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What to Do If You Lose Your Car Keys and Don’t Have a Spare

A whopping $2.7 billion — that’s how much replacing lost items cost Americans every year. TV remotes top the list, with 45% of surveyed participants saying they lose these at least once a week.

Then there are the car keys, which a quarter of Americans lose not once, but at least twice a week!

Lost car keys are also the most common misplaced item in the UK. On average, replacing lost items cost Britons about £4,480 in a lifetime.

Wherever in the world you may be, it’s best you know what to do if you lose your car keys, the first of which is to not panic. Even if you don’t have or can’t find your spare, you still got options.

Ready to learn how you can get back behind the wheel after losing your keys? Then let’s dive right into it!

What to Do if You Lose Your Car Keys: Check Your Auto Coverage First

Let’s say you have forever lost your original car keys and you never had a duplicate made. Then the first thing you need to do is to check your car insurance policy to see if it has some sort of lost car key coverage.

We’re listing this as the first step on how to replace lost car keys because your insurer may actually have a spare!

For example, some insurers offer spare key delivery in their roadside assistance package. If your policy includes this, then you’re in luck. If not a spare key, then your insurer may have an auto locksmith go to your car’s location to make an on-site duplicate.

Ring Up Your Local Locksmith

If your policy doesn’t include lost car key replacement coverage, a locksmith may be your best bet. This is especially true if you lost a traditional (as in mechanical) car key. Experienced locksmiths offer on-the-spot services, so you may not have to tow your ride.

Note, however, that making a key for older or custom vehicles may not be within a locksmith’s abilities. This is true for cars that have a vintage or a custom ignition lock cylinder. You may have to take your car to an auto service shop or get a new cylinder from your dealer.

A local locksmith may still be able to make and digitally program a key for your modern car. If not, ask if the locksmith can at least make the key even without programming it.

You’d still need to bring the key to your dealer to have it programmed. This is cheaper though than having the dealer do the entire key creation and programming for you.

Contact Your Dealer

Many of today’s vehicles have super complex keys designed for improved security. After all, motor vehicle theft is a huge problem in the U.S., with 773,139 cases of such crimes reported in 2017.

However, the complexity of these fancy car keys makes them difficult to duplicate on the spot. Your only option may be to replace them through your dealer, who will then order it from the manufacturer.

If your car is still under warranty from the dealership, it may cover the cost of the replacement. If not, ask your dealer if you can at least get a discount.

Note that vehicles with transponder keys or smart keys are the most expensive to replace. Also, if you don’t have a backup for such keys, towing your ride to the dealership is inevitable. You also need to show them proof of ownership documents before you can get a new key.

Prepare for Future “Losses” and Get a Duplicate Now

As soon as you get your new set, have a trustworthy key duplication service make a copy for you! Make sure you choose a state-licensed professional locksmith for your own security.

This way, you won’t have to go through the stress and hassles if you once again lose your keys.

You should also check if the locksmith has a “reordering” program. This often involves the locksmith creating and storing a backup of your key data. In case you ever lose your actual and duplicate keys, you can simply reorder so they can send you another copy.

With this, you no longer have to pay hefty fees by getting yet another “original” in case you lose it again. Of course, it’s better to never lose your keys again, but it’s best to stay on the safe (and cheaper) side and have a backup.

Smart Hacks to Help You Stop Misplacing Your Keys

Once you receive your new car key and duplicates, hook them up to a Bluetooth keychain. Then, set up your smartphone with the device’s app so you can track your keys in case you misplace them.

Some Bluetooth key holders come with an app that shows a “map” and even your distance from the item. Some also have an alarm that you can trigger, so you can follow the sound to find your keys. The best devices also have locators that tell you exactly where your keys are.

Also, as much as possible, train yourself to be more mindful of where you place your stuff. Even the simple act of creating reminders of where to put or hang your keys can help you become less “forgetful”. All these can help you stop saying “I lost my car keys!” over and over again.

Don’t Panic, Just Clone It

There you have it, all your options on what to do if you lose your car keys and have no spare to rely on. What’s important is that as soon as you get your new key, have it cloned and keep both the original and duplicate safe!

Having a spare (or several of them) can be a lifesaver, especially in cases of emergencies. So, team up with key cloning experts to say goodbye to pricey dealership replacements.