No one wants to be locked out of their own home. Hiding a spare key somewhere on your property can help prevent potential lock-outs from happening, but it may also pose a threat to your home’s security if the key is too easy to find.
Before you purchase a hide-a-key, you’ll want to determine the type of device you’ll need—considering how it works with your home, landscaping, and security needs.
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1. Weigh your options
Before purchasing and hiding a spare key, it’s good to know what all your options for home security are. A hide-a-key is an inexpensive purchase and works great if you’re just looking to prevent potential lockouts on a day-to-day basis.
That being said, you can also prevent lockouts by installing a keypad or keyless lock system, which removes the key from the equation altogether, providing one less avenue for thieves to exploit. This is more expensive, however, and is not entirely foolproof either, so consider your options carefully.
2. Purchase a hide-a-key
If you’re set on hiding a key, the next step is to have a spare made and purchase the container you’ll hide the key in. The market for hide-a-keys is actually quite expansive, so you’ll have plenty of options to choose from, ranging from simple magnetic boxes to full-on replica house and lawn fixtures.
Some of our favorite designs include:
- The classic fake rock
- The replica sprinkler head
- The outdoor thermometer with hidden compartment
- The magnetic hide a key
- The fake drain cap
3. Find a place to hide it
When it comes time to hide your spare key, you’ll want to avoid those spots we’re all familiar with, such as under the doormat, under a statue or flowerpot by the door, in the mailbox, etc. If these were the first places you thought of, chances are they’re the first places a would-be thief might check as well.
Instead of hiding your key in one of these overused locations, try:
- In a fake rock that blends in with its surroundings
- Under a loose brick in a footpath or walkway
- In a small box under a front or back porch
- Inside a doghouse or an unused birdhouse
- Under a fake drainage cap in a rock garden
- In a fake spigot or sprinkler head in the yard
These hiding spots will make your keyless conspicuous for potential thieves.
4. Make sure it’s well hidden
Once you’ve settled on a good spot, make sure the hiding place is well-disguised. If it’s under a loose stone or brick, make sure you’ve re-aligned and seated the stone correctly so it’s not obvious which one it’s under.
If you decide to go with a fake rock, make sure it doesn’t stand out or look out of place with those surrounding it. Similarly, replica features like the fake spigot and drain cap should be installed in places where they would logically be.
Even a well-hidden key isn’t 100% foolproof, and there’s always a chance it may be found by someone with real intent to break into your home. It’s recommended that homeowners have more than one security measure protecting their property, so you may want to look into purchasing a doorbell or security camera to help monitor your home.
Does home insurance cover a break-in?
Yes, homeowners insurance covers break-ins. All homeowners policies provide personal property protection, and theft is included in the list of
named perilsthat insurance providers recognize as a threat to your home and belongings.
When it comes to break-ins, most policies will include personal property, dwelling, and other structures coverage, which helps pay for or repair any damage sustained to your home, belongings, or detached structures during a break-in.
That being said, all policies have conditions. The actual amount your insurance company will pay towards a covered claim depends on what the coverage limit is and if a deductible is attached to the coverage. Consult with your insurance agent for details specific to your policy.
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Where should I hide a key outside?
When hiding a key outside, avoid common locations like underneath a doormat or potted plant—spaces such as these are usually the first places thieves check, which defeats the purpose of hiding a key. Instead, try hiding your key in a fake rock, inside a brick, in a fake sprinkler head, in a birdhouse, or a small box affixed to the underside of your porch.
Do I need to hide a spare key?
While no one is going to force you to hide a spare key outside, doing so may come in handy if you or a family member accidentally lock yourselves out of the house. A hidden key allows for quick re-entry, without having to worry about forcing or picking the lock—which could damage it—or needing to call a locksmith, saving you time and money. It’s also cheaper than installing a security system or smart lock.