Who Do I Call If I Lock My Keys In My Car?

Last Updated on October 27, 2023

Everyone makes mistakes. If you lock your keys in your car, you have multiple ways to solve the problem.

You could call your insurance company – like GEICO, Progressive, Allstate, or State Farm – to dispatch a locksmith to your location. If your insurance comes with roadside assistance (many plans do), this visit could be free.

Alternatively, you can use AAA or other roadside assistance companies, contact a local locksmith yourself, call a friend or family member to recover your spare key, and take other action.

Keep reading to find out who to call if you lock your keys in your car.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Multiple Options for Assistance: If you lock your keys in your car, you have several options for assistance. You can call your insurance company, a roadside assistance service like AAA, a local locksmith, or a friend or family member to bring a spare key if available.
  2. Emergency Situations: If a child or pet is locked in the vehicle, it’s considered an emergency. In such cases, you may need to break the window or call emergency services for immediate assistance. Emergency services can help break your windows to access your vehicle.
  3. Roadside Assistance Services: Many insurance plans, credit card companies, and phone carriers offer roadside assistance services, often including lockout services. If you have roadside assistance through any of these, they can dispatch a locksmith to your location, often at no extra charge or a discounted rate.
  4. Dealership and OnStar Services: If your vehicle is still under warranty, your dealership may provide roadside assistance at no extra cost. Some vehicles can also be unlocked remotely via services like OnStar. If you drive a vehicle with such a service, your dealership or OnStar may be able to unlock your vehicle remotely.

Can You Recover Your Spare Key?

If you have a spare key for your vehicle nearby, this may be your best option for unlocking your vehicle.

Call a friend or family member to pick up the spare key from your home, for example.

Or, call a cab or rideshare service to drive home, recover your spare key, and return to where you locked your car. Remember to make sure you have your house key! If your house key is attached to your car key and inside your vehicle, you might be out of luck.

Is it An Emergency?

If you have locked a child or pet in the vehicle, it may be an emergency situation, and you may need immediate action.

If it’s a hot day and life is threatened, consider breaking your window to regain access to the vehicle. You may only have minutes to spare.

Alternatively, contact emergency services in your area. They can help break your windows to access your vehicle.

Note: 911 and emergency services only break your window in an emergency situation. They will not unlock your vehicle in a non-emergency situation. Sometimes, they arrive with special locksmith tools. In many cases, however, they’ll simply break your window to resolve the situation.

If you’re unable to recover your spare key, and it’s not an emergency situation, then you have multiple roadside assistance options available.

Option #1: Call Your Roadside Assistance Company’s Hotline

Some drivers decline roadside assistance through their insurance company and choose roadside assistance through AAA and other third parties instead.

If you subscribe to AAA or a similar roadside assistance service, you should get 3 to 5 free complimentary service calls per year. This should be the first call you make when you lock your keys in your car.

Option #2: Call Your Insurance Company’s Roadside Assistance Hotline

If you don’t subscribe to AAA or another roadside assistance service, don’t panic: you have plenty of other options.

Start by calling your insurance company. Ask if you have roadside assistance. Many full coverage plans come with roadside assistance. In fact, you can often add roadside assistance to your policy for just a few extra dollars per year.

Even if you don’t have roadside assistance, your insurer can dispatch someone to your location to unlock your car. You could pay full price. Or, you may pay a discounted rate for being with a certain insurer:

  • If you have roadside assistance with your insurance company, the insurance company should dispatch a locksmith to your location to unlock your vehicle at no extra charge. Most insurance company roadside assistance plans offer 3 to 5 complimentary service calls annually. As long as you haven’t exceeded that limit, you should pay nothing.
  • If you do not have roadside assistance with your insurance company, you may still be able to contact your insurance company’s roadside assistance hotline, and they can still dispatch a locksmith to your location. You may pay the full rate for the locksmith’s services (typically $100 to $300). Or, you could pay a discounted rate because you’re a client.

Option #3: Call Your Dealership for Warranty Roadside Assistance Coverage

Roadside assistance may be covered under your warranty. If you have a new vehicle still under warranty, consider contacting the dealership. They may be able to provide roadside assistance to your location at no extra cost as part of your ordinary warranty coverage.

