Last Updated on May 20, 2024 by Kristin

You’ve checked your pockets, purse and jacket, and can’t find the rental car key fob. Now what? Losing the component that provides you keyless entry into the car via radio signal doesn’t have to derail a vacation. Here’s what to do if you lose your rental car key fob.

What to Do When You Realize the Fob is Missing

Realizing you’ve lost your rental car key fob can be stressful, but here are some steps to help make finding it or replacing it easier.

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Step One: Look Everywhere. The first step when you think you’ve lost your car’s key fob is not to panic. Check to see if the key fob might be locked in the car. While not ideal, this is preferrable to the fob being genuinely lost.

Step Two: Call Roadside Assistance. If you’ve searched high and low for your rental car key fob to no avail, it’s time to call the rental car company’s roadside assistance hotline for help. With the car make and model, the agent should be able to provide options. In a best-case scenario, the company might be able to quickly help you get a replacement key or fob or help you remotely enter the car. If not, they may call a locksmith or arrange for you to use another vehicle.

How Much Will Another Key Fob Cost?

If you lose a key fob when renting, you can typically expect to pay the rental car company’s rates for any replacement equipment and service charges. If you purchased extra emergency coverage, you may not have to pay anything.

The fee for for replacing a rental car key fob varies, depending on the rental company. Customers who have lost their fobs report spending $250 or more plus towing costs depending on the car model and rental company. Even if you were able to get a replacement key made, the rental company will charge you for the lost fob.

How to Save on a Replacement Key Fob

This is one of those situation where purchasing the rental car company’s extended roadside assistance pays off, as the cost often includes replacement keys.

Rental Company Roadside Assistance

If you purchased extended or premium roadside assistance services from the rental company, it should cover most or all of the cost of losing your keys. This service may be more expensive than the standard roadside assistance service, but likely still less expensive than the costs associated with losing a key fob.

Here are some examples of these premium services:

Avis: Avis offers a lockout service through its Extended Roadside Assistance program that includes arranging replacement keys.

Dollar: Dollar’s Premium Emergency Roadside Service covers lost key services.

Enterprise: Enterprise’s Roadside Assistance Protection (RAP) covers lost keys.

Hertz: Those who purchase Hertz’s Premium Emergency Roadside Assistance will have someone help get them to the Hertz office in the case of a lockout or lost key incident.

Sixt: Sixt says that purchasing its extended roadside protection service can help customers avoid service charges for lost keys.

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Third-Party Roadside Assistance

If the rental company requires you to call a tow truck or suggests calling a locksmith to replace the key, you may be able to avoid some of these costs by using roadside assistance or lockout services from AAA or your credit card. If you have third-party coverage, mention it to the rental car company and ask what the options are. Note that while these roadside assistance services may cover service charges including towing, you will likely still be on the hook for the cost of replacing the key fob at the price the rental car company sets.

Car Rental 24/7 Roadside Assistance Hotlines

  • Alamo: US/Canada 800-803-4444
  • Avis: US/Canada 800-354-2847
  • Budget: US/Canada 800-354-2847
  • Dollar: US 800-235-9393; Canada 877-354-5391
  • Enterprise: US/Canada 307-6666
  • Hertz: US/Canada 654-5060
  • Enterprise: US/Canada 307-6666
  • National: US/Canada 367-6767
  • Payless: US/Canada 800-PAYLESS (729-5377)
  • Thrifty: US/Canada 877-283-0898