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Does car insurance cover key replacement?

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Things to Remember...

  • Auto insurance is a product that’s designed to pay for unexpected and sudden losses that can lead to a financial hardship
  • If you lose your keys, a basic auto insurance policy will not pay to replace your keys
  • A policy that includes comprehensive coverage may pay to replace your keys if your car is stolen and recovered

Losing your car keys can be one of the most frustrating things in the world, especially when you’re in a hurry to be somewhere. If you’re in need of a replacement key, either because your keys are lost or stolen, you’ll quickly discover how expensive keys today are.

Insurance policies don’t pay for car keys in every scenario, but it’s possible that your insurer can help you cover some of the expense. Here’s what you need to know about how your carrier handles claims for car key replacement.

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How much do car keys cost?


You never realize how much something costs until you have to pay for it.

When it comes to car keys, it can be quite shocking to learn that the key that you use day in and day out is worth hundreds of dollars.

How much your ignition keys, door keys, and key fobs cost depends on the type of car you own and the type of key technology the manufacturer uses.

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Differentiating Key Costs

If you’re curious to find out how much your car key will cost before you lose it, you need to know what type of key you have. Car owners with a vehicle that was manufactured in the mid-to-late 90’s are lucky.

These basic keys are manufactured much like a house key without special security features and will cost you on average of $9.

Cars that were produced in the late 90’s typically have a transponder key. These keys have more security features because they have a chip in the key itself that sends a signal to the ignition so that the car will start.

The transponder key costs about $160 to replace if you don’t need the fob. The fob costs around $75 more.

Nowadays, new car ignitions are started with a smart key.

If your car has a smart key, you can expect to pay a lot more when that smart key goes missing.

Since most manufacturers use proprietary technology, you have no choice but to buy replacements from the dealer. The cost to reprogram a key can cost between $200 and $500.

Does insurance pay for keys when they are misplaced?


If you drop your key down a drain, or it falls out of your purse while you’re in a busy store, there’s a good chance you’re not getting your key back.

If you happen to lose your key, your insurance company probably won’t pay for key replacement unless you have a special key replacement rider on your policy.

What is a key replacement rider?

Very few carriers in the United States automatically cover keys when they are misplaced. If you want the coverage, you need to ask your insurer if they offer a key replacement rider.

This rider adds coverage that will pay for lost and stolen keys and remotes. Riders will cost you additional money each term.

What happens if your keys are stolen?


If you know for a fact that your keys were stolen, your car key claim may be handled differently. When you are a victim of a key theft, you may be able to claim the cost for a replacement under your comprehensive coverage.

It’s typically covered because thieves could potentially steal your car if it’s not re-keyed.

Here’s what’s covered:

  • Cost to replace ignition key
  • Cost to re-key the car
  • Cost to replace the door key

Are keys covered if your car is stolen?

A car is stolen every 43 seconds. If you are the victim of a theft and your car has been recovered, your insurer may help you cover the cost of a replacement key if you carry comprehensive.

It’s typical for an insurer to cover the cost to repair damages and re-key your car as long as all of the costs are less than the Actual Cash Value of the car.

The deductible will apply for any theft claim.

If you aren’t happy with the options offered by your insurer, now is the time to look for an insurer with roadside assistance options or key replacement riders.

One of the most effective ways to find what you’re looking for is to use an online rate comparison tool. By entering your zip code into our FREE comparison tool, you can price the cost of coverage through several respected carriers all at once.

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