How to Save Money on Lost Key Replacement
A lost car key is one of the most annoying things you can lose. It’s your ticket to mobility, and it can cost a lot to replace.
Once the initial panic passes and your rational side takes control, there are several steps to take to get a new car key.
1. Call a Locksmith
A lost car key can be a frustrating experience, but remember to calm down. Before you call “roadside assistance” or a locksmith, take a few moments to retrace your steps. It’s easy to forget where you put your keys when you’re in a hurry or are distracted. Sometimes people leave their keys in the trunk of their car while loading up groceries, or drop them on a table at a restaurant and forget about them.
The kind of key you have can also make a difference in how quickly and easily you can get it replaced. If you have a traditional key or one made before 1995 with no transponder chip inside, an auto-locksmith can usually make a replacement on the spot.
If you have a smart key, however, or one that requires a remote key fob to unlock and start the car, you’ll need to have your vehicle identification number (VIN) with you. This is typically located on the dashboard or somewhere in the engine bay of your car.
2. Call Your Insurance Company
Car key fobs are expensive, and losing them can add up fast. That’s why it’s important to have a spare key. But if you haven’t made one, you can still save money on a replacement if you call your insurance company.
Unfortunately, most car insurance companies don’t cover lost or stolen keys because they consider them personal property. However, some providers have special add-on coverage for this situation.
Some roadside assistance plans, such as Geico’s Emergency Lockout Service, include key replacement costs. Moreover, some auto club memberships provide similar services. But if you file an insurance claim for your lost keys, make sure the replacements are of the same type and kind as the originals.
Also, remember to report the loss to local police. This will help prevent criminal activity and minimize damage to your vehicle. In addition, it will increase your chances of having your claim approved. And remember to keep all the receipts of your key replacement expenses!
3. Call Your Car Dealership
The first thing people tend to think of when they lose their car keys is calling their local dealership. And they are right — car dealerships are often more prepared to handle lost key replacement than your average locksmith.
They are familiar with the different makes and models of cars they sell, which means they may have the equipment to replace your key fob. However, they also tend to charge more for their services because of their overhead.
Most importantly, they are not always the quickest option. The dealership will have to order the new key, which could take days or even weeks to come in. Plus, they will have to pair the chip with your car’s computer, which is a much more complicated task. They also have to serve thousands of customers every day, which can push you down the priority list. This can be especially frustrating because your lost car keys are your ticket to mobility.
4. Call a Tow Truck
Losing car keys isn’t as simple as it used to be. As cars become more and more technologically advanced, the keys that unlock them also get more complicated and expensive to replace. It’s important to keep a spare key in a safe, easily-accessible place and make sure it works!
If you don’t have a spare, contact your dealership for your specific model of vehicle. They will keep detailed records for each of their vehicles and should be able to make you a new key quickly. They may charge a fee for the service, but it’s well worth it to have your vehicle secured and running as soon as possible!
If your car is a rental, you’ll need to contact Enterprise roadside assistance. They’ll ask for proof of ownership or a copy of your contract to make a replacement key. They may also need to run your VIN against their own database or the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF) for third party professionals.