Direct Line magazine

What should you do if you lose your car keys?

Updated on: 10 March 2020

car keys on the ground

Mobile. Check. Bag. Check. Keys…

When you lose your car keys, don't lose your head. It’s happened to a quarter of car owners at some point, and a further 5% have had their keys stolen. It can be a huge pain, and you also have to consider security issues. Plus, modern car keys with transponder systems are more complex than old-style ignition barrel keys, which just adds to the hassle.

But stay calm! You still have options.

Did you get key cover in advance?

Some insurance policies cover the loss of keys, while others will pay for someone to get into your car if your keys or valuables are inside.

However, check if claiming will affect your no claims discount, as replacing them yourself might be more cost-effective in the long run. Alternatively, for an annual fee, specialist companies can recover or replace lost or stolen keys, and some will provide a temporary car while you wait for your replacement set.

Stuck without keys

If you're stranded without your keys, and don't have a service that will provide you with a replacement set, as long as you have your vehicle registration document (V5) and driving licence as proof of ownership, then you can still get help.

Get a new set of keys from a franchised dealer

Due to the programming and coding needed to activate the alarms and remote locking in a modern car, new keys aren’t cheap, so expect to pay upwards of £200. Plus, this isn’t a quick fix; if a part has to be ordered, you could find yourself waiting up to 10 days for a replacement.

Find a specialist auto locksmith

You can do this by looking on the Master Locksmiths Association website. They provide replacement keys for most car manufacturers, and they can also reprogram the vehicle so that any lost or stolen keys can no longer be used. Another advantage of using an auto locksmith is that many of them have mobile services, so they can come to you (as long as you have all the necessary documentation).

Remember: whether you plan ahead, or find yourself in a pickle, you always have options.

Related articles

a steering wheel is secured with a Stoplock device
Motor

Anti-theft locking devices for your car

The last few years have seen the rise of tech-savvy criminals targeting cars with keyless technology, as well as thieves hunting for valuable classic cars. To protect new or older cars, we explore three of the best security devices to help deter criminals from targeting your car.
a thief tries the handle on a car door
Motor

Are you at risk of relay theft?

Relay theft is a new method used to steal cars. And if your car has keyless entry technology, then you're at risk.
a parent hands keys to a car to their daughter
Motor

Why is black box insurance good for your children?

They've torn up their L-plates and now they're driving off in their first car. Learning to drive is an exciting time for your kids, but it can be worrying for parents. Find out why telematics insurance can keep your kids safe and give you peace of mind.