Car insurance explained

Car insurance explained

Car key insurance guide

Key and locks insurance provides cover for when, as the name suggests, you find yourself without your car keys or unable to get into your car. They might be stolen in a dramatic armed heist. All of your car locks could suddenly and mysteriously jam shut. Or you could… simply lose them.

In fact, 16 million people need a car key replacement every single year.

But getting replacement car keys isn’t as easy as getting a new set of housekeys cut. It can take days to order in the parts, and it can be expensive. Then there are all the costs from not being able to use your car. If your journeys are essential, you could end up paying for public transport, taxis or even a hire car.

Car key insurance helps cover the cost of all this and even helps you out with a courtesy car so you can keep moving.

Car keys and locks are an add-on cover, which means that they aren’t usually included in your car insurance as standard. But you should always check what’s covered in your specific policy when you buy your car insurance. 

What’s covered by replacement car key insurance?

It’s worth noting that each insurer has different cover when it comes to keys and locks, so you should check your policy.

But in general you should be covered for the cost of replacing your keys and any alternative transport you use while you can’t get in the car (at boom we cover that up to £100). Make sure you keep your receipts from these journeys so you can claim them back.

If you can’t live without your car, your insurer might also organise an emergency locksmith to help you get your replacement key quicker. This means that you could receive a replacement key within 48 hours, depending on the type of vehicle and key.

When might I use car key and lock insurance?

Here are some examples of when you’ll usually be covered by keys and locks insurance:

  • Stolen keys
  • Lost car keys
  • Smart key malfunction

Stolen keys

One of the more common claims on keys and locks insurance is if your car keys are stolen. They could be specifically targeted or it could be part of another crime, like if your bag gets snatched. Not only is it annoying that you can’t complete your journey, but it’s also stressful as you’ll be worrying that the thief will track down your car.

The first thing you should do if this happens is ring the police to file a crime report. When claiming for stolen keys, you’ll need to share this with your insurer.

Lost car keys

Car key insurance also includes cover if you’ve misplaced your keys. Embarrassing, but it happens. And you should obviously have a thorough check in your coat pockets, down the back of the sofa, in the fridge etc before you think about claiming.

Smart key malfunction

These days, most of us don’t access our cars using the old skool method of actually placing the key inside the lock on the car door. Technology has evolved so we use smart keys. These have tiny transponders inside that allow you to open your car from a distance at just the click of a button.

However, like all technology, it can break. If your key stops working, you won’t be able to get in or start your car and they are expensive to fix. Car key and locks insurance will also cover the cost of a new key if this happens.

What to do if you lose your car keys

Losing your car keys is unlucky, but it happens. If you’ve got car key cover, here’s what to do:

  1. Contact your provider to report your lost keys
  2. If they were stolen, provide your insurer with the crime report
  3. Your insurer will find a local auto locksmith who can provide a key replacement. They’ll cover the cost of this service directly with the locksmith
  4. You may need to wait a few days for parts. Some insurers will provide you with a courtesy car and others will ask you to keep your public transport receipts for reimbursement
  5. You’ll get your brand new set of keys

If you didn’t get car key insurance, here’s what you might do:

  1. Find a local locksmith with availability
  2. Get a quote for key replacement services (costing anywhere from £160 – £8,000, depending on the technology)
  3. You may have to liaise with the manufacturer directly in some cases, ordering a new set of keys through the post
  4. In the meantime, you’ll need to either hire a car or take public transport to get around
  5. You’ll get your brand new set of keys

Is car key and locks insurance worth it?

As with all car insurance add-ons, car key and locks cover is not mandatory. Depending on your insurer, it typically costs between £20 and £30 per year.

To decide whether car keys and locks insurance is worth it for you, first consider the value that the peace of mind offers. Are you happy to spend time organising a locksmith and would you be ok financially to deal with the cost of new keys? Or would you rather pay for the add-on, and believe that it could offer some value to you?

Then have a think about your car, particularly your security set-up and how that interacts with your keys. If you have an immobiliser installed, for example, you might need to pay for a mechanic to make sure it works with your new key.

Finally, consider your type of vehicle. At the highest end, car key replacement costs approximately £1500 due to the immobilisers, manufacturers’ parts and reprogramming technology costs. At the lower end, key replacement could cost as little as £150.

In short, you’ll need to think about how likely it is that something could happen to your keys, and whether you could afford to pay for a new set outright.

boom has you covered

At boom, we’ve partnered with Keycare, so you get can add-on cover from the UK’s number 1 key protector. It’s a robust protection package.

If it sounds like the type of cover you’d want, then it’s easy to add it on to your boom cover. Start a quote, and then simply select whether you would like boom or boom plus. Then you’ll be taken through a list of optional add-ons, like windscreen insurance, breakdown cover and no claims bonus protection.

Select Keys and Lock cover, and any other add-ons you’d like.

Get the boom app

Your car insurance on the move
You can get info and make changes when you’re out and about. If you need some help or to make a claim, it’s at your fingertips.

It’s your policy in your pocket – wherever you are, whenever you need.