Locking your keys in your car, losing your car keys, or having your car door lock stop working is a maddening experience–and definitely not one most people budget for. You’re already paying for car insurance, so can your car insurance cover the cost of a locksmith to get you back into your car and on the road? The answer is, as with so many things in life, is that it depends. In this blog post we will explore exactly what the top car insurance providers offer when it comes to automotive keys and lockouts.
Which Locksmith Services Are Covered By My Insurance Company?
Whether your car insurance covers the cost of an auto locksmith depends on what kind of insurance policy you have as well as what kind of locksmith services you need.
My Keys Are Locked in the Car, Am I Covered?
Accidentally locking the keys in the car is the most common reason people need the services of a locksmith, and insurance will cover the cost of having a locksmith unlock your car for you, but only if it’s part of a roadside assistance add-on to your basic insurance policy.
Is Car Key Replacement or Programming Covered?
Fewer car insurance companies will pay the cost to replace or reprogram a car key than to simply unlock a car. Some companies will only pay to replace a stolen key, not a lost car key. Others may pay up to a certain amount toward a new car key. Some companies may pay for your car to be towed to a dealer or locksmith to have a new key made, but will not cover the cost of the key itself. Again, to be reimbursed for car key replacement or reprogramming by your insurer, you will have to have a comprehensive policy that includes a roadside assistance add-on.
Door Lock or Ignition Repair Is Likely Not Covered
If you need your door lock or ignition repaired or replaced, chances are high that your car insurance will not cover the cost of the labor and parts, no matter what type of insurance you have.
The only exception is if a break-in damaged your car door lock or ignition cylinder to your car or by attempted car theft. If this is the case, it might be worth filing a claim with your insurer to find out if they would cover the cost of repairs to the ignition or door lock.
Does Roadside Assistance Cover a Locksmith?
Most car insurance companies offer roadside assistance coverage as an add-on to your basic car insurance policy. Roadside assistance will generally pay for other miscellaneous services as well, like towing, jump starts, a gas or oil refill, and a tire change. While the amount of coverage will vary depending on your insurer, basic car lockout services should be covered by roadside assistance.
Your policy may require you to file for reimbursement from your insurance company after paying out-of-pocket, or the company may be able to pay your locksmith directly. Usually, your policy will cover costs up to a certain amount. Services other than unlocking a car, like replacing a key or fixing a door lock, are not always covered. You will need to check with your individual insurer for more details.
Does AAA Cover a Locksmith?
American Automobile Association (AAA) consists of many local clubs offering emergency roadside services to members who pay dues. These services do include basic locksmith services.
AAA does cover a locksmith if you are locked out of your car or have lost or broken your key. However, locksmith services are covered up to a limit determined by the type of AAA membership plan you have. A “basic” membership plan will reimburse you for up to $50 of locksmith parts or labor, a “plus” plan for up to $100, and a “premier” membership for up to $150.
Does Geico Cover a Locksmith?
Like most insurance companies, Geico will cover a locksmith only if you have chosen to add their optional roadside assistance coverage to your policy. If you do have roadside assistance, Geico will cover up to $100 of labor and materials costs to unlock your car if you’re locked out or to replace your car key if it was lost, stolen, or broken. Geico does not require you to pay out of pocket for locksmith services covered under their roadside assistance policy.
Does USAA Cover a Locksmith?
If you have USAA’s roadside assistance coverage, USAA will cover the cost of having a locksmith unlock your car, but will not pay for a new car key or fob if you’ve lost or broken your key. Unlike Geico, USAA doesn’t have a dollar limit to their lockout coverage, which offers you some flexibility in case locksmith costs are a little higher than expected.
How Much Will My Insurance Cover?
Even if your insurance company covers the cost of a locksmith through a roadside assistance policy add-on, there will likely be caps on the amount your insurer will pay. A standard limit is up to one hour of labor. This is generally plenty of time for a locksmith to unlock a car, but that may not be enough time if the issue isn’t as straightforward.
Similarly, insurance companies usually have caps on the amount they will pay for car key replacement as well. As mentioned before, Geico will pay $100 toward the cost of a new car key, but for many cars, this will not cover the total cost of the key. Progressive, on the other hand, will not cover the cost of a replacement key, and neither will Allstate unless the key was damaged in an accident covered by the insurance policy (such as a vehicle collision).
Even if your insurer does cover the cost of a replacement key, unless your deductible is very low, it usually makes more sense to pay for the cost of a new or reprogrammed key out of pocket, as your deductible will be greater than the replacement cost (not to mention that you will avoid the hassle of filing a claim).
Do I Have to Pay Upfront?
Some insurers that cover the service of a locksmith work do not require you to pay out of pocket. American Family Insurance, for instance, touts their “Sign and Drive” direct billing, which doesn’t ask you to pay upfront. However, keep in mind that insurance companies that offer this will require you to work with a specific locksmith, and most small, family-owned locksmith companies won’t deal directly with insurance companies.
More likely, your insurer will require you to pay the locksmith out-of-pocket and will reimburse you later, and they will still usually ask that you work with a locksmith in their network. If you insist on working with a locksmith of your own choice, your insurance company may cover less of the cost or ask you to submit a claim for consideration of coverage, which means there is no guarantee they will reimburse you.
How Do I Find a Reputable Locksmith?
If your car insurance company will cover a locksmith’s services and already has a roster of locksmiths that they consistently work with, you will need to contact them to arrange a service call to your car.
Even if your insurer does not ask that you work with a specific locksmith company, they will likely require you to work with a certified locksmith. Not all states require locksmiths to be certified. If you’re choosing a locksmith on your own, make sure to pick one that is licensed and certified. 1-800-Unlocks is a directory of verified, certified, and trustworthy local locksmiths. Call 800-865-6257 to be connected with a locksmith near you, or enter your zip code in the search bar at the top of this page.
Call A Verified Locksmith Today
1-800-Unlocks is a peer-reviewed directory of professional locksmiths. When you call, you’ll be connected with a vetted locksmith in your area.