Lost your keys? Replacing a car fob has become 29% more expensive than it was in 2013
Motorists are losing their car keys in record numbers – and if you can’t find yours it’s bad news, the average bill for a replacement set is £215.
Analysis of 1,500 claims made to key insurer Keycare found that the average price of a new key today is 29 per cent higher than it was in 2013 – which is partly down to more advanced keyless systems that are expensive.
However, the data suggests the average price of replacing an old-style central locking key and new lock set for a motor is a staggering £689.
Replacing the key for a Ford Fiesta — the UK’s best-selling car with more than 133,000 models sold last year — costs an average £262.
The price has rocketed by 61 per cent from 2013 for Ford’s favoured motor, which could be due to the affordable supermini in recent years featuring keyless technology.
The latest Fiesta is sold with the ‘Key-Free System’, which unlocks the vehicle and starts the ignition without having to take it out of your pocket.
It’s these keyless fobs that have caused a huge spike in motor crime in recent years, with gangs using cheap technology bought online to remotely hack they systems.
Devices are used to relay a signal from the key – which is safely kept inside the vehicle owner’s home – to the car, tricking the system into allowing thieves access to the vehicle.
Car brands with the highest replacement key costs on average
1. Jaguar: £542.47
2. Hyundai: £540.38
3. Land Rover: £481.91
4. Porsche: £368.52
5. Mitsubishi: £239.30
6. Kia: £327.22
7. Audi: £320.85
8. Alfa Romeo: £312.12
9. Volvo: £305.35
10. Skoda: £304.31
*prices based on average claim cost, not what you’d pay at the dealer
With many of these systems having keyless ignition, it also means the signal can be replicated to start the engine and drive the car away without raising suspicion.
Some 113.037 cases of car thefts were reported to police in 2018, according to Office for National Statistics figures – that’s an increase of more than 50 per cent in five years, with the swell in instances due to this new method of vehicle crime.
It means nearly as many cars are stolen as new Ford Fiestas are registered each year.
The most expensive brand for key replacement, according to Keycare’s claim database, is Jaguar, with the average keyfob costing £542.47.
Hyundai is second highest (£540.38), just above Land Rover (£481.91), Porsche (£368.52) and Mitsubishi (£329.30) – showing that it’s not just premium marques with high key costs.
Steve Wainwright, chief executive of Keycare, said with key technology becoming more advanced, it’s no surprise the price of replacing them is becoming steeper.
But what has shocked him is the volume of motorists who lose their keys – especially in recent weeks.
‘Even during lockdown where movements have been severely restricted, people are still losing car keys while out on daily exercise or getting to and from work,’ he said.
‘There has been no big let-up in this as might be expected, and we have continued to service claims, provide assistance and repatriate found keys throughout the coronavirus pandemic.’
And it isn’t just newfangled keyless fobs that are expensive to replace.
Car owners with less advanced systems face even higher bills if they need to replace a central locking key and all the door locks on the car, the review of 1,500 claims suggests.
An average set of keys and matching lock set now cost £689, according to the data.
For some car makes and models lock sets are more than £1,000.
The most expensive recent case recorded was for a Lexus SC 430 Auto Convertible, with a replacement lock set (including labour and VAT) costing around £1,490.
A set of standard remote locking keys and matching lock set now cost an average of £689, according to the data
Analysis of data from customers nationwide shows that Barnet tops the key loss league with 8 per cent of people reporting property or car keys lost or missing in April 2020.
It is closely followed by Birmingham, where 7 per cent of people can’t find their keys, Bexley (6.6 per cent), Croydon (6.3 per cent), Redbridge (6 per cent) and Bromley (5.7 per cent).
Customers of Keycare are provided with a unique fob they can attach to their keys so, if found, they can be reported.
Each has a unique fob number to identify keys should they go missing.
If lost keys are found, good Samaritans can inform Keycare and receive a £10 reward.
‘Our research data shows that people are still losing car keys even when they aren’t very far from home,’ Wainwright added.
‘We see people losing keys down drains, leaving them on public transport or simply falling out of a pocket when out walking or running.
‘Interestingly, 20 per cent of the keys we recover for people are found before the keyholder even knows they’re missing. Often, we’re the ones telling them that their keys have been lost and subsequently found.
‘We ensure that all keys attached to the Keycare fob are covered under the policy, meaning we’ll work to recover keys and help people gain access to their car or home with minimal inconvenience.’
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