Lost your keys? Here's what to do next
Lost your keys? Locked out of your house? Don’t panic! Follow our simple guide below to key replacement, so you can regain access to your home as quickly as possible.
What to do if you've lost your keys
Stay calm and don’t break into your own home
We’ll start with the least technical (but very practical) piece of advice and that is to remain calm. Losing your house keys will be very upsetting but you won’t be able to think straight if you panic. Remember, there is always a solution for lost house keys. You won’t be stuck outside forever!
Never attempt to break into your property, as the damage you cause is likely to be more expensive than calling out a locksmith.
No key insurance? Contact a locksmith
If you have lost your only set of house keys, key replacement is your only option. You will need to get in touch with a reputable and experienced local locksmith who will be able to make you a new key. A skilled locksmith will create a key to lock by hand, without needing the original key. The price is likely to depend on door lock types and the time required to make a new key.
Before hiring a locksmith for house key replacement, consider whether your lost key can be easily traced back to your property. If it could be, you may want to have your locks changed instead. This will be more costly than cheap key replacement but will give you the peace of mind that no one can gain access to your home with your lost house keys.
It’s also worth noting that lost keys could invalidate your home insurance. If you lose your house key and someone uses it to gain access and burgle your property, you may not be able to make a claim. The problem is that your home insurance provider will say you did not take the appropriate action to keep your home secure. A lot of policies require evidence of forced entry, before they are willing to pay your claim.
If you want to change the locks completely, the locksmith may either try picking or drilling your lock to gain entry. They will then change the locks and cut you a new set of keys.
What house keys can a locksmith replace?
A skilled locksmith will be able to replace most keys including:
- Lost front door key
- Lost back door key
- Patio door key
- UPVC door and window keys
- Garage door keys
You are likely to have to pay a call-out charge for them to examine your door lock types and an additional fee for key replacement.
How much will key replacement cost?
As we mentioned above, the cost of key replacement is likely to depend on door lock types and the kind of key you require i.e. mortice key, small Yale key, security key.
The cost may also vary depending on your location and the time of day or night. Let’s face it, a locksmith is much more likely to charge for a call-out at night time due to the inconvenience.
Currently, there is no governing body for locksmiths, so essentially, they can charge whatever they like. However, most will charge a fair and reasonable price for key replacement to remain competitive.
Have you considered key duplication?
Prone to losing your keys? It may be a good idea to get another copy cut.
But hang on, you’re not going to want to keep this in your home, as it’ll be no good to you there! Alternatively, we recommend leaving it with a trusted family member who lives close by. There are also key holding companies, however, it will cost to use their service.
Never hide a spare key. Even if it’s in an obscure place, you can’t be 100% sure someone hasn’t watched you hide or retreive it. Hiding a key could invalidate your home insurance policy, should you need to make a claim, as your provider will state that you have compromised your home security.
Upgrading your home security
If you have got to have new locks installed on your property due to lost keys, you may want to take the opportunity to upgrade your home security at the same time.
Choosing BS3621 locks is one way to upgrade. These locks conform to the British Standard Institute for locks and have been tested against common burglary practices. Home insurance companies favour BS3621 locks, so you may be able to secure a better deal on your policy by installing them.
You can also upgrade your key security by choosing higher-quality locks that have useful theft-deterrent features such as anti-snap.
Finally, it’s not really a security measure but you may want to ask your locksmith to key your locks alike. This means you will be able to use a single key for all of your locks. It’s more convenient and will mean you don’t have to carry several keys around with you.
Save money on key replacement with key insurance
If you have a home insurance policy, it’s worth ringing up your provider to see if it includes key insurance. This is unlikely to be offered ‘as standard’ but could be something you are paying an additional fee for.
If you have key insurance included in your policy, your provider will cover the key replacement costs and send out a professional locksmith to change your locks.
If you don’t already have cover for lost house keys or stolen keys, it may be something you want to consider adding to your policy. No matter how careful you are, keys are one of the easiest things to misplace and it can leave you completely in the lurch. By taking out house key insurance, as part of your home cover policy, you can rest easy knowing that if you lose your house keys, you can get expert help quickly and won’t be left out of pocket.
We hope you’ve found our key replacement tips useful and that you’re soon back in your home, safe and warm!