What to Do When Your Keys Are Stolen

If you're wondering what to do when your keys are stolen, the first thing to do is call the cops as soon as you know. You may also need to call your home insurance company if your house keys were with them.

Free Car Insurance Comparison

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

Full Bio →

Written by

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: May 20, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident car insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one car insurance company and cannot guarantee quotes from any single company.

Our partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from top car companies please enter your ZIP code above to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

Here's what you need to know...

  • The first thing to do is immediately call the police as soon as you know your keys have been stolen
  • If your keyring also contained your house keys, call your homeowners’ insurance company
  • If the car is a newer model with computer chips embedded in the car keys, you probably won’t need new locks

We’ve all locked ourselves out of our cars at one time or another, right? However, there’s something even worse when it comes to cars and keys, something that most of us will never experience. That something is having our car keys stolen.

If this ever happens to you, try not to panic, because there are some fairly simple things you can do to protect yourself and regain your peace of mind.

Having your car keys stolen can be merely a minor inconvenience to some. To others, it can be a nightmare compounded by the fact that most of us carry our house keys on the same key ring.

If you keep our car’s registration or insurance card in the car, it then becomes possible for the thief to easily find out where we live. If the thief then has both your car and house keys, you become extremely vulnerable no matter where you are.

Entering your ZIP code in the box above gets you started on your way to finding competitive car insurance rates online.

What should you do if you lose your car keys?

Losing your keys is quite different than having them stolen. You should always call the police about stolen car keys. That way you can figure out who took them and put a stop to anything they may want to do.

Losing them can be frustrating, but maybe not as scary. Try to retrace your steps, but if they’re truly gone, check with your auto insurance company to see if a lost fob is covered. If not, you will want to visit the dealership so that they can program new keys.

The other option is to have your locks changed. You should also deactivate the lost car key fob. To deactivate lost or stolen key fobs, visit your car dealership. You can also purchase a new remote.

Free Car Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap car insurance rates.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What about if my car keys were stolen?

The first thing to do is immediately call the police as soon as you know your keys have been stolen. Worry about where they’re headed before concerning yourself with a stolen car key replacement.

Fill out a police report with as much detail as possible, including trying to think of anyone you know who might be motivated to steal your keys. Include as much information as you can, because every detail counts in a police investigation.

After you file the police report, the officer will probably advise you as to whether or not you need to take certain safety precautions.

From there you should call your car insurance company to see if you’re covered for replacement locks. If your keyring also contained your house keys, a call to your homeowner’s insurance company is also in order.

Both insurance companies may cover the cost of lock replacement, or they may not. But the only way you’ll know for sure is by contacting them and asking the question. If they do, at least that is some benefit.

Do you need to change your locks after your keys are lost or stolen?

Can you deactivate a car key? If your car is a newer model with computer chips embedded in the car keys, you will probably not need new locks. Instead, you’ll be able to go to a local dealer who sells cars from the same manufacturer and have them reprogram a new key for you.

This is probably the cheapest way to go, although you still might be charged a few hundred dollars.

If your car is older, and programmable keys are not part of the equation, you’ll need your locks and your ignition changed.

As far as your house locks are concerned, whether or not you need to change them depends on several circumstances.

Home Security if House Keys Are Stolen With Car Keys
Your SituationRecommendation
Renting a home or apartmentCall your landlord.
Own your home with standard locksReplace your locks. You make the decision of what to buy.
If you're a home-owner with heavy-duty, expensive locksConsider having a locksmith re-key the locks.
Get Your Rates Quote Now

Compare RatesStart Now →

Regardless, changing your home locks is probably vastly more important than changing your car locks. With your home, your personal safety, as well as that of your family, is at risk.

Is there anything else you should do if your keys are lost or stolen?

The last thing you need to do if your car keys are stolen is to pay attention to suspicious people who might be hanging around. Even after your locks have been changed the thief may not be aware of that fact.

You may see someone suspicious in the neighborhood, or in a public parking lot, giving you plenty of reason to be anxious.

If you are nervous at any time, you should err on the side of caution and call the police.

You should also keep your eyes open for your keys just in case it turns out that you really misplaced them. If that ends up being the case, you’ll need to report that to the police as soon as possible. If you’re unable to find them, and you end up having to leave your vehicle alone, or items are stolen from your car before you realize your keys were taken, you’ll want to follow up with the police and your insurance.

Don’t worry, everyone makes mistakes. The police will not have an issue if you inform them that you found your lost keys and that they weren’t stolen after all.

The only way you’ll get in trouble is if you found your lost keys and failed to inform the police, causing them to continue a fruitless investigation.

It only takes a few minutes to see side-by-side car insurance quotes, so why not enter your ZIP code in the box below right now?

Free Car Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap car insurance rates.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption