Car keys have an odd ability to disappear without a trace. It could be inside your pocket, on your living room table, or even underneath the couch and it will disappear completely. When realizing your keys are lost, a dreaded feeling creeps up your spine. Don’t worry, this eventually wears off. After it does, the definitive question comes to mind, how much do replacement keys cost?
Replacement keys can be costly, fortunately, there is an option you can do that may not cost a thing.
Car Insurance Policy
If you definitively can’t find your key, you may check your car insurance policy on lost or stolen keys. Some car insurance policies have key replacement as a standard in their car insurance policies. Other insurance policies need some additional payment for a replacement, usually lesser than the actually purchased key. Overall, it’s worth checking out your car insurance to see if this possible in your case.
If your insurance policy covers this, great! If it doesn’t, replacing it is your only option.
Cost of Car Key Replacements
Replacing keys can be a massive headache, the price ranges from £140 to £1000. The price varies as it depends on:
- Make and Model of the Vehicle: Every car for every manufacturer utilizes different types of keys. These keys also depend on the car’s model, influencing the car key replacement cost.
- Extra features: A general rule for purchasing any product is, “Extra features cost extra money.”
- Location: Companies based on a specific place will charge more, e.g.: London.
- Car Key: With varying keys, the price varies with the type of key. Commonly, keys with higher specifications are much more expensive than keys with lower specifications.
Types of Car Keys
- Keyless entry: The face of modern keys. This convenient key works by sending radio signals to the car and unlocks the doors from afar. The signal sent isn’t just a signal by any means. The key sends a randomized code which the car’s computer receives and verifies, thus making this type of key a “smart key”. It isn’t a traditional car key in different ways. It is inserted in the dashboard of the vehicle or just stays in your pocket. Most cars with keyless entry keys just start the engine by pressing a button.
- Remote keys: Like keyless entry keys, these keys are designed to unlock a vehicle by a press of a button. This makes them convenient and very popular. This type of key also needs to be programmed, generally by car dealerships. Some manuals show how to program it by yourself, or you could just search the internet. A present issue for this type of key is that the buttons may break and this key is generally more expensive to replace than basic keys. If you need a cheaper version of a remote key, you can purchase aftermarket versions. The quality may vary from the genuine version but they are less expensive.
- Key with transponder chip: A much more secure version than a normal key. The transponder chips emit a signal that the ignition will receive. This signal has a unique code that the car will then authenticate. If the ignition detects the wrong code, the vehicle will not start. Like a remote key, keys with transponder chips must be programmed for the vehicle. A low-cost alternative is to purchase a spare key without a transponder chip, this will do the same thing as a key with a transponder chip except for starting the engine.
- Flip/Switchblade key: This key is more compact and reduces the risk of the key scratching other items in a pocket or bag. The flip key has shafts that fold into the plastic shell when not in use and flips out with a press of a button. The components of the key, both the plastic shell and the shaft, can be purchased separately. Making it a bit cheaper to replace if only one of the components is damaged.
Best Way to Combat Disappearing Keys
The information above shows how today’s keys are expensive and the best strategy to win against disappearing keys is to have a spare. It is much more convenient to have a spare on hand currently rather than going through the trouble of finding the key and then running to get a replacement. If having a spare sound expensive don’t worry, you could order aftermarket products. The quality of these products varies; however, they are much cheaper and these car keys get the job done like the genuine versions.
Another reason to have a spare is due to the quality of modern keys. More cars require electronic keys rather than the old, traditional keys. Older keys are easier to replace but newer keys are not cheap. Losing an electronic key means that the car’s computer must be reprogrammed for the newly replaced key and that work costs more money. So, having a spare key is always a wise strategy.