What to Do If You Lose Your Car Key

There are a few things you should do first if you lose your car keys. The first is to retrace your steps thoroughly, especially if you were recently at a restaurant or hangout spot.

Older cars made by non-luxury manufacturers have the easiest keys to replace, so you may only need to call an auto locksmith.
1. Call Your Insurance Company

It’s no secret that misplacing or losing your car keys can cause a lot of stress, especially when you need to get somewhere fast. But what you may not know is that it can also cost you money in the long run.

Whether you have a traditional key, a transponder key or an old-fashioned push-button starter, you will need to inform your insurance company that you lost your keys. This will help them track down your missing key or, in the case of a stolen key, stop thieves from using it to access your vehicle.

Depending on your car type, you could be liable for a large bill to replace the key or ignition lock cylinder. Some comprehensive policies cover these costs, but you will still need to provide proof that you are the owner of the car in order to claim this assistance. You will also need to consider your deductible and how a small claim might affect your premiums in the future.
2. Call Your Car Dealer

There is probably no bigger car-related disaster than realising you have lost your keys. Cue the pocket-emptying, couch cushion-smashing and garbage bag rummaging that is sure to follow, along with a slew of self-loathing.

If you have an older car, you may be able to go to a hardware store and get a replacement key cut. But most modern cars use a key with an electronic chip that communicates with the vehicle to start it. This type of key cannot be duplicated at a hardware store, and the dealership needs to make a new one that is programmed to your specific vehicle.

To help with this process, you will need the year, make and model of your car (you can find this on insurance cards or on your registration documents). It is also helpful if you have the VIN number handy – this is usually found on the dashboard of your vehicle. You will also need to provide a photo ID or proof of ownership to the dealer.
3. Call a Locksmith

Car key loss is not uncommon, but it can be a real headache if you don’t inform anyone soon enough. This may lead to unauthorized people using your vehicle, leaving scratches on the door and even ruining the ignition. So, before you panic and do something stupid out of frustration, calm down and think. If you do not have a spare car key, call a locksmith and have him come out to make a new one for you on the spot.

You will still have to pay for a new key, but this will be much cheaper than going to your dealership and will also give you a like-for-like replacement key. You will need to provide a copy of your registration and title, as well as the key identification number of your car (usually found on the driver’s side doorpost or stamped on a metal plate in the door jamb). The locksmith may need to examine your lock to determine what kind of replacement key is needed.
4. Call Your Car Company

Not too long ago losing your car keys was no big deal because most cars were still on a standard key system where a certain key meant a specific car. These days things have gotten a bit more complicated because of various technological advancements and lost keys can be expensive to replace. This is why it’s important to make sure you always have a spare and that you leave it somewhere different from your main keychain.

If you have a smart key that needs to be paired with your vehicle, it can be much more expensive to get a replacement because this will likely require a trip to the dealership and showing proof of ownership. This could mean you’ll be without a car for a few days as they work on getting the new key to work.

Before you go to the dealership, be sure you do a thorough search at your house including any drawers or cabinets where you may have used to hide them. It’s also worth checking in your purse or backpack as well as feeling around zippered pockets and compartments of any other items you use to store them.lost car key

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