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How house keys affect your home insurance

We’ve (probably) all done it. You put down your house keys for a moment and then they’re lost. What should you do? And what does it mean for your home insurance? Read on to find out and get tips for keeping your house keys safe.

We’ve (probably) all done it. You put down your house keys for a moment and then they’re lost. What should you do? And what does it mean for your home insurance? Read on to find out and get tips for keeping your house keys safe.

Written by
Anna McEntee
Insurance comparison expert
Reviewed by
Kate Hughes
Insurance expert
Last Updated
14 MARCH 2023
4 min read
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How will losing my house keys affect my home insurance?

If you lose your keys or they’re stolen, it’s important to get the locks changed as soon as possible – not just for security, but to make sure your home insurance remains valid.

If your home is burgled, your insurance provider will usually look for signs of forced or violent entry, like a broken window or a smashed door. If an intruder gets into your home using a key and there’s no sign of forced or violent entry, it’s possible that your claim will be rejected.

If you move into a new home, you should also add changing the locks to your to-do list. There have been instances of previous owners returning to help themselves to the new owners’ valuables. And how many spare keys did the people you bought or rent from give out to friends and family?

Will my home insurance cover replacement house keys and locks?

Losing your house keys can be stressful and expensive, but the good news is that home insurance can help. Your policy may include cover for replacement locks and keys. If it doesn’t, you might be able to add it on.

Home emergency cover, which you can also add to your policy for an extra cost, may include locksmith services if you’re locked out or if your home isn’t secure. In fact, your insurance provider may be able to contact a locksmith on your behalf.

Can I change my house locks myself?

As handy as you might be, it’s important not to change the locks yourself. An improperly installed lock could invalidate your insurance if you later need to claim for a break-in or burglary.

Make sure you use a qualified locksmith. Ideally one that’s approved by the Master Locksmith’s Association (MLA). And check your home insurance policy carefully to make sure any new locks fitted meet your insurance provider’s requirements.

 

Keeping your keys safe 

Leaving a spare set of keys in an obvious place around your property is an open invitation for burglars and could invalidate your home insurance. Yet so many of us do it, even though it’s a risk to home security.

That said, a second set available outside the property can be useful for guests or if you’re locked out. In which case, a key safe may be the answer.

Is a key safe secure? 

Key safes, or lock boxes as they’re also known, offer a reliable key storage solution. Prices range from around £15 to more than £100+ and include smart key safes, which can be controlled remotely via an app.

If your insurance provider is happy for you to use a key safe, they’ll need evidence that it meets the necessary security standards.

Look for one of the following certifications before you buy:

  • Secured by Design approval – a ‘police preferred’ accreditation. 
  • Loss Prevention Standards (LPS) – look for key safes with the LPS1175 standard. You’ll find a list on RedBookLive, a regularly updated database of approved and accredited products and services. 
  • Sold Secure Approval – which uses three main classifications: bronze, silver and gold. You can search for certified key safes on their site too. 

Don’t forget to also check that the manufacturer is ISO-accredited. That means the company has been checked by an external third-party body and it meets international standards.

The best place for a key safe 

Some retailers will fit your key safe for you, although they’re not difficult to install. If you choose to do it yourself, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use the approved fittings.

Here are some tips for choosing a location for your key safe:

  • Keep it away from the front door, but in a location where anyone tampering with it can be clearly seen.
  • Install it above or below eye level.
  • Make sure it can’t be seen by passers-by – for example, by hiding it behind a pipe, window box or foliage.
  • Choose somewhere with good natural lighting, to make it easier to use.

Check with your home insurance provider too, as they may have specific installation requirements that you’ll need to follow to avoid invalidating your policy.

Like all passcodes and passwords, change your key safe code regularly. Use a secure, difficult to guess code rather than a date of birth. And keep the number of people who need to know it to a minimum.

Be wary of giving out spare keys 

Always be careful about giving out your house keys. If someone has an extra set, there’s always a possibility it could fall into the wrong hands.

Lodgers or Airbnb guests will likely have spare keys, but you must tell your insurance provider if you’re renting out rooms. Otherwise, you could find that your policy is invalid if you need to make a claim. 

Be aware that the person who lost the keys could be important too. If a friend or family member loses the key, for example, and they’re not named on the policy, any claims may be rejected. 

Keep your keys out of sight 

Always remove your keys from inside locks, keep them stored out of sight and away from windows. This is especially important if you have a dog or cat flap, as intruders might be able to reach in and grab your keys.

Going keyless 

Installing a smart door lock could be an option if you’re worried about your keys getting lost or stolen.

Smart door locks work using a code, fingerprint scan or app and many are also compatible with Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant so you can use voice commands too.

If you’re using your phone to trigger a signal to open the door, you don’t even need to take it out of your pocket or bag to get inside. But this does mean that if your phone is stolen or hacked, your home could be at risk.  

Make sure you tell your insurance provider if you’re thinking about getting a smart door lock, in case it affects your policy.

What about your car keys?

Replacing a lost, broken or stolen car key usually costs around £200-£300, but that could climb to £1,000 depending on the make and model of the car and the type of key it uses.

This cost to call out an auto locksmith may be covered by your car insurance, your home insurance or even your breakdown cover, but always read the small print to make sure.   

Some insurance providers offer lost car key cover as an optional extra on car insurance – this could include your house keys if they’re on the same fob. They may also pay for car hire if you’re stranded while away from home.

Compare home insurance with key cover 

If you’re looking for home insurance with the added protection of key cover, use our comparison tool to find the right deal for you.  
 
Get a quote today and see if you can save.  

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Anna McEntee - Insurance comparison expert

Anna’s all about delivering fantastic insurance products at a great price. Value is the most important thing for Anna, as she cuts through the jargon and finds what’s most important and worth your hard-earned money.

Learn more about Anna

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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