RAC Cars News


Insurers Differ On Lost Key Policies

By raccars Published

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Price comparison site, GoCompare, is urging car owners to check the small print of their insurance policies, to see what sort of cover is provided in the event that keys get lost. A study of policies from a number of different insurers, has revealed vast differences between the level of protection provided when car keys get lost or are stolen. Some insurers don't make any provision for lost keys, which can end up costing car owners hundreds of pounds.

Over two hundred insurance policies were examined, with the result that only half of comprehensive policies include cover for lost keys as standard, almost a third charge extra to include lost key cover and more than one in five don't include any lost key protection at all. Eighty seven per cent of the policies provided some protection for stolen keys, another 10% only offered this as an add on to standard policies and the remaining 3% didn't offer any protection at all against stolen car keys.

For the top ten best selling cars in the UK, to replace the key for a Ford Fiesta or Focus costs up to £200, a Volkswagen Golf or Polo £180, a Vauxhall Corsa £150 and an Astra £175. Key replacement for a Fiat 500 costs £180, an Audi A3 up to £250, the Peugeot 208 costs £180 and the Nissan Qashqai up to £220.

While once a lost car key could be remedied by visiting a locksmith, the smart technology contained within modern keys and other locking devices includes programmed chips that not only unlock the door but also control the alarm, the immobiliser and, in some cases, even the ignition. Consequently, they can usually only be accessed by the manufacturer. Replacements are not only stamped out of metal but also need to be recoded and reprogrammed. This can be a time consuming as well as an expensive process.

Of the policies studied, those which included protection for lost or stolen keys covered the expense of a locksmith plus a replacement lock and keys. There will usually be a maximum sum stipulated - this was above £500 for more than half of the policies where lost key cover is included. Some policies did include the cost of car hire and transport to get your keyless car to the appropriate repairs workshop. There was no consensus on the impact upon a driver's no claims discount and policies also differed on the application of an excess charge in the event of a lost key claim.

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