A survey has found that motorists spend over £180m each year replacing lost car keys, with 1-in-20 admitting to losing them.

The poll, conducted by the RAC, also found that 43% of drivers regularly forget where they left their keys, with an average person spending 2 minutes 10 seconds each day searching for fobs. This amounts to over a half a day each year just searching for misplaced keys.

The survey, conducted with 2,000 motorists from the organisation’s ‘Opinion Panel’ also found that women were more likely to lose their keys, but men were more likely to lock them in the car.

1 in 20 drivers also admitted to permanently losing their keys, with 39% just making do with one fob when they lost the other. However, 54% of drivers bought a replacement key when they lost the original.

On average, it costs £176 to replace a key, but some sophisticated keyless entry units can cost as much as £500 to replace.

The motoring firm also delved into the action drivers took when losing their keys. 31% called on the help of a breakdown firm, 32% simply used their spare key, 20% opened the door in another way, 3% called a locksmith while another 3% took matters into their own hands and smashed a window to gain access to their vehicle.

RAC spokesman Pete Williams said: “When it comes to car keys the evidence suggests that we are a forgetful and careless bunch.

“With today’s sophisticated keys, including those fitted with transponders and remote devices, a replacement key can cost up to £500 – a not insignificant sum.”

For those concerned about losing keys, drivers can pay extra on their breakdown cover for the cost of replacements. These can be through firms such as the RAC as part of your breakdown insurance, while some car insurers automatically cover keys on policies. It’s worth checking to see what your insurance and breakdown policy includes.

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