Home and car keys are among the most misplaced everyday objects. No wonder: they are small and can easily slip from your pocket or bag. Have you ever found yourself in front of your front door or car reaching for keys and discovered they weren’t there? That’s where the panic starts. Here’s what you should do when your keys get lost and some precautions you should take to avoid misplacing them.
To begin with, losing your keys will cost you not only plenty of time, but also a pretty penny. You wouldn’t believe how expensive some replacements are: sometimes the price of a spare key will be higher than the value of your car. Yes, really!
Call the insurance company
If your home is insured, call your insurance company and ask if your policy covers keys/lock replacements. If so, the company will cover all expenses and hire specialists for you. If not, consider adding such cover to your policy, and ask if there’s any other way they can help you with the problem.
Get a replacement key
Replacing a door key is not a complicated process. The most basic keys will cost you very little. If you own one of those anti-theft locks, however, the price will be much higher, and sometimes you need a certificate signed at the time of the door installation, confirming that you are the owner of the flat.
Change the locks
Unfortunately, sometimes changing the locks is inevitable, especially if you lose your ID or anything that may lead to your home address. Also when you have only one key and you can’t get into the flat. Find a local locksmith online – some companies work 24/7, so somebody will show up even if you need their help at night, on the weekend or during holidays.
Call someone to accompany you
If you lose your keys and you live alone, ask someone to join you while you’re waiting for the locksmith. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Gather information about your car
To get anything done, your car needs to be identified. You will need the following: model, make, year of production, and a VIN number. You will find it on the driver’s side dashboard (visible through the window) or a rear wheel well, or on the frame of the car between the carburettor and windshield washer. If you fail to find it, it should be included in your insurance policy.
Call your insurance company
Contact the emergency line of your insurance company as soon as possible. You may be able to claim for the cost of a replacement on your car insurance policy. Depending on how extended your policy is, you may receive not only a replacement key, but also a replacement car.
Get a new key yourself
In this case, you’re lucky if you own an older vehicle. A regular lock just needs a valet key, and you’re good to go. As far as brand-new cars are concerned, key replacement is going to be a drag. First of all, it can cost up to $700 for a copy, depending on the car model. Modern cars have keyless ignitions and keyless entry, which makes the car key more like a pilot then an actual key. It’s basically a little computer with wireless transmitters and encrypted chips that has to be reprogrammed and synchronized with your car. Secondly, you’ll probably need to pay a visit to an appropriate car dealership with all the car’s documents to confirm that you’re its owner. They will synchronize a new key with your car’s onboard computer. Also, they will have to reprogram your car not to work with the previous key. So, if anyone in your family uses the same key, they’ll have to get a new one, too.
If you’re on holiday or abroad and you can’t reach your car dealer, you can try to get help from locksmith companies. But call them first and provide as much information about your vehicle as you can, because sometimes they won’t be able to help you (in which case, finding an official car salon will be needed). Most locksmiths offer mobile services, so if you’re stranded with a locked car, they will come straight to you and tow your car away, if necessary.
Considering the fuss and cost of losing your keys, it’s better not to lose them in the first place. We know it sounds like “Captain Obvious” advice, but we realise that accidents happen anyway. So what can you do to prevent keys being lost?
Get a smart tracker
It looks like a keychain, and all you need to do is attach it to your keyset. In fact, it’s a powerful tool if you want to keep track of your keys. Woolet Tracker connects with your smartphone via a mobile application, and every time your keys are out of reach you will receive a notification. Then, you’ll be able to check the last-seen location on a map and go back to the place where you left them. The battery is rechargeable, so there’s no need to replace or dispose of the tracker after the battery is dead.
It’s a perfect solution for people who have a complicated relationship with their keysets and need something to take care of them. You need some kind of keychain anyway, so it may as well be a smart one: looking smart, working smart!
Include lost keys in your insurance policy
If your insurance does not cover lost or stolen car keys, think about adding it. It can save you a lot of time, stress and money.
Keep a copy of important keys at your family or friends
In the case of an emergency, you will be able to get a spare key quickly. Leave them at your friends or family: the point is that they need to live nearby. If anything happens, just hop in a taxi and you will at least save some time before you decide what to do later. Remember to get another spare key after you pick up and use one, though.
Do you have any other tips? Leave a comment!