Option #4: Call OnStar or your Dealership for Remote Unlock

Even if your vehicle is no longer under warranty, it may be worth contacting your dealership for remote unlock. Alternatively, call OnStar or similar services.

Some new vehicles can be unlocked via remote access. Your dealer may be able to unlock your car remotely to help you regain access to the vehicle immediately.

General Motors vehicles, for example, can be unlocked remotely via GM OnStar when you provide your verification PIN to the dealership. If you drive a Chevrolet, GMC, Buick, or Cadillac, for example, then your dealership may be able to unlock your vehicle remotely.

Option #5: Call Your Credit Card Company’s Roadside Assistance Hotline

Roadside assistance is an often overlooked part of credit card membership. For example, all Visa cards come with roadside assistance, and many other credit cards have similar perks.

Most credit cards offer discounted roadside assistance at a fixed rate. Instead of paying $300 for a locksmith’s service call, for example, you could pay just $75 per incident.

Check your credit card’s list of benefits for any information about roadside assistance. Then, contact your credit card company’s roadside assistance hotline. They can typically dispatch someone to your location and handle all billing behind the scenes, then charge you a fixed rate for that service.

Option #6: Call your Phone Carrier’s Roadside Assistance Hotline

Some phone carriers offer complimentary roadside assistance to subscribers. You’ll need to subscribe to this service before the incident occurs. However, this service follows you wherever your phone is, regardless of what car you’re driving.

AT&T’s roadside assistance, for example, costs a few extra dollars per month and provides free service calls as long as the subscriber is present at the site of service with their AT&T phone.

Contact your phone carrier if you have roadside assistance. Or, ask nearby friends or family if they have roadside assistance through a carrier. If anyone has readies assistance, a locksmith should arrive to unlock your vehicle free of charge.

Option #7: Contact a Local Locksmith or Technician Yourself

Even if you don’t have roadside assistance coverage, you can contact a lock locksmith yourself. You’ll pay the full price rate for their service. However, they may be able to provide a free estimate upfront.

Check local locksmiths, then contact one and ask for help.

Other Tips After Locking Your Keys in Your Car

Other things to consider after locking your keys in your car include:

The Police or Emergency Services Will Unlock or Break Into Your Car in Emergencies: If you locked your car with a small child or pet inside, then consider calling 911. Police and other emergency services will only unlock your car in an emergency. Sometimes, they arrive with special tools. In other cases, they arrive and simply break your car window.

Virtually all Roadside Assistance Plans Include Locksmith Coverage: If you have roadside assistance through AAA, your insurance provider, your credit card, your carrier, or a third party, then that roadside assistance policy should include locksmith coverage. It’s a standard component of all roadside assistance plans.

It Costs Anywhere from $50 to $300 to Unlock a Car: Depending on your location, the cost of living in your area, and how far you are from the service center, it could cost anywhere from $50 to $300 for a locksmith to unlock your vehicle.

Consider Adding Roadside Assistance to Your Insurance Policy: Many drivers are surprised to find how affordable it is to add roadside assistance to their existing insurance policy. In many cases, you can add roadside assistance to your full coverage insurance policy for under $50 per year. Virtually all roadside assistance plans cover locksmith services, vehicle jumpstarts, and other emergency services.

Keep a Spare Key Handy: To prevent being locked out of your vehicle in the future, keep a spare key handy. Hide a house key around your home to regain access to your home (especially if you keep your house key on your car keychain). Or, keep a spare car key with friends or family.

Final Word

People lock their keys in their vehicles every day. It’s a common mistake that can be resolved in multiple ways.

Contact your roadside assistance company for help. Or, if it’s an emergency, contact emergency services or consider breaking the window yourself (if the life of a child or pet is in danger).

Alternatively, your car dealership or onboard roadside assistance program (like OnStar) may be able to unlock your vehicle remotely. Or, you can call a friend or family member to recover the spare key from your house (or take a rideshare back to your house to recover your spare key). You can also check your credit card or phone carrier for coverage.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for InsurancePanda.com and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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