Losing car keys is commonplace. Although perhaps less of an issue if you can find the spare set, the cost of replacing modern electronic car keys can be staggering. And what happens when you can’t find the spare and you are left with no keys for your car?
Firstly, not all car insurance policies automatically cover the cost of replacing lost or stolen car keys. You would need to check with your insurer to confirm this.
For those that are covered for the cost of replacement keys, bear two things in mind before you go ahead and make a claim:
1) Consider the cost of replacing the car keys and the level of the excess on your insurance policy – i.e. the amount you have to pay first in the event of any claim. Get a quote for replacement first – confirming the exact costs involved. It could be that cost of your excess far outweighs the actual cost of the replacement keys.
2) Also, check on your No Claims Discount. How would it be affected if you claimed for the cost of replacement car keys? With some insurers, No Claims Discount would be reduced by a claim – thus increasing your car insurance charges for the following year.
So how expensive is it to replace lost or stolen car keys?
Unfortunately, it is no longer just a case of getting a new metal key cut to fit the car. Car keys are far more sophisticated these days with high tech central locking and immobiliser / alarm systems. As a result, modern car keys tend to be electronically coded and have to be programmed to the car along with the associated alarm and immobiliser components.
This sophisticated key technology is great at deterring car crime, but the downside is costly replacement car keys. It is thought that prices start at around £200 for basic key systems, but all vehicles differ and some are much more expensive than others.
In some cases, keys cannot actually be replaced. This could mean a complete change of the locks and maybe work on the ignition and security systems as well. In these cases, costs will rise even more.
And let’s not forget that you won’t be able to drive your car without the keys. So, you may have to think about transporting your vehicle to the garage to get any work done – more costs involved.
Key Protection Insurance
So with all of this to consider, can you specifically insure against the loss of car keys?
The answer is yes but not all car insurance companies provide this service. For those that do, there will be an additional premium for the cover and prices will vary from company to company. Obviously rates will also differ for the type of vehicle being insured.
On the plus side, lost key insurance is usually classed as a separate policy to your main car cover. As a result, you should find smaller excesses (if any) and your No Claims Discount should remain unaffected if you have to make a claim. Make sure you check with the insurance provider for full details before purchasing any policy.
Information correct on 14 May 2010
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