Lost rental car keys can be a major hurdle during your trip. Even if you’re near the rental car location, they may not have an extra set of keys for you to use. There are a few different ways to navigate this unfortunate situation, but they will require some waiting on your part, as well as some sort of fee. But it’s totally possible to get those lost rental car keys replaced so you can move on with your day. Here are some tips on how to handle the situation and what to expect each step of the way.
What to do if you lose your rental car key
Once you realize that your keys are missing, you have a couple of different options to get back in the car and on the road.
Step 1: Check your rental agreement
Before you pick up the phone, first check your rental agreement to see how the company handles lost rental car keys. You may be responsible for a fee if you don’t have additional insurance that covers extra keys being made. An older key may not be as expensive to replace, but newer key fobs can cost a couple hundred dollars. And if you received (and lost) a pair of keys, you’ll be charged that fee for both, essentially doubling the amount of money you have to pay. Details vary depending on your rental car company and what type of extra services you paid for at the time of rental, so it’s important to check your agreement so you know exactly what to expect.
Step 2: Call roadside assistance
Most rental car companies have a roadside assistance phone number that you can call if you need help. However, each company has its own policy about how this works. Some offer a basic hotline and then charge more for a premium service, often as a daily rate, while others include full-service support. If you didn’t opt in for roadside assistance, you can still call the number and get help. You may just need to pay extra for the service, which is well worth the cost when you’re stranded without a way to get into or start your car.
Step 3: Go to a dealership
If roadside assistance from your rental company has a long wait or isn’t available for some reason, you could go to a local dealership for your type of car. This is definitely the most expensive option, but is good to have as a last resort. You do, however, have to demonstrate some type of proof of ownership of the vehicle. Even though you don’t own the car, you should have some documentation that you are responsible for the car. When it comes to cost, just as with roadside assistance, it will depend on the type of key you need replaced and how many. The newer and more digitized the key, the more expensive it will be.
Why rental car keys don’t separate
When you first pick up your car, you may notice that you actually receive two rental car keys attached together. Since they don’t separate, you can’t keep a spare to use in case you lose one, nor can you split them up between two drivers. That may seem counterintuitive; after all, if you lose one key, you lose them both.
The reason rental car companies provide you with two attached keys is simply to keep all of the vehicle’s components together. One-way reservations are common; a lot of drivers rent a car in one city, then drop it off in another. In order to keep those keys together across multiple cities, the rental car company entrusts them with the driver. Otherwise, rental car counters would have spare keys to cars that aren’t nearby and likely won’t be for some time.
Losing your rental car key can be a hassle, but it’s not the end of the world. Before you book your reservation, check out what kind of policies and roadside assistance benefits each rental car company offers. Every Avail reservation is protected by Allstate insurance and includes 24/7 roadside assistance and customer service, so you always have access to the help you need. Book your next rental car with Avail for a smooth experience.