Shelter is one of the three basic human necessities, so not being able to access your home can be a deeply unpleasant experience. But if you do find yourself locked out, don’t panic. You will find a solution. Here we list some possible methods of accessing your home - including using any home emergency cover you have.
It sounds obvious, but go through all your pockets, bags and handbags thoroughly. If you're with family members or friends, double check they don't have the keys. Check your car's seats and floors if applicable. Traveled by bus or taxi? Give them a call to see if you left your keys. Then go over where you’ve been and think where you might have left them. If you've just visited a restaurant or a friend, for example, call them to check. If it’s feasible, physically retrace your route and see if you can find them.
Chances are your home's doors and windows are locked. But it's worth checking. No doubt you'll know your home inside out - is there a top floor window likely to be unlocked? Could you access your front door - or keys hanging inside - via the cat flap or letter box? These are long shots, but they might be possible. With any of these options, never put yourself at risk from a fall or other injury.
Perhaps you left a spare set of keys with a relative? Or is there a spare key hidden outside in a plant pot that you forgot about?
Most people, of course, have no experience with picking locks. However, if you can borrow a coat hanger from a neighbour, you may be able to jimmy the lock open - especially if it is an older lock. You might also try jamming an (unimportant) plastic card between the door and frame - and give it a jiggle. This only has a chance of working with a spring latch. You could also hit the lock mechanism with the card. If you try this, don’t give up at the first attempt - it could take some time. If a deadbolt is present and locked, these methods won’t work.
This is probably not a feasible option for most people. But if it's an emergency, it's worth considering. If you can access the required tools (hammer and screwdriver) you could take the knob/handle off the door.
Alternatively, you might be able to access the inside handle by breaking a side window. However, this is not advisable due to the risk of being injured.
You may be able to access a window by removing the beading with a screwdriver. Use a screwdriver to carefully prise open a window pane. Gently work between the mounting and the glass. Newer windows may be more difficult to access.
In an extreme situation you might consider taking the door off its hinges. You should have someone to help you if you take this course of action. Take a nail and hammer it upwards to dislodge the hinge pins. If your hinges are on the inside, however, this won't be possible.
If you have them, you may be able to jump a patio door off its hinges using a screwdriver. Take very good care the door does not fall - as it may cause injury; and it may be damaged.
The above options may be too much work or inappropriate for most homeowners. In this situation, most people enlist the expertise of a locksmith, who will be able to access your home with relative ease. When you no longer have access to your home, the locksmith's fees might seem cheap at twice the price.
Here at startrescue.co.uk we cover our Home Emergency policy holders for loss or theft of keys - if they are the only available set and they cannot be replaced. This protection is just one of a number included in our Home Emergency Cover - including blockages and damage to drains/plumbing; failure of domestic power/gas supply; certain pest infestations.