Losing a car key is something that can happen to the best of us. One minute, you’re happily going about your day, and the next, you discover that your key isn’t where you thought it was.
If you’ve lost your car key, it can come as a bit of a shock. All of a sudden, you discover that you can’t use your car, you’re stuck at home (or wherever you’ve parked), and you might have to pay an unexpected bill.
Buying a replacement car key can be expensive. What’s more, you often don’t have a choice: your keys could have been stolen. There are, however, things that you can do to get a replacement car key. Take a look at the following.
If you drive a car, you should automatically have an insurance policy to go with it. Like it or not, it’s the law. When you need a key or key fob replacement, however, these policies can come in handy. Many offer “key coverage” as a standard service and often don’t require you to pay an excess.
Of course, you need to be careful. Check the terms and conditions of your agreement with the insurer. Make sure that they will not charge you a $500 deductible or disqualify you from your no-claims discount. If you’re unsure, call the customer service helpline and speak to a rep about your situation.
Some insurance companies don’t offer key replacement coverage as a standard service on their policies. You may, however, have taken out special “key coverage” as a separate policy with another insurer. These policies usually replace your keys free of charge if you accidentally lose them at home or while you’re out.
What’s more, these policies offer benefits that you don’t usually get through standard insurance policies or add-ons. Often, you’ll get access to a rental car if you’re unable to use your vehicle because of a lack of keys.
Make sure that you read the fine print, though. Some of these policies insist that you lose your keys for a certain period of time before they’ll release all the benefits. If you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere without your keys, you obviously can’t afford to wait a couple of days for the replacement key to arrive. You need key replacements fast.
If you’re locked out of your car, but you think the keys might be inside, then try calling a locksmith instead of breaking in yourself. Locksmiths have a bag of tricks that they use to gain entry into your vehicle without breaking the windows or locks. While you’ll still pay a call-out fee for a locksmith, it is often much less than the hefty repair bill you would face if you broke in using force.
Hiring a locksmith is often the only option if you find out that you don’t have your keys when you are away from home. If there’s a chance that your keys are in your vehicle, then it is worth using a professional to find out.
Buying a new set of keys upfront is the most expensive option. Transponder key replacement is not as cost-efficient as it once was, thanks to the increasing complexity of the keys. Modern car entry systems require a large amount of reprogramming and recoding to make them able to communicate with your vehicle. In most cases, you’ll have to spend more than $200.
Buying the new keys isn’t the only cost, either. Unless you have a spare car you can use, you’ll have to rent a vehicle while you wait for the new keys to arrive. Most drivers have to wait somewhere between five and ten days before they can collect the replacement.
The best place to buy a replacement car key is your local dealership. They have the systems in place to craft a replacement key. Some auto companies have facilities on-site for replacements, while others rely on regional centers and sending keys to you via courier.
Locksmiths can do much more than gain entry to a locked vehicle. They can also cut and copy your current key if you have a spare, reprogram your cars key fobs, and change and repair damaged locks.
What’s great about locksmith services is that they are quick. You’re usually waiting a matter of hours, not days, for your car key replacement to arrive. Locksmiths can also repair the keys themselves if they have stopped working.
While towing services or motor clubs cannot replace your keys, they do offer a range of services that can help if you’re stuck at the side of the road. First, they can attempt to gain entry to your vehicle. If they can’t, then they will usually call out a locksmith with specialist tools to do so.
If neither the locksmith nor the car club provider can get into your vehicle, they will usually take the car and your party to a local garage for a more thorough investigation of the problem. At this point, the car club service will either offer you a temporary vehicle as part of your coverage or provide you with the option to rent one to continue your journey.
Remember, some breakdown services will charge a premium if you call out a locksmith service. It’s usually better to go direct.
Finding a specialist garage that can reprogram car keys or replace lost ones is a challenge. They are few and far between. If you live in a small town, it’s unlikely that you’ll find one with the facilities that you need.
Your best bet is almost always to call a locksmith service and get them to assess the situation. They will usually ask you a list of questions to find out whether there’s anything you can do to avoid an expensive car key replacement bill.
Interested in getting a replacement car key, transponder key or key fob replacement or re-programmed? Contact Access Locksmith