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Living & property

Lost keys – who pays?

The loss of your keys isn’t just annoying but can also be expensive. It is not, however, always necessary to change the locks straight away. If it is, the question arises of who is to pay. Helvetia expert Roland Bösch has all the info.

4 December 2017, author: Fabian Weidmann, photo: iStock

A set of lost keys lie on the ground.
The loss of your house keys makes you feel uneasy. It is not, however, always necessary to change the locks straight away.

People who lose the keys to their home often think immediately of changing the locks. However, this comes at considerable cost, which is why the question arises of who is to pay for it. First things first: if the key doesn’t have your name or address on it and isn’t lost locally, you don’t usually need to take any action. «It should be virtually impossible to assign the key to a home,» says Roland Bösch, Head Private Customers at Helvetia.

Scope of cover depends on the event

It’s a different picture if a key is taken during a burglary. In this case, costs for replacing locks are covered by household contents insurance. Helvetia will pay costs amounting to 20 per cent of the sum insured per event. «In the case of apartments in multi-family dwellings, the coverage only covers those locks that could be operated using the key in question,» explains Roland Bösch.

Disappearance of an employer’s key

Losing a key belonging to your employer is also unpleasant. Here too, it is only to be assumed that the key may be used improperly if there are clear references to the associated property on the lost key. «In this case, costs of up to 30,000 Swiss francs are covered by the private liability of the person responsible for the loss, provided that the latter has taken out the ‹entrusted business keys› supplement,» says Bösch.

If, on the other hand, a key is lost without any sufficient identifying features, improper use can usually be excluded. In this case, it is not necessary to change the locks, and the costs cannot be charged to the person responsible for the loss. It is, however, the responsibility of the latter to make the circumstances of the loss credible. Helvetia provides passive legal protection for claims of this kind and wards off unjustified claims.

Current value: 30 years

The amount of the loss is, incidentally, measured not by the new value but by the current value. The lock on the door of a house or apartment has a lifespan of 30 years. If it is replaced after 15 years, the person responsible for the loss only has to pay half of the costs.

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