Losing your car keys never comes at a convenient time and is usually a pretty stressful situation. As technology gets more advanced and key fobs more costly, it’s becoming harder to get a quick, easy, and inexpensive replacement for a lost key. This guide will tell you all about the different types of keys and fobs and exactly what to do if you lose your car keys. It also covers the services you can utilize to simplify the process.
If you lose your car keys, the first thing you should do is remain calm. Panicking won’t help you find them and you’ll need a clear head to think through your options. Your first option is to retrace your steps.
Often, keys will be left unknowingly in a previously worn pair of pants or in the pocket of a jacket. Try to think where you last had them. Was it a restaurant or in a store? Ask your friends or family if they’ve seen you with them recently, or know where you might’ve put them. Worst case scenario, you end up buying a new set of keys and find the lost set later; now you have a spare set to fall back on during future emergencies.
What Kind of Key Do You Have?
There are several types of car keys available today, each with its own unique features and benefits.
Traditional Car Keys
Traditional car keys are the most basic type and the most common. Offering no additional security features, these should be the easiest and least expensive to replace when lost.
Car Key Fobs
Car key fobs offer the convenience of being able to lock or unlock the vehicle from a distance by pressing a button on the key. These keys typically contain a small radio frequency (RF) transmitter that sends a signal to the vehicle when the button is pushed and can lock or unlock a vehicle from a distance. A key fob is usually attached to a traditional key or a switchblade key.
Smart keys are one of the more advanced types of car keys and provide the most security. These keys contain an immobilizer chip that talks directly to the vehicle’s computer system to unlock the door. Some also have push-button capabilities and can be programmed to open only when the correct owner is present.
Apple Digital Car Keys
The most advanced type of car key is the new Apple car key, where you can add your existing car key to Apple Wallet and use your device to lock, unlock, or start your car with the click of a button on your iPhone or Apple Watch.
To use this feature, you need to contact your car dealership or manufacturer to see if your car is compatible and make sure you have the supported iOS or watchOS. It also allows you to share access to your car with friends or family who have the same iPhone.
How to Get a Replacement Car Key
So now that you have exhausted all possibilities of locating your keys, it’s time to contact your car’s dealer or a local locksmithing company to get a replacement.
For traditional keys, you may be able to get a new key from an automotive locksmith, depending on your vehicle’s age and model. If you lose your key fob, it will be easier to contact your dealership or check the aftermarket for a replacement.
If you lose a smart key, you may need to tow your car to the dealership and have proof of ownership before you can get a replacement and have the dealership pair the new key to your vehicle. If your Apple device is lost or stolen, you will need to mark it as lost, which will automatically turn off the existing car key in the Wallet App.
You may need to get your vehicle reprogrammed if you can’t get a replacement through the above methods. This will involve the manufacturer of your car or an automotive locksmith downloading a new program to your car’s electronic control unit (ECU).
This process can be costly and time-consuming, so make sure you agree on a price before any work begins. Read reviews of what other customers have said before making a choice on a locksmith company.
The full cost of a replacement key typically ranges from $50-$400.
Read also: Things to Know Before Buying Car Insurance for the First Time
Does Insurance Cover Lost Car Keys?
The answer can be yes, but not usually. You may be covered if you have comprehensive coverage and someone steals your key. Some insurance providers may also offer a specific type of add-on coverage called “key and lock replacement,” which can help pay for a replacement key or fob.
If you are looking to purchase Progressive auto insurance in Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Abbeville, Franklin, or Lutcher, LA, contact TSL Insurance Group today. We have plans available through reputable insurers, and our dedicated agents would be more than happy to find the automobile coverage best suited to your needs.