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Stolen car key issues

by Diana
(San Jose, CA)

My friend’s car was broken into and my car key was inside and was stolen. I called my insurance Unitrin and they said they cannot pay to get a replacement key.

AAA, my friends insurance, said they are supposed to. What is the truth?


Hello Diana,

Chances are that Unitrin does owe for the key, but it depends on what coverages you have and what exactly your policy reads.

If you carry comprehensive, this would be considered a theft, and would be covered (subject to policy language). However, if you only carry collision or liability, this probably is not covered.

If you do carry collision, you need to take a look at your policy carefully and see what is the actual language. To learn how read a policy, please see:

The auto policy usually reads “we will pay for damage to your auto and it’s equipment.” The keyword you would be looking for is equipment. The key is part of the equipment of the vehicle and it is owed for.

The second and bigger issue will be the fact that most keys are not expensive enough to be over your deductible. Even if you have a low deductible, $100, a replacement can but anywhere from $70 to $100 (below the deductible, which the insurance company would not pay anyway). This is of course subject to other variables like how expensive of a key you have (some keys have transmitters, remote start, window controls, keyless, etc) which can make the replacement more expensive. For some luxury vehicles, the bills can be higher.

At any rate, some insurance companies will go as far as rekeying the entire vehicle. Some insurance companies will not pay for this some will. You can argue it. Remember that you have a duty to mitigate your damages, please see: which means that you must do everything reasonably possible to avoid a bigger loss. If your key is stolen, does not that mean that someone could take your car? The insurance company must help you mitigate your damages.

I hope this helps

Good Luck

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