Question: I had my car keys and all personal information stolen from a LOCKED gym locker. My SUV was stolen, and I found it three days later, not police. Ford has to change all locks, keys, remotes and ignition for my truck so that it will not be taken again by the person that stole my keys. My insurance company (Travelers) says since there is no damage to the truck, which is true, they won’t pay to rekey it. Any advice how to resolve this problem?

Answer:  Your insurance company knows the terms of your specific policy, so if they say the rekeying isn’t covered by your comprehensive coverage, then you’re on your own.

Car insurance policies vary according to state laws and insurance companies’ guidelines. There are some auto insurance providers whose comprehensive coverage does pay for the cost to rekey cars and reprogram remotes, as a way to mitigate damages. These insurers have decided it’s better to pay now for the cost of rekeying to keep the thief from stealing the car again, which would probably result in much higher claims.   

Even in this situation, though, the car owner may end up paying for the rekeying the car if the comprehensive deductible is more than the cost to rekey the car. For instance, if it’s $400 to rekey the car and the deductible is $500, then the owner would be unable to make a claim and have to pay personally.

Other insurance companies, like yours, don’t pay for rekeying at all because, in general, car insurance only covers losses to the actual vehicle (by damages or being stolen), not peripheral items like a stolen key.

We agree it’s a wise step for you to change out your SUV’s locks and anything on the vehicle that the thief, who is still in possession of your keys and personal information, could use to take your vehicle again.

However, since your car insurance company already has told you that they won’t pay, you’re left paying out-of-pocket for this. If the police do find the person that stole your keys (and vehicle that you recovered), you can try to sue them for the money you are out.

We suggest contacting a Ford dealership to determine what exactly needs to be changed out (and the cheapest way to do so) to keep the thief from taking your car again with the stolen keys. And I hope you informed your gym and the police about the theft from the locker. It’s unlikely the gym will compensate you in any way, since normally gyms post that they are not responsible for your personal items, but they should be made aware of the situation.

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Penny Gusner
Consumer Analyst/Insurance Expert

Penny has been working in the car insurance business for more than 10 years and has become an expert on procedures, rates, policies and claims. She has seen it all, and working with from its inception, she researches the routine and the bizarre with equal enthusiasm. She has three very active children and a husband with a zeal for quirky cars.