully for your insurance provider’s definition of lost or stolen and whether you’ll be eligible to claim.

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Kate Hughes - Insurance and finance expert

As an award-winning journalist, author and broadcast commentator, Kate has been writing about personal finance for more than 20 years. She’s the former Money Editor for The Independent. Her work has appeared across the UK broadsheets as well as a number of international titles. Kate brings her financial expertise to inform her readers on ways to save money. She’s also written a book. ‘Going Zero: One Family’s Journey to Zero Waste and a Greener Lifestyle’ is available now.

Learn more about Kate

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