There is never a good time to lose your car keys or have them stolen. The likelihood is that it’s going to happen when you are off out somewhere or are out and about, this can be especially bad if you are in a rush or are on a time deadline like getting to work or the kids to school.
Would you know what to do if you came to leave the house and couldn’t find your keys or you got locked out of your car? We will break down your options for resolving the issue and the benefits and drawbacks of each.
Firstly, If Your Keys Are Stolen
If you discover your keys have been stolen, but you are still in possession of the car, then you will need to phone the police. Unless there is a threat to life, you should call 101 to report your keys as stolen. Once you have done that you will need to get a car key replacement, but also need to have the car’s engine control unit wiped, so that the stolen key cannot be used anymore. This is because the key will contain a chip that is unique to your car. It’s important that you do this as quickly as possible, to stop someone from stealing your car.
1. Contact an Auto Locksmith
If you need the problem sorted out quickly then an auto Locksmith is your best bet. An auto Locksmith is a locksmith that has been specially trained in car keys and locks. Not all Locksmiths will have the training to be an auto Locksmith, so you need to be sure you are calling the correct Locksmith. Auto Locksmiths will carry blank keys and recoding machines in their vans, meaning they will be able to replace your lost or stolen key with ease.
Why Choose an Auto Locksmith?
Most auto Locksmiths are mobile, so should be able to come to you and cut you a new key. To get the situation resolved as quickly as possible, its best to have the following information to hand when you call the auto Locksmith:
- Make and model of your vehicle
- The registration number
- Vehicle identification number (VIN number) you will find this in your V5C document
- Picture ID, so you can confirm you own the vehicle
- Your exact location
Using an auto Locksmith may also be your fastest option as most auto Locksmiths carry key programming equipment that will be able to replace keys for almost any make and model of car, without having to outsource the parts.
Hiring an auto Locksmith is often cheaper than sourcing a new key through the car dealership. If you order a new key from the car manufacturer, this can take days to arrive. So, if you are in desperate need for a car key replacement, then an auto Locksmith is your best bet. Most auto Locksmith should be able to cut you a new car key in one visit.
2. Go Through Your Insurance
If your car key is lost or stolen then you might be able to claim for the cost of the car key replacement through your car insurance. There are some car insurance companies that automatically cover the cost of replacing a car key in your policy, so you will need to check if this is part of your cover.
A comprehensive insurance policy can cover reprogramming the engine control unit and alarms, which you will need to have done if your keys have been stolen. Depending on your provider and level of cover, you may be provided with a taxi to retrieve a new set of keys, a curtesy car until you get new keys or they may even send out an auto Locksmith themselves. Depending on how your no claims bonus works, it might not be affected. However, if claiming for a new key causes your premium to go up, then you might be better off paying out of pocket for a new key, as it may save you money in the long run.
Find out more about your insurance in our Guide to Insurance.
3. Call Your Breakdown Service
This might be the slowest option for you, so we don’t recommend this if you want to get back on the road as quickly as possible. A lot of breakdown services cannot guarantee a time that they will be with you and if they don’t class it as an emergency, you won’t be high up on the list to be attended.
With breakdown services, it also depends what type of vehicle and key you have, as they may not have the right key coding equipment. They also may subcontract the job out to an auto Locksmith, so you are better cutting out the middle man. They are also not specifically trained as auto Locksmith, so will not have the experience an actual auto Locksmith has.
4. Contact Your Local Car Dealership
This is one of the most expensive ways of getting a car key replacement and potentially the slowest. This is because the car dealership may not have all the specialist equipment that an auto Locksmith has. It’s more than likely that the car dealership will have to order in a blank key fob, which will take time and then if they don’t have the specialist programming equipment then this will also add a delay, while they contract it out.
It’s also likely that a dealership will just hire an auto Locksmith to complete the work, as before, you may as well cut out the middle man and contact an auto Locksmith yourself.
5. Use a Local Garage
You will encounter the same problems with a local garage that you will at a dealership. They are unlikely to have the blank keys and reprograming equipment you require to successfully replace your car key. This is especially true if you need to replace the key in a hurry.
What We Recommend
As you can clearly see, with all the different options, going to an auto Locksmith will be the quickest, cheapest, and best option for you if your car keys are lost or stolen. They should be able to replace a car key and reset your car in one visit. This means you can get on and go about your day as quickly as possible.
If you need a car key replacement, find your local auto Locksmith.