What to do When You Lock Your Keys in Your Car

My keys are locked out of my car. What should I do?

Locking your keys in your car is a hassle that most of us have experienced at some point. Before you resort to breaking windows, remember that you have several options if you lock your keys in your car. The next steps after being locked out of your car might involve calling roadside assistance, using an app to unlock the doors or having a friend or family member with a spare key come help you out, depending on the situation. In this article, we’ll walk you through what to do when you lock your keys in your car so you can get back on the road as soon as possible.

Who should I call to unlock my car?

Before calling someone to unlock your car, the first step is to make sure you’re safe. If you feel you’re in danger, or if there are any children or pets in the car who can’t unlock the doors, call 911. The police will arrive quicker than most other services and can help you get back into your vehicle if your pet or child is locked inside. Being locked out can be overwhelming, so if it happens to you, take a deep breath and think about these options:

  • Spare key. Does a friend or family member have a spare key to your car? If so, they might be able to come let you into your vehicle and get you back on your way. 
  • App or service. Newer cars sometimes have an app that allows your phone to serve as a key to your vehicle (though, this has to be set up ahead of time). A car maker’s subscription emergency service might also be able to remotely unlock your car, if equipped.
  • Roadside assistance. If you participate in a roadside assistance club or your insurance company provides it as a perk for members, this could be a cheap and easy way to regain access to your car. Roadside assistance usually has a limit to the number of times it can be used a year, so make sure you know your policy.
  • Tow truck or locksmith. Many tow truck companies can help with lockouts. A locksmith will help you get to your keys, and possibly even be able to make you an extra key for the vehicle right then and there.

What can I do to prevent being locked out of my car in the future?

If you have ever dealt with a car lockout, you probably want to avoid being in that situation again. Keep these tips in mind to prevent being locked out of your car.

  • Always lock doors from the outside. Make it a habit to start locking the doors only from the outside of the car using the key. 
  • Attach your keys to something. You can use a keychain, a carabiner, a lanyard or anything else easy to hold on to, so you’ll be less likely to leave it in a seat or cupholder.
  • Invest in spare keys. Whetheryou keep a physical copy of your key in your bag or wallet, or you subscribe to your manufacturer’s app to set up a virtual key, it is a good idea to make sure there is always another way to access your car.

Lockouts may be covered by your insurance if you have roadside assistance coverage, so it’s a good idea to review your auto insurance policy to find out if that service is available to you. While roadside assistance won’t keep you from being locked out of your car, it can make the situation easier to handle should it happen.

FAQs about Car Lockouts

There are many questions you may have regarding car lockouts. Here are some FAQS to help you.

  • Where can I get a spare key made for my car? An auto retailer that sells your car make is a good place to start if you need a new key. Some hardware stores will also offer key replication services. Your auto dealership might even be able to use your VIN number to make you a temporary key that can open the doors (but not start the engine) during a lockout. 
  • How long does a car unlocking service take? It typically only takes a few minutes to actually unlock the car, but you’ll want to check with the service company to see how long it will take the technician to arrive at your location.
  • Will an unlocking service damage my car? No, there will be no damage to your car during the unlocking process if you use a professional locksmith, tow service or roadside assistance provider. 
  • Can I use a slim jim tool or coat hanger to unlock my car myself? If you use these tools incorrectly, there is a chance you could damage your car, which could cost you money in repairs. It’s best to call a professional.
  • How much does it cost to have a locksmith unlock my car? Most lockout services will run $60-$200, depending on how far the technician traveled, the time of day and supplies used.

Want to update your auto insurance to include roadside assistance coverage? SelectQuote can help.

Locking your keys in your car can be stressful, but having the right insurance coverage can make all the difference. If you don’t currently have roadside assistance coverage with your auto insurance plan, but are interested in finding out more, SelectQuote can help. We have more than 35 years of experience helping customers save money while shopping for insurance. Our licensed insurance agents can quickly search multiple highly-trusted carriers in just minutes and help you easily and quickly update your coverage to include roadside assistance.

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