Whoís got your keys? ñ over one million Brits admit to losing track of their spare set of keys

New research(1) from Sainsbury’s Home Insurance reveals that over a million British householders admit to having forgotten to retrieve spare sets of keys or, just as worryingly, say they can’t remember if they have retrieved them or not. Despite the fact that for most people, our homes along with their contents are our biggest financial assets, spare sets could still be residing with exes, cleaners, builders or even previous tenants. Indeed there are some half a million or more people that admit to not even knowing the precise number of spare sets of keys that exist for their property. Overall, the research estimates that there could be over 100 million sets of spare keys for British homes in circulation.

The findings indicate that the average British household has four spare sets of keys. The main holders of these spare sets of keys are children including those that have flown the nest (27%), followed by another non-resident family member such as parent (25%) and also neighbours (11%).

Table showing distribution of spare set of keys:

Group / people(1) Percentage (of total number of spare sets) Estimated number of spare sets
Children (of household) 26.9% 27.28m
Other family (not household) 25.2% 25.49m
Next-door neighbours 10.6% 10.72m
Ex-spouse / partner 10.3% 10.45m
Friends 8.8% 8.91m
Boyfriend / girlfriend (non-owner of the property) 3.6% 3.62m
Cleaner 3.2% 3.26m
Home help / care assistant 2.1% 2.16m
Lodger 2.1% 2.09m
Builders / tradesmen 1.6% 1.62m
Window cleaner 1.4% 1.43m
Estate agents 1.3% 1.35m
Other 2.8% 2.87m
Total 101.2m

Neil Laird, Sainsbury’s Home Insurance Manager, comments: "Almost 700,000 homeowners admit that they have not collected spare sets of keys from ex-neighbours or tradesmen or others. Although it’s sensible and often necessary to leave a spare set of keys with a trusted person to gain access to your property, it’s concerning to see just how many homeowners have completely lost track of who could have access to their home."

"If you don’t take reasonable care of your property, including keys, you could potentially invalidate your insurance. If you have any concerns as to the whereabouts of a set of household keys, then the safest measure is always to have your locks changed."
Sainsbury’s Home Insurance includes a free key recovery service that provides a key ring to the customer, which offers a £10 reward if any lost keys are handed in, extra key rings are also available free on request. Additionally, Sainsbury’s provides cover for replacing lost house keys and any accidental damage to locks of outside doors, safes and alarms in your home.

Notes:
(1) Based on Sainsbury’s Finance analysis of data from GfK NOP. 1,000 people were interviewed by GfK NOP between 30th May and 1st June 2008. Interviews were conducted over the phone. The consumer omnibus research conducted by GfK NOP uses a large sample size that reflects the demographic profile of GB. Given this it is possible to extrapolate figures and make projections from the research results within appropriate confidence intervals.

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