Whether you have an apartment or a house: Losing a key is always irritating – and often expensive. Depending on the situation, much more than just the lost key may need to be replaced.
For many of us, losing a key is a nightmare. No matter how well we take care of them, keys still have a high risk of getting lost. Fresh snow, soft grass, and couch cushions swallow up such small items greedily and quietly.
You’re in front of your locked door and have gone through all of your pockets for the third time – but your key is nowhere to be found. Now what? First, try to stay calm. Then you can think more clearly:
If possible, you would probably go back to the place where you think it might be. If it is a shop, movie theater, university or a similar place, you can call and ask whether your key has been found. Maybe you have also left a spare key with a person you trust and can at least get into your home. If the key cannot be found, you are locked out. In this case, you have the following options:
Helper in a time of need or a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Unfortunately, reputable locksmiths are not a matter of course. Time and again, we hear about dubious companies who shamelessly exploit the dire situation of their customers. You should be careful if you see offers that look too good to be true: Prices below CHF 100 for opening a door in an emergency are hardly realistic. In the end, various hidden costs are usually also charged. Before you choose a company, it’s best to seek some quick advice – for example from the local police, your landlord, or your insurance. As a rule, they have lists with professional and trustworthy companies in your region.
If you are alone in making your decision, take the time to review the offer critically: Look for a company near you. Google the company carefully. Ask the person on the phone for their name and the company name and pay attention to how they conduct themselves and talk. Ask for the total costs, including any additional fees.
Professional locksmiths are useful but come at a price. For an emergency opening, you can expect costs of around CHF 300, and this is during normal working hours! For assistance in the evening, at night, or on the weekend, you will have to pay a surcharge. To make sure that they don’t end up with unpaid bills, locksmiths often request their fee on site, meaning that cash payments are standard and are not a sign you are being ripped off.
A lost house key is relatively inexpensive to reorder. It gets expensive if the lock has to be replaced. A lost key is especially difficult for tenants who need a replacement key for the house door, door to the entrance of the apartment building, basement key or key to the mailbox. Sometimes, landlords have to replace a number of locks – at worst, the entire key system. This can quickly lead to damage of several thousand francs.
In most cases, you do not actually have to change the lock. Instead, you can just replace the closing cylinder. And often that is only necessary if the lost key can be connected with a property. For example, if your wallet or personal correspondence were lost together with your home key. Or if lost the key in the immediate vicinity of your home. What if this is not the case and your landlord is still requiring the key system to be changed? In such instances, you as the tenant can intervene, or your insurance will probably do so.
As a tenant, you are responsible for the key – it was entrusted to you together with the apartment you are renting. This means that if you lose the key, you can usually report it your personal liability insurance. The costs covered are limited and you also pay a deductible.
For homeowners, key loss is normally not covered by personal liability insurance or household insurance.
With AXA, mishaps involving keys are covered by an optional module. Regardless of whether you are a tenant or a homeowner, or whether it is for your own home or a vacation home: In AXA’s supplementary coverage for “key loss,” the costs of emergency openings, locksmiths, and the changing of locks are included. Tip: Let AXA organize the emergency opening for you directly.
If you find a house or apartment key, you can simply put it in the next yellow post office box. The post office will send the key free of charge to a key company for it to be identified and returned to its owner. Key tags – which fraudulent companies often like to offer – are thus unnecessary.