What To Do If You Lose Your Rental Car Keys

You've finally made it to the hotel at your destination. It's been a long day of travel and, after unpacking a little bit, all you want to do is grab some food and then relax. You get up from the hotel bed and go to grab the keys only to realize they're not on the dresser. You search your bag, and when they're not there either, a sense of panic arises as your heartbeat quickens and your thoughts start racing. Soon, you're tearing the hotel room apart, lifting covers, moving chairs, checking drawers, all in hopes of finding the missing keys. You can't find them. What will it cost you and what will you do now?

The answer to that question includes contacting your rental car agency first. The initial question is a little bit more complicated and depends on the company you rented with and what coverage you have. Understanding your options for coverage when renting a car is can be the difference between keeping your funds and breaking your bank in this situation.

Coverage and fees

After you realize your keys are missing, do your best to ground yourself, you'll figure something out. You aren't the first person who's misplaced their rental car keys and you won't be the last. Next, you can call your rental car company. They might have a spare, otherwise, they'll help you brainstorm solutions. "With the modernization of cars, solving this problem for most of our vehicles is fairly easy," owner of Reno Tahoe Rental Car Nick Sorrentino told the Washington Post. "We can log on to the relevant app, unlock the vehicle and, in many cases, even start the vehicle."

If you're not so lucky and don't have a digitized option, there's still hope. This, though, is where your rental car insurance/coverage comes into play. Some places charge a flat rate for key replacements, others have a fee that depends on the key, and others have fees — or a lack thereof, meaning you aren't charged extra — based on the plan you chose. For example, Hertz charges a flat fee for those who chose to forego their upgraded coverage, and those who did opt for it don't have to pay a penny.

Your trip isn't ruined

Alternatively, you can immediately call the roadside assistance phone number you got when you picked up the car. They'll be able to either send help or guide you through your next steps. One important thing to note is that there will likely be fees. Some roadside assistance is included with your coverage plan, while other times it's not and will require additional service fees.

After you've called the rental agency and/or roadside assistance, you should have a plan to follow. This may look like having the car towed back to the rental company, getting a locksmith to get you into your car, or going directly to the rental car company to pick up a replacement key.

Regardless of what the course of action is, you'll have to be patient and likely pay a little bit extra. With that being said, losing your keys does not mean that your trip is entirely ruined. Your wallet might be a little bit tighter than planned, but that doesn't mean you can't have any fun.