Where's Your Spare Key?

For most of us the frustration of a lost car key is bad enough, but Britannia Rescue warns that nearly three million (10%) British drivers face a far more costly lock-out since they don’t have a spare set available to fall back on. According to the leading provider of breakdown cover, the cost of replacing an everyday car key is now four times what it was a decade ago, as makers of popular cars develop ever more advanced lock systems.

Britannia Rescue’s survey of over 2,000 GB adults reveals one in six (16%) drivers have permanently lost their keys at least once in the past. Assuming this rate of loss applies to the 2.8 million motorists who do not have spare keys available, Britannia Rescue estimates the overall bill for nearly half a million (445,280) unlucky motorists to replace their car keys could be as much as £98 million.

Replacing a lost key is no longer a simple case of cutting metal to shape. It commonly costs around £200 to design, create and programme a new key, but some cars are costlier than others. For example, Nissan Micra owners would have to fork out up to £326, while Ford Focus drivers would face a bill of up to £266.

Martin Milliner at Britannia Rescue says: “Accessing vehicles built since 1998 is generally more time-consuming and expensive for drivers due to the introduction of increasingly sophisticated alarms, immobilisers, and shielded locks. The cost of getting back behind the wheel could really rocket if work is needed on the ignition or security system as well, but one clear way of avoiding this issue is to look after your spare key and keep it in a sensible place.

“We get many call-outs from customers who need help getting back into their cars. Some common but unsuitable places to keep spare keys include hand-bags, man-bags or on the same key-ring as the main set, which is not much help if you lose them. Some drivers even admit having locked their spares in the glove compartment. Britannia Rescue will always endeavour to help drivers get back into their cars, sometimes using courier services or taxis to return their spare set.”

Some car insurers including Britannia Rescue’s parent company LV= offer cover against the loss of keys. However, with a typical excess in the region of £200, Britannia Rescue says many motorists will choose to cover the cost of their replacement key rather than making a claim and face affecting their no claims discount.

8 October 2007 Staff
 

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