Will My Insurance Cover Locking Keys in My Car?
When I was a little girl, I remember going to the beach with my parents during a family vacation. We had a lovely day building sandcastles and riding jet skis, and after a long day, we were ready to go to the hotel for the evening. Much to my parent’s horror, they discovered that one of them (I won’t name whom for argument’s sake) had locked the keys in the car! They were both visibly upset, and now in my older 20s, I can understand why. Not only is that a major inconvenience, but that’s not necessarily an expense you want to deal with, and obviously could have been avoided.
It got me to wondering if that were to happen to me, would insurance cover locking keys in the car? It ultimately depends on your insurance coverage. If you have roadside assistance included in your insurance policy, you are probably in luck. Coverage limits vary, but if you have roadside assistance, it most likely will cover the lockout of a vehicle. Lockouts are typically one of the cheapest roadside assistance features, too. Hurray!
Keep reading to learn more about what to do if you find yourself in this situation!
What Insurance Coverage Should I Select?
Locking yourself out of your own car can be a very stressful situation. The last thing you want to think about is the cost of your mistake.
So before you lock in that insurance policy, make sure that you purchase a policy that provides roadside assistance.
If you already have insurance, contact your local insurance agent to verify whether or not this is included with your policy, and perhaps consider adding it on.
Also, be sure not to be fooled by the phrase, “comprehensive coverage.” That lingo does not necessarily mean you have roadside assistance covered in your policy.
Once you have roadside assistance with your insurance policy, coverage limits will vary. However, it should cover the lockout cost of a vehicle. This roadside assistance service is generally very inexpensive.
Of course, the cost may increase if you get locked out of your vehicle in a highly remote area because travel time will be figured into the final cost.
Please keep in mind that for your unlock charge to be covered by your car insurance carrier, it’s important to report the claim directly to your insurance company or the roadside assistance plan. When you do so, you will need to provide the vehicle’s location, leave a good contact phone number, and know your insurance policy number.
What Other Options Do I Have To Pay For My Lockout Cost?
So let’s say you’re along for the ride with someone who locked themselves out of their vehicle, and they don’t have roadside assistance. What should your friend do to cover his or her lockout cost? Fortunately, there are options other than insurance that you could consider trying.
If your friend is driving a sweet new hot rod, many new cars come with warranties. Many warranties nowadays provide roadside assistance. This may cover the cost of the lockout for your friend. Hopefully they are aware of everything the warranty covers. Hot tip if you’re considering a new car in the future that comes with a warranty, make sure you know everything in the warranty coverage so you don’t then have redundant coverage in an insurance policy.
Did you know that some credit cards offer roadside assistance? I sure didn’t (I am still getting used to this whole adulting thing). The chances of having roadside assistance coverage increase if there is an annual fee involved with the credit card. When in doubt, call the credit card company to see what kind of perks your card offers.
How Do I Avoid Paying For a Lockout Charge?
Of course, the ideal situation in this scenario is discovering ways of gaining access to your vehicle yourself, without having to call a company or your car insurance to do it for you. There are some options that you should try! Have faith.
First of all, it’s important to stay calm. I know this is a stressful situation, and it’s easy to panic in a tough situation like this. But when we panic, we tend not to think everything through. It would be really annoying to discover that you called a tow trunk company, only to discover another door to your vehicle was unlocked. So, make sure to check every door and even your trunk before taking the next steps.
Using a Spare Key
If you find that all of the doors to your vehicle are locked, there are still some options for you. Make sure that if you have a spare key, you know where it’s located. You could probably have someone deliver the key to you if you’re near home.
If you don’t have a replacement key, consider getting one. Investing in a replacement key may pay for itself over time, and I am sure you will be thankful one day that you invested. It’s also wise to keep a spare key for your home or apartment on this keychain, allowing you to get into your home if you lose your keys. Check with your property management company before doing so as there may be restrictions.)
Unlocking The Car Yourself
I will preface this by saying that tow companies are professionals. This means they have the proper tools and skills to be able to do the job. However, you may be in a situation in which you need to be able to unlock the car door yourself.
Most tow service companies will use an inflatable device called a “pump wedge” to open the door. Lifehack: you could use a blood pressure cuff to perform the same action. It’s strong enough to withstand the pressure without ripping. If you have one at home or could have a family member bring it to you, it’s worth a try.
Here are the steps to use the blood pressure cuff:
- Slide a deflated blood pressure cuff into the top corner of the driver’s side door
- Once that’s done, inflate the cuff until there is a small gap creating an opening in the vehicle. Make sure that you don’t over-expand the cuff because the door could then be damaged. Damage to your door could cause a damaged window or even a leaking windshield! Yikes!
- Use a wire coat hanger or another long object that will fit in the gap that was created and use it to hit the unlock button to your car door.
Keep in mind, this is not a super easy process and there is always the chance you could harm your car door. I’d recommend hiring professionals to do this service for you if at all possible.
What is the typical out-of-pocket cost for unlocking a car door? The minimum call-out charge usually is $30 to $85, and anywhere from $100 to $250 for after-hours service. But usually, typical rates to unlock a car are $60 to $85 on average.
How much does it cost to have locks changed on a car? Expect to pay $80 to $300 per lock, depending on the quality, and up to $200 more for professional installation. Many door locks, however, are DIY-friendly and come with installation instructions.