How much are your keys really worth?

Home insurance brand esure has warned people to be more vigilant with their personal belongings after new research found that the average bunch of keys unlocks an estimated fortune of over £28,000 and two fifths of Brits (43%) have lost their keys in the past month alone.

According to the findings, almost one in five Brits (18%) misplace their house or car keys at least once a day and despite recent figures showing that nearly 800,000 homes were broken into between 2011 and 2012.  Also, almost half of British homeowners surveyed (48%) admit they have never bothered to change the locks after moving into a new home. The research found that 51% of homeowners are more concerned at the thought of losing their purse or wallet than they are their keys.

Even though the average home contents comes to a value of more than £16,000, a quarter of Brits (25%) said they had never considered the value of the items their keys unlock, while 23% of Brits don’t know what all of the keys on their key-ring are for. One in four Brits carry as many as two “mystery keys” among their bunch, with a further one in five having more than three unknowns.

Some 63% of Brits carry their car keys around with them during the day, with 10% also carrying keys for their desk too, and a further 8% carry keys for their bike locks.  13% of Brits carry keys for another home with them, five per cent also having a set of keys for their partners home, and over a quarter holding keys for their parents’ home.

When car keys go missing, Brits stand to lose an average of £11,000, with 28% of Brits spending over £12,000 on their wheels, and more than one in ten having splashed out as much as £20,000. Some 37% of those questioned also own two cars, with almost one in five of those people carrying both car keys on them at all times.

According to the research, despite 10%  of homeowners revealing that they keep a spare key hidden near their front door, one in ten Brits has locked themselves out of the house in the last six months, with one in five people having locked themselves out of the house in the last year.

Some Brits seem to see it as a challenge however, with almost a quarter of Brits (24%) having attempted to break into their own homes after getting locked out, but only 22% of those “break-ins” actually proved successful, with over 6% of those would-be cat burglars having injured themselves when attempting a break-in.

Overall, one in ten stubborn Brits who have found themselves locked out (10%) have thrown in the towel and actually called a locksmith – whereas only 6% of motorists have had to call a garage after locking themselves out of their car.

Nikki Sellers, Head of Home Insurance at esure, said: “Changing locks when moving house or after losing keys can be a hassle, but it is important to bear in mind the value of the items that can be at risk if your keys were to fall into the wrong hands.

“While we always recommend keeping a close eye on your keys, accidents do happen, so if you find yourself losing your keys, then changing the locks is an investment that will lead to greater peace of mind and help avoid a potentially unpleasant experience.”

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