Lost car keys can cause stress. However, obtaining a replacement key and fob does not have to be expensive.
Most cars built within the last ten years have a smart lock system that uses electronic transponders to lock and start your vehicle. This type of key is most often replaced at the dealership.
Dealership Key Replacement Programs
Getting a replacement car key can be expensive at a dealership, but you can also hire an automotive locksmith to make your new key. A traditional key will cost about $10, while an all-in-one fob costs much more.
Key fobs are now standard on most cars, allowing you to lock or unlock your doors and trunk remotely. They can also start your engine, but they are not cheap to replace if you lose or break them.
Before you call roadside assistance or a locksmith, check your car’s warranty, insurance policy or auto club membership to see if it covers the cost of a replacement key fob. If you do have coverage, follow these steps:
Manufacturer Key Replacement Programs
Today’s smart car key fobs do so much more than unlock and start a vehicle. They also act as a theft deterrent. These complex devices can be expensive to replace if lost or broken. However, check your manufacturer’s bumper-to-bumper warranty, car insurance policy or auto club membership coverage to see if they cover key fob replacement.
Many manufacturers offer comprehensive key replacement programs that include all keys and remote transponders for no out-of-pocket costs. To qualify, you must present proof of ownership.
Some manufacturers require a special code (sometimes called a skim code) to program new keys. These codes can be purchased from the dealer for a fee, and that cost is typically passed on to the locksmith that you choose to do the programming. These codes can also be found online for a small fee and used with a normal key programmer (often called a FOBIK chip programmer). This process can save you a lot of money over going through the dealership.
Some car insurance companies offer key replacement coverage as an add-on to your policy. This typically covers the cost of replacement keys and locksmith services in case they are lost or stolen. It also may include the reprogramming of your remote car key fob or transponder.
A good key replacement service can deactivate your old keys so they cannot be used by others to access your vehicle. This helps prevent theft. It also can help you avoid paying for expensive car repairs or replacements if your keys are accidentally damaged or destroyed.
The deductible for car key replacement is generally not as high as the personal property deductible on most homeowners insurance policies. However, you should check with your insurance provider to make sure that the specifics are clear. To file an insurance claim, you should submit the invoice or receipt for the replaced key and the key fob or transponder to your insurer. In the event of a theft, you should also submit a First Information Report at the local police station.
Remote Transponder Replacement
Most cars that are made within the last 10 years come with a key fob that has built in electronic transponders to lock and start the vehicle. These types of keys are very expensive to replace if lost or stolen, so most drivers want to keep them safe.
If you do lose your car key, call a professional Car Key Replacement DC. They can cut and program a new car key for you at a fraction of what a dealership charges. They will also offer a warranty on their work to give you peace of mind.
The first step is to get the VIN from the dashboard or engine bay of the vehicle that needs a key fob replacement. If the VIN isn’t easily visible, it should be found on the vehicle title or insurance paperwork. Then, the locksmith can provide a quote for the job. Older vehicles, especially non-luxury manufacturers, typically have the easiest keys to replace.