Published February 3, 2020|5 min read
Table of Contents
Renters insurance will cover the cost of replacing locks and keys if they are damaged or stolen due to a covered theft
Your landlord may cover the cost of replacing locks and keys if they are stolen or lost
The cost of a locksmith probably won’t exceed the cost of your deductible, so it may be better to pay out of pocket than to file a renters insurance claim
Your lease should outline when the tenant is responsible for locksmith services and when the landlord is responsible
Lock replacement coverage is included in the personal property protection provision of most renters insurance policies. However, you can only file a claim for a lock replacement if a covered theft takes place. Most landlords' own landlord insurance policies also include lock and key replacement, both for a covered theft and if you just lose the only keys and they need to replace the lock. That being said, it is probably easier to pay out of pocket for locksmith services rather than file a claim and pay your renters insurance deductible.
It’s not uncommon as a tenant to lock yourself out of your rental property. If you lock yourself out and you have a roommate, it’s usually not that big of a deal. But if you have to call a locksmith, sometimes their services can end up costing $200 to $300, depending on the incident.
If you have to call a locksmith after business hours it is also going to increase the cost of their services. Most property managers and landlords will have copies of keys to your property. If you are locked out because you lost your keys, you should contact your landlord (during business hours, ideally) to see if you can pick up a new set of keys or make a copy of their master key.
In your lease, there will probably be a provision about locksmith services or broken locks. Many landlords will pay for a locksmith, or charge you a small fee, if the incident takes place during business hours and if it's the first time you lock yourself out. If you can, you should try to check your lease and talk to your landlord before calling a locksmith or submitting a renters insurance claim for locksmith services.
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Renters insurance covers your personal property if it is stolen or damaged by perils like fire, smoke, vandalism, and lighting. Unlike regular property coverage, the cost of locksmiths to replace or fix locks and keys is only covered by renters insurance if the loss is caused by a covered theft. For example, say your rental property is broken into and your television, computers, and other personal property are all stolen and you file a theft claim with your renters insurance company. You may be able to include your lock and key in that claim because they will need to be replaced along with the rest of your personal belongings. If the claim is covered, then your renters policy will reimburse you up to your policy’s limit.
Your landlord is responsible for the property you are renting which includes locks, so more often than not, renters insurance will not cover the cost of locksmith services since a lock isn’t technically your personal property. But if a theft takes place, then your renters insurance coverage may reimburse the cost to get a new door lock or deadbolt put on an exterior door.
Renters insurance will not cover locksmith services if the lock or key is broken or damaged due to these incidents:
The lock is rusted or breaks due to general lack of maintenance *Insect or vermin damage
Flood, earthquake, or natural disasters
Locked car or roadside assistance
For example, if your key breaks off in your lock you won’t be able to file a renters insurance claim. Obviously, some landlords are more sympathetic than others, but many times they have their own locksmiths that they use and will probably provide you with a locksmith company and phone number to call.
Get a renters insurance quote without the confusion.
As the property owner, landlords have their own insurance policy to protect the physical structure of the unit you’re renting. Landlord insurance will cover the cost of replacing locks if the lock is damaged by a covered theft or if the tenant loses the only set of keys. Landlord insurance covers the physical rental property, but not your personal belongings.
If your rental is broken into, your landlord may file a landlord insurance claim to get reimbursed for any damage done to the building or property, including door locks and window locks. The landlord is responsible for the general maintenance of the building, which means they are responsible for making sure the locks don’t break down over time.
In your lease, there should be information about who is responsible for locksmith services and when. Quite often, landlords will charge you a small fee if you lose your keys and replacing them requires locksmith services. If it’s a more serious incident and the locksmith needs to fix or replace the whole lock, your landlord may deduct the cost of the locksmith from your rent.
Since renters insurance deductibles are usually $500 or $1,000 and locksmith services usually cost under $300, you’re probably better off paying the locksmith yourself (a deductible is the amount of money you have to pay out of pocket on a property loss claim before your renters insurance covers the rest). But before you shell out for a locksmith, see if your landlord will cover the cost of lockout or replacement services. If your apartment is broken into, you should first file a police report and then contact your landlord. Your landlord needs to be aware of the damage to their building and can help you safely secure your rental.
You should then file a theft claim with your renters insurance company. Most companies require you file a renters insurance claim within 24 to 72 hours of the incident. You should be able to provide your insurer with the following:
Your policy number or renters policy declarations page
A police report
Documentation of the damage (photographs, videos, receipts)
A phone number where you can be easily reached
Once you file your claim, your insurance company will assign you a claims adjuster who will investigate the theft claim. You should check with your insurance company to see how long they estimate the investigation will take. If your claim is accepted, you will need to first pay your deductible before your insurance company reimburses you for the remainder of the cost.