Will Auto Insurance Pay for Lost Keys?

Last Updated on September 22, 2021

Just about every driver loses his or her keys at least once.  If you end up in this unfortunate situation, replacing your keys will likely prove easier than you think.  Those who have auto insurance might have emergency roadside service coverage that makes it easy to get back into the vehicle or at least have it towed somewhere safe.  However, this insurance coverage is unlikely to cover the cost of replacing keys. If your insurance policy’s comprehensive and collision coverage kicks in, it might not be financially sensible to file a claim.  The deductible for filing such a claim might be higher than the cost of replacing the keys. As a result, it might make more sense to pay for the replacement keys out of your own pocket.

insurance pays for lost keys

Insurance That Covers the Cost of Keys

If your keys are damaged in an event that qualifies as a covered loss, your insurance coverage might kick in. As an example, if you lose your keys in a vehicle fire, your coverage will likely prove applicable.  Comprehensive coverage kicks in to cover the cost of repairing or replacing the vehicle in the event it is damaged by fire, flood, hail, vandals, or thieves.  Therefore, if the keys are damaged from one of these covered losses, the keys will also qualify as a covered loss.

The Cost of Replacing a Smart Key

The cost of replacing a set of car keys varies by vehicle. It typically costs between $200 and $400 to buy a new smart key for a luxury vehicle.  It will also be necessary to add in the cost of labor to program a smart key. This rate is often upwards of $100 per hour.  The latest vehicle models are equipped with laser-cut keys that have built-in transponders to be programmed by a qualified locksmith or the car dealer.  All in all, it will likely cost around a couple of hundred dollars to replace a laser-cut key that is stolen or lost. Furthermore, another $100 will have to be paid for the key’s programming.

The Loss of Several Keys

If all the keys to your vehicle are lost, it might be necessary to also replace the vehicle’s locks.  The cost of replacing all the locks has the potential to exceed $1,000. The cost might not be worth it simply due to the inconvenience.  Though it might be possible for a locksmith to get you back inside your vehicle, it might not be possible to reprogram the different types of keys.  There is a chance you will have to have your vehicle taken to the dealership by way of a flatbed truck.

Coverage for Lost Keys Differs by Provider and Policy

Some comprehensive auto insurance policies do not cover the cost of lost car keys.  Certain insurance policies provide this coverage as standard while it is optional on others.  In fact, there are even some auto insurance providers that do not provide coverage of any sort for lost keys.  When in doubt, do not simply assume your auto insurance will kick in to cover the expense of lost keys and subsequent key replacement.  Reach out to your auto insurer today to make sure your policy has coverage for lost keys. If the policy does not have such coverage, your reimbursement will be limited to the cost of key replacement or recording vehicle locks.

An insurer that does not provide any form of financial relief for this unfortunate event might not be worth your business.  Get several quotes from competing insurance companies and you will likely find at least one willing to provide coverage for part or all of the costs associated with losing keys.  As an example, plenty of auto insurance providers will contact an automotive locksmith to get you out of this jam or possibly even deliver a spare key.

Coverage for Lost Keys When the Vehicle is Stolen

If your vehicle is stolen and your keys were inside, the insurance company is likely to help you cover at least some of the cost of a replacement key/remote if your policy has comprehensive coverage.  As long as the cumulative costs of repairing damage and re-keying the vehicle are less than the vehicle’s Actual Cash Value, the insurance company is likely to pay associated costs. However, you will be on the hook for the deductible and potential rate increases across posterity.  Pay your premium on time and in full, avoid accidents, and it will be that much easier to obtain auto insurance coverage that covers the cost of lost and stolen keys without paying an exorbitant monthly premium.

Consider Whether a Key Replacement Rider is Worth the Cost

Auto insurance that does not pitch in anything to cover the cost of a lost key will likely prove somewhat more expensive if a key replacement rider is added.  However, this rider has the potential to save you money if your keys are lost or stolen. Weigh the impact of the monthly rate hike after the extra coverage is added against the potential out-of-pocket costs to replace a stolen key on your own before making a decision.

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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