When you lose your house keys, the natural first reaction is to retrace your steps to see if you can find them. But if those minutes or hours of anxious searching fail to yield positive results, the next thing you will think about is how you can get into your home.
If the locks on your door are any good, breaking into the home should not be an option. That leaves you with two possibilities; replace the lock or rekey it. Which one should you do? The right option depends on several things and this post will help you sort them out.
Should you replace a lost key or rekey it?
Here are the things you should consider to make the decision.
● How did you lose your keys?
If the keys were lost in circumstances where they can easily be traced to your property, you should definitely replace the lock. This can happen if the key has some identifying marks that connect it to you or the key was stolen along with a bag or wallet containing your ID.
In situations like this, you are not dealing with a simple matter of gaining access to your home, you also have to think of your security, warns Whole Management Team. On the other hand, if there is no way to trace the lost keys back to your home, rekeying should be enough.
● Was it a master key?
If the key you lost is a master key, the risks associated with the loss are multiplied. A master key will give anyone who has unrestricted access to every part of your home. But, as stated before, if the key does not have any identifying marks or was not stolen along with your ID, the risk of this happening is slim.
However, you should know that you are dealing with far bigger risks when you lose a master key. If you have any doubts at about the probability of the keys being linked to you, please replace your locks.
● Do you have spare keys?
If you have spare keys, you probably won’t be in the situation where you would need to read this. But it is also possible to have spare keys and not have access to them. For instance, if the spare keys are locked inside the home you are trying to gain access to, the spare keys are of no use to you.
But, if the spare keys are in a different location, that is different. If you can access the location where they are kept or contact the person who has them, your problem has resolved itself.
● What will it cost?
What is the cost of rekeying the lock versus replacing it? Quite naturally, it will cost more to replace the lock than it will cost to rekey it.
However, the cost should not be limited to the actual dollar amount you pay; there are hidden costs to consider (You will see this when I explain the other implications of a lost key later.)
Besides, you should never make security decisions based solely on the cost of the items or services you are buying. If you do that, you may unintentionally compromise your own security.
● Do your locks need upgrading?
If your locks are outdated or insufficient for your current security needs and you have been thinking of upgrading them, this is an opportunity to do it. Or, if the keys are functional but you have experienced difficulties when using them, you can use this chance to deal with that problem.
Doing this now will save you from spending twice to solve the same problem. Instead of rekeying a lock, you will eventually replace it, just replace the lock. However, if you already have high-security locks installed, there is no sense in replacing the locks.
● Has this happened before?
If you have lost your keys in the recent past, replacing your locks is the better option. That’s because replacing your locks gives you the chance to switch to a keyless lock system. That way you completely eliminate the possibility of losing your keys in the future.
Additionally, if you lose your keys often, the probability of one of those lost keys being traced back to you increases. Replacing your locks ensures that even if someone finds the key and tries to access your home with it, they will be unable to.
● Your home insurance
Some home insurance policies will not pay out on a claim if someone burgles your home using a key you lost. A lost key can affect your home insurance. This is one of the costs you should consider before making a decision on whether to rekey or replace a lock.
If the policy will not be affected by the loss of your keys, then you can rekey the lock without any fear of violating the terms of your insurance.