How to Get Lost Car Keys Replaced

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How to Get Lost Car Keys Replaced

First published on: April 8, 2024

Losing your car keys can be a major hassle, especially if you don’t have any spares. Not being able to gain entry to your car or start the ignition can prevent you from being able to commute to work and travel. 

Unfortunately, replacing a lost or stolen car key can also be equally as challenging, not to mention expensive. Modern car keys include a lot of sophisticated technology. For example, some keys are not only used to unlock the car’s doors but also to start the ignition and release the steering lock. Replacing these keys can be pretty costly and time-consuming.

Here’s some information on what to do if you’ve lost your car keys and need to get them replaced. 

Check if The Key Cover is Included in Your Insurance

The first thing you need to do once you’ve realised that you’ve lost your keys is to check your insurance policy. Often, if you have comprehensive car insurance, your policy may include key cover. This is a premium add-on and will allow you to get a replacement car key without having to pay for it. Do note that if you claim on your insurance to get a replacement car key, this will affect your no-claims bonus, which can increase the cost of your insurance in the future. 

As getting your insurance provider to replace your keys affects your no-claims, it can be the more costly way to get a replacement key. That said, it is undoubtedly one of the most convenient, as your insurance provider will be able to handle the process. 

If you don’t have key cover included in your insurance, you will have to consider other options. 

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What are The Best Ways to Replace a Lost Key?

When looking to get a new key, you have four main options regarding where you can turn. These are: 

  • Local garages 
  • Franchised dealerships 
  • Breakdown cover provider 
  • Auto Locksmith 

Local garages can be a good option if you’re the owner of a common vehicle, as they’re more likely to have the key coding equipment. That said, this option can be pretty expensive, as garages will charge for using their diagnostic equipment. Plus, if they don’t have the correct key-coding equipment on site, then replacing your keys can take a lot longer, as they won’t be able to program a new set of keys. 

Another option is going to a franchised dealership specialising in your car’s manufacture. This may sound like the best option, but it can often be one of the most expensive and take the longest. This is because the dealership often has to order a blank key and then send it off-site to be programmed for your vehicle. This can often be a long, drawn-out process that can be expensive. 

If you have a breakdown cover, they may be a good option, but it depends on whether they have the correct equipment for your vehicle. It’s worth contacting them to see if they can help, but it’ll be a potluck regarding if they have the right equipment that matches your vehicle. 

The best option by far is to call an auto locksmith to help you replace a lost or stolen key. These services are often the quickest and least expensive. As they’re dedicated services for replacing car keys, they should have all the equipment for most makes and models. 

Auto locksmiths often also provide a mobile service, meaning that they will be able to come to you. During a visit, they should be able to program a new set of keys for you and delete the lost key so that if it was stolen, the thief would not be able to access your car.  

Auto locksmiths offer much more than just key replacement. They can help program remote key fobs, open jammed doors, and replace damaged locks.

Related: What will Help You to Keep Your Car Secure?

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Lost Car Key?

The amount you pay to replace your lost key depends on which service you use to replace it. Typically, getting it replaced at a dealership will cost more than through an auto locksmith, and it may cost you nothing if you have key cover as part of your insurance. 

In addition, factors such as the brand of your car, in addition to its age, will also impact the cost. The key type will also play a massive role, as older, less technologically advanced keys will be cheaper. 

There is a massive deviation between the highest and lowest costs for key replacement. It can be as cheap as £25, but can also cost thousands of pounds, depending on the value and prestige of your car.

For example, a top-of-the-range ‘diamond key’ used for Bentleys will cost around £8,000. That said, the average cost of key replacement in the UK will be closer to £250, but you may get a lower price depending on where you go to get it replaced. 

Conclusion

Losing your car key or having it stolen can be a massive headache. Without a key, you won’t be able to use your vehicle, and you can also lose access to it. Getting a key replaced can be a tricky, time-consuming ordeal, depending on how you go about getting a new one. 

As it requires a lot of specialist equipment and skills to program a new key for your vehicle, some garages and breakdown providers may be unable to help you, and dealerships can also take a long time. The best option is always to use an auto locksmith if you can, as these dedicated professionals are more likely to be able to get you a quality replacement quickly and with the least amount of hassle. 

When getting a new car key, be prepared to pay a hefty fee for it, especially if you have a modern vehicle. Costs of replacement can fluctuate drastically, with some keys costing thousands, so it’s a good idea to do what you can to avoid losing your keys in the first place.

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