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Car insurance doesn’t usually cover lost or stolen key replacement. There may be some exceptions, but generally, car insurance excludes keys. Car keys are considered personal property and not part of the car; auto insurance doesn't cover personal property.

It’s always worth checking with your insurance company and finding out what kind of coverage you have, but even if the policy will cover your keys, the cost of replacement might not be higher than the deductible. Read on to find out what coverage might apply to lost or stolen car keys.

Key takeaways

  • Some car insurance companies provide add-on coverage for key replacement, but it’s unusual. 
  • Since keys are personal property, they aren’t usually covered by car insurance for loss or theft.
  • Replacing a smart key for your car will cost you between $200 and $400.
  • If your keys are stolen, personal property coverage under homeowners or renters insurance will cover them, but the deductible will apply.

Does car insurance cover lost car key replacement?

Lost car key replacement may be covered in some circumstances if you have comprehensive coverage. However, it’s rare for car insurance to cover it. Even if it’s covered, the deductible will apply.

"You need to remember that when you want to make a claim you'll have to pay your deductible," says Sandra Spann, a spokeswoman for American Family Insurance in Madison, Wisconsin. "Some people still have a relatively low deductible, but many have a deductible of $500 or $1,000 on their car and home insurance policies. If your deductible is higher than the cost of your replacement keys, it makes sense to just pay for them yourself."

Does it matter if the car keys are lost or stolen?

Car insurance companies don’t cover car keys that are lost. However, some offer limited coverage for stolen or damaged keys.

Spann says American Family Insurance covers smart keys or any other key replacement only if the keys are damaged in a covered loss, such as a vehicle fire. Comprehensive coverage pays to repair or replace your vehicle if it's stolen, vandalized or damaged by fire, hail or a flood.

"We don't cover the keys themselves, just the vehicle," she says. "If your keys got damaged from a fire or crash that damaged the steering column, that would be a covered loss."

To avoid confusion, it is best to check your policy documents or reach out to your auto insurance provider to find out if there is any coverage for keys.

How much does it cost to replace a smart key?

"Generally, it costs $200 to $400 to replace a smart key on a luxury car, plus you have to factor in labor costs to program it, which can be $100 an hour," says Ronald Montoya, consumer advice editor for Edmunds.com, a supplier of car information, in Santa Monica, California.

Montoya says newer models of cars have laser-cut keys with built-in transponder chips that must be programmed by a dealer or a qualified locksmith.

"If you lose all the keys to your car, you may need to replace the locks, which could cost $1,000," Montoya says.

The inconvenience may rival the cost. A locksmith may be able to get you inside again, but they may not be able to reprogram all types of keys – and that means a trip to the dealership on a tow truck.

What other type of insurance covers stolen car keys?

Personal property coverage on your homeowners or renters insurance policy will cover stolen car key replacement. However, you will likely have to pay your deductible, and that’s probably more than the cost of replacing the key.

Spann says consumers should check with their home insurance company to see if they have coverage for lost or stolen keys.

"American Family's home insurance covers dwelling keys and garage door openers without charging a deductible, but this coverage doesn't apply to car keys," Spann says.

Does roadside assistance cover lost keys? Unfortunately, not usually. Roadside assistance will help you if you’re locked out of your car, but doesn’t pay to replace your keys.

Can you buy insurance for car key replacement?

There are a few companies that offer specialty coverage for key replacement, usually sold through the dealership when you buy your car. These car key protection plans usually cover:

  • Key fob costs
  • Door key replacement costs
  • Locksmith charges

Ask the dealer when you are buying a car if this add-on coverage is available.

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