Losing Your Car Keys: A Comprehensive Guide

Losing your car keys is a common yet stressful experience that can disrupt your day and potentially lead to significant expenses. Modern car keys, equipped with electronic immobilisers and programming, are not just simple keys but integral parts of your vehicle’s security system. This article combines insights from various expert sources to guide you through what to do if you lose your car keys, how to replace them, and how insurance can help mitigate the costs.

Immediate Steps to Take

When you realise your car keys are missing, the first step is to check your car insurance policy. Many insurers offer key cover as standard or as an optional extra. This cover can significantly reduce the replacement costs, which can be substantial depending on your car’s make and model. If your keys have been stolen, report the theft to the police immediately to obtain a crime reference number, which is often required to make an insurance claim.

Replacement Options

  1. Insurance Claim: Check if your policy includes key cover. If it does, contact your insurer for the next steps. Some policies cover the cost of a replacement key and related services, such as reprogramming your car’s immobiliser.
  2. Breakdown Services: If you have breakdown cover, your provider might assist in unlocking your vehicle or even offer a mobile key-cutting service.
  3. Franchised Dealer: For an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) replacement, contact a dealer of your car’s brand. This option ensures a like-for-like replacement but can be costly and time-consuming.
  4. Specialist Automotive Locksmith: A more cost-effective and quicker option might be to use a specialist locksmith who can provide a generic key programmed for your car.

Costs Involved

The cost of replacing car keys varies widely, from around £200 to £500 or more, influenced by the technology, the car’s make and model, and the chosen replacement method. Insurance key cover can alleviate these costs, either partially or fully, depending on your policy’s terms.

Preventative Measures

To avoid the inconvenience and expense of losing your car keys, consider the following tips:

  • Spare Key: Always have a spare key and keep it in a safe place. Getting a spare key cut is usually cheaper than replacing a lost one.
  • Insurance Cover: Ensure your car insurance policy includes key cover. This small addition can save you significant money and hassle.
  • Mindfulness: Be mindful of where you keep your keys. Make sure to leave them in easily forgettable places or in view where they can be stolen.


Losing your car keys can be a frustrating experience, but being prepared and knowing your options can make it less of a headache. Check your insurance policy for key cover, consider the most suitable replacement option, and take steps to prevent loss in the first place. With the proper knowledge and precautions, you can minimise the inconvenience and cost of replacing lost car keys.

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Does my car insurance cover the cost of losing my car keys

No not all car insurance policies cover as standard the loss or theft of car keys. We recommend you check your own insurance policy to check if this is something you have covered.