Does insurance cover a stolen car if the key was left inside?

Only if you have comprehensive coverage, which covers the theft of your vehicle and its parts, including any stolen keys. Leaving your keys in the car won't affect whether you're covered or not. If your vehicle gets stolen with the key inside, comprehensive may cover the cost to replace the key (if the car is located but the key isn't), minus any car insurance deductible.

Is there any other type of insurance that covers stolen car keys?

In the case of stolen car keys, property insurance may be able to provide coverage. Property insurance policies (like homeowners insurance or renters insurance) that include personal property coverage may protect your belongings against theft even if they're not in your home when the theft occurs. Suppose your purse or backpack gets stolen and your car keys are inside. You may be able to make a claim for the keys through your property insurance. However, a deductible could apply, and details vary from one insurer to another, so check your policy before filing a claim.

Should I file an insurance claim for stolen car keys?

Filing a claim for key replacement is often not worth the time involved and deductible payment, but it may depend on your deductible amount and the cost to replace your key. Old-style mechanical keys don't cost much to replace as long as you have a spare to copy. In that case, even if you're able to make a claim, it may be easier and no more expensive to pay out of pocket. Key fobs cost more than mechanical keys but are still inexpensive enough that the key fob replacement cost may not exceed your car insurance deductible.

There might be an exception if you have a high-tech smart key. Laser-cut, programmable smart keys can cost several hundred dollars or more to replace and program. It's possible that your key replacement could cost more than a low car insurance deductible. Even in this case, though, you should weigh the monetary savings against the time you'll spend getting the claim approved and processed, as well as the possible effects on your car insurance premium for making a claim.

I've lost my car keys and can't get into my vehicle. What should I do?

If you have roadside assistance coverage, your insurer can send a locksmith to get you into your car. Depending on the type of key you have, the locksmith may be able to make a copy for you. In that case, your insurance would pay to dispatch the locksmith. However, you'll need to pay for the cost of the new key. If the locksmith isn't able to create a duplicate key, roadside assistance coverage can pay to tow your car to a dealer or other service shop qualified to make a new key — but you'll still need to pay for the replacement key.

How to replace lost or stolen car keys

Smart keys: If you have an electronic key, it's probably not possible (or reliable) to use aftermarket parts or services to replace it. The re-keying process typically requires the car to be present, so you may have to have your car towed to the dealer for them to provide you with a new electronic key.

Mechanical keys: If your car is older and still uses a simple mechanical key, you can have a new key cut at most hardware stores for just a few dollars (assuming you have a spare to bring with you). However, this type of key is less common today, as most manufacturers have moved to electronic key fobs with varying levels of technology.

Mechanical keys plus remote: Many older vehicles have a remote to lock and unlock the car from a distance but use a mechanical key to start the car. You may be able to get an aftermarket blank (including the remote control fob) and get it programmed by a locksmith or car repair shop. Some models allow you to program the new key yourself as long as you have two originals on hand, but you'll still need to have the mechanical portion of the key cut. If you get locked out of your car, many automotive locksmiths (like those dispatched by roadside assistance) can copy your key onsite, saving you the cost of a tow.

What if I don't have a spare to make a copy of my lost or stolen key?

If you don't have a spare key for making a copy, a car locksmith or the dealer can likely still create a copy by referencing the car's key code or VIN. However, this may be more expensive than replacing the key from a copy.