By John Grant
I had a conversation over dinner the other night where someone was complaining how much it costs to replace their car keys that had been stolen. It was clear they had no idea their insurance policy would probably pay for the replacement keys. Car keys are getting more sophisticated and therefore expensive to replace.
An key for a 5 year old Audi A4 is around $300 to replace while a new Audi S5 key is nearly $500. Even a key for a Holden Astra can be around the $250 mark by the time the key is cut and the electronics are re-coded for the car. So having a key stolen can be an expensive problem. Most insurers have recognised this and have included cover for replacement keys in their policies. A number of the insurers will replace keys with no loss of your no-claims-bonus discount - some will even apply either no excess, or a reduced level of excess in these circumstances.
Nearly all insurers provide this cover for amounts of between $500 and $1,000, and in most cases no excess applies, and in a few examples there is no loss of no-claims-bonus. AMI is an exception, in that they have no specific wording in their policy for loss of keys or locks; this means that cover will apply but will be subject to the standard policy excess, and you will lose your no-claims-bonus. Treating it this way will probably make lodging a claim uneconomic.
The party that I spoke to over dinner had not contemplated lodging an insurance claim and was not aware he could. He was expecting to have to pay somewhere in the order of $500 for replacement keys. This is a very good example of the benefits of fully understanding your insurance policies, or have someone available to you that is aware of what you can claim for. Vist our policy coverage comparison pages here for a summary of the major policy features available under most car insurance policies available in New Zealand.