Losing your car keys will not only ruin your travel plans, it could leave a dent in your finances.
Replacement keys can be costly, in some cases a lost key can write the car off if it’s of low value.
Here are five ways to get hold of new keys fast, without costing the earth.
Claim on your car insurance
If your car key is lost or stolen you may be able to claim for the cost of a replacement on your motor policy.
Some insurers like Nationwide and Co-op bank offer key cover automatically on their standard car insurance policies. Nationwide offer unlimited cover and Co-op will pay up to £750 if your keys are stolen.
With other insurers including M&S Money and Sainsbury’s Finance you’ll only get cover for both lost and stolen keys with their ‘Premier’ cover and both pay out up to £1,000 for new keys or replacement locks. In some cases, as with the M&S policy, there’s no excess to pay.
Claim on a 'key cover' policy
Key cover exists as a stand-alone policy from companies like Keycare or Boomerang-Tagbut it’s also offered as an add on to existingcar insurance.
In some cases the benefits are more generous than just straightforward key replacement.
The AA’s Warranty Key Protection Insurance includes car hire in the event you’re stranded and can’t drive your own car due to lack of keys.
But check small print carefully as some policies may state that keys must be lost for a certain period of time before cover kicks in.
Call your breakdown service
Green Flag say when it comes to key call outs including, locking keys in your car or breaking them in the lock.
If you’ve accidentally locked your keys inside the car, most breakdown services including Green Flag and the RAC will get you back in your car at no extra cost.
However, they can’t get you going without a spare key.
Depending on your policy however you may be covered for the cost of recovering your spare key.
Say you’re several hundred miles from home and lose your key then Green Flag’s Total Protection covers the cost of recovering a spare from your house and getting it to you.
Buy a new set
This is the most expensive option. While it’s easy enough to order replacement keys from car dealers they’re not cheap and can cost around £200 because of the programming and coding needed to activate the alarms or remote control locking.
A spare key for a Peugeot 206 from a Peugeot garage could cost between £120 £170 but it’s well worth ringing different locations as while the part price may be the same, labour costs may vary.
But this still isn’t an instant turn around; depending on the model and outlet you may have to wait between five to ten days to collect a replacement.
Get a spare cut on the high street
If you’ve still got one fully functional key and just after a spare for emergencies you can save money getting the job done at high street key cutters like Timpson.
Here a spare key for a Peugeot 206 car would cost around £70, (although this wouldn’t include remote locking), but could save you up to £100 against the dealership price.
You could also try one of the mobile or online locksmith companies, which advertise replacement keys.
In some cases this can work out cheaper than the garage price but with others it can be more expensive and some operate within certain areas so shop around.
Remember, if you’re getting replacement keys you’ll need to take along your vehicle registration document (V5) as well as your driving licence to prove you are the genuine vehicle owner.