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Loss of keys and remote access devices

All specialised communal property building insurance policies provide material damage cover for the insured property together with public or property owners’ liability cover. In terms of the specialised nature of these insurance policies, numerous other insurance sections and cover extensions are added to the policy. One such extension is the inclusion of limited cover for the loss of keys and remote access devices such as electronic gate cards, discs or remote controls.

The extended cover for these items does not provide a blanket indemnification for all circumstances under which any of these items are lost or stolen. In terms of most policies, the loss of the keys or devices must be as a result of an incident involving force or violence. Simply misplacing your keys will not be considered as a loss in terms of the insurance policy wording; therefore, such a claim will not be paid. Under most policies, the intend of the cover is to offer compensation where keys or locking devices are lost or stolen.

In a recent incident suffered by a client, their keys were lost when a bag was stolen from their vehicle in a public space. It is understood that the vehicles alarm system was jammed remotely as the driver exited and locked the vehicle. In this instance, there is no confirmation of force in accessing the vehicle or violence against the person holding the keys. In addition, the loss did not occur at the insured premises. The claim was rejected.

Some specialist insurance policies will further limit their cover extension by providing cover for specific doors and access points only. In these policies, loss of keys for doors to individual sections of the buildings is not included. In all policies, loss of keys for internal unit or section doors is generally not covered.

Where cover is available, most policies will provide cover for the reasonable replacement or recoding of the key or locking device. Repairs to damaged built-in locking devices is claimable under the material damage section of the cover.

Care must be taken by communal property schemes to inform their members and residents that any loss of keys including the consequence thereof is not necessarily covered under their insurance policy. The cover provided under the specialised communal policies is an extension with limited indemnification intended to offer some relief in an otherwise difficult situation. It does not guarantee full compensation whenever keys are lost or stolen.


Author: Bruce Gibson

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