The RAC breakdown service does not cover lost keys
I recently got locked out of my car on a Saturday evening in central London when my keys fell out of my pocket during an outdoor activity and could not be found.
I have had top-level AA cover (costing around £150 a year) for 20 years, and have used the service twice in that time.
So imagine my surprise to discover that all the AA would do for me was to call some local locksmiths and see if one could attend me, or if no locksmith could come, call a private recovery firm and have me towed somewhere, at my personal cost.
The Expensive 0800 number
I phoned the RAC 0800 828282 number which is printed on my membership card from my mobile phone and spent altogether £15 as the calls are at a much higher rate from a mobile. Since looking on the internet I find they have a mobile friendly number 0333 2000 999 which is not printed on the membership card.
Half an hour to get through.
I was left waiting on hold for half an hour to get through and then I was cut off.
They do not cover lost keys.
When I eventually spoke to someone they told me they do not cover lost keys. After pleading with them to help me they found a lock specialist to phone me who does not work at the weekends so that was a waste of time and they eventually arranged for my car to be taken home through their private contractor service which they charged me £190.
After 4 hours from my first call a private contractor arrived and my car was taken home...
Auto Locksmith in London
I have since found an Auto locksmith who could have easily got me into the car and supplied the necessary keys for less than the recovery cost. The Master Locksmith, 132 Green Lanes, Palmers Green N13 5UN and 183 Upper Street, Islington N1 1RQ 020 8886 6546 or 0781 0781 247, 24Hour Emergency Locksmiths, No-Call Out Charge London area only, Fast Response Usually 30 mins, If you live in London put his phone number into your mobile, you never know when you will need him..
Now why couldn't the RAC use these people?
When my RAC membership runs out I shall be going with one of their competitors;
Green Flag defines incidents covered by its rescue and recovery services as including situations where the car has been rendered immobile by the 'loss or breakage of vehicle keys', and will - unlike the RAC - cover the cost of transporting your car to the nearest garage (or to your destination) for further help. But it doesn't cover the cost of whatever the garage does to get your car open again or the cost of a locksmith if you choose to call one out.
Breakdown Direct also defines car key loss as a form of vehicle breakdown, and will also cover the cost of transporting your car plus its passengers to either your destination or your home in the event you lose your keys. But the big bonus is that its Nationwide Recovery policy includes £350 worth of free lockout cover - so if you lose your keys or lock them inside the car, you are covered for a locksmith's charges up to £350. You will have to pay the charges and then claim them back, but at least they are covered.