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What does lost car key insurance cover?

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Losing your car keys is incredibly inconvenient and can be expensive to resolve. Modern keys contain electronic immobilisers and programming to secure vehicles. This technology makes replacing keys pricey. 

As a result, replacement costs often run into hundreds of pounds, so many car insurance providers now offer some form of key cover. While cover varies between providers, insurance can offer vital assistance by cutting replacement costs if your keys go missing. But what exactly does this include, and what steps should you take if your keys disappear?

Can you get lost car key insurance?

Many insurers provide car key coverage as an add-on or included benefit. Always check your policy schedule to confirm the following:

  • Comprehensive insurance: Key coverage is automatically included with some comprehensive policies. Generally, they set an annual claims limit, often £500–£1,500
  • Third party insurance: It’s unlikely to include key cover, but some providers add third-party insurance as an option
  • Additional key cover: Extra annual claims limit or lost key excess waiver options available for further protection

Like other insurance extras, key cover raises premiums slightly. But it saves a lot of stress and excessive costs if you experience the misfortune of losing your keys.


The average cost to replace keys in the UK can range from £99 to more than £500, depending on car make and model. Prices are rising as vehicles become increasingly sophisticated.

The primary factors determining replacement costs are as follows:

  • Key types: Simple manual keys are the cheapest. Intelligent fobs with alarms and immobilisers are the most expensive
  • Programming: Modern keys require advanced electronic programming by dealers to function
  • Vehicle brand: Luxury and performance cars carry premium pricing

What should I do if I lose my car keys?

Depending on your situation, you should follow these initial steps:

Locked keys in a vehicle If you have breakdown cover, call your provider. They may be able to unlock the car Alternatively, hire a professional auto locksmith. They can pick standard locks or decode transponder keys
Keys stolen Report the theft to the police and obtain a crime reference number, without this most insurance providers will not cover the replacement costs
Keys lost outdoors Attempt to retrace your steps and search the area thoroughly. Ask passers-by if they spotted anything Check with any locations you visited to see if they were handed in If unsuccessful, make a claim as soon as possible after 24 hours

Act swiftly to maximise chances of recovery and start your claim. Insurer processes vary, so check your policy terms.

What is covered under lost car key insurance?

Policies with key coverage usually include the following:

  • Cost of replacing keys, key cards and fobs
  • Reprogramming of immobilisers and alarms
  • Breakdown callouts for access if locked out
  • Onward transportation if your vehicle is stranded
  • Vehicle hire during repairs if a theft risk
  • 24/7 lost key helplines offering advice

What is not covered?

Always check the full details of your policy as they don’t always include the following: 

  • Wear and tear-related damage
  • Extra keys
  • Stolen keys without a police-provided crime reference number
  • Locks that were already damaged or any a full replacement when only partial is required

Lost car key insurance cover FAQs

It depends on your specific policy and if you have added replacement key cover as part of your premium; some also only cover complete loss or theft. Check your policy for damage cover and claim limits.

Usually, yes, to prevent further theft risk. An entirely new set of keys (including spare) will prevent thieves coming back to break into the car, as they will have new programming. 

Nick Jones

Editor in Chief

Nick Jones is a highly experienced consumer journalist and editor, who has been writing and producing content for print and online media for over 25 years.

He has worked at some of the UK’s leading publishers including Future Publishing, Highbury Entertainment, and Imagine Publishing, with publications as diverse as Homebuilding & Renovating, TechRadar, and Creative Bloq, writing and editing content for audiences whose interests include history, computing, gaming, films, and science. He’s also produced a number of podcasts in the technology, science, gaming, and true crime genres.

Nick has also enjoyed a highly successful career in content marketing, working in a variety of topics such as health, technology, and finance, with market-leading global companies including Cisco, Pfizer, Santander, and Virgin Media.

Now the Editor-in-Chief of the Independent Advisor, Nick is involved in all aspects of the site’s content, where his expertise in finance, technology, and home products informs every article that’s published on-site. He takes a hands-on approach with our VPN content, penning a number of the articles himself, and verifying that everything we publish in this topic is accurate.

Whatever the area of interest he’s worked in, Nick has always been a consumer champion, helping people find the best deals and give them the information they need to make an informed buying decision.