Losing a key can either be a mild annoyance or a major disaster, depending upon what the key goes to. You have to worry about three things when you lose a key: first, the fact that you may not be able to immediately enter or use the object that the key unlocks (a door or car for example); Second, you have to worry about finding the key and if you cannot find it, you have to get it replaced; Third, you must worry that someone else is going to find the key and use it unscrupulously (like stealing your car, for example).
There is also the fact that keys are usually grouped together. Rarely does someone lose a single key. Keychains are usually pretty good at holding all of your keys together, so when you lose one key, you may have actually lost all of them.
So, how do you proceed when you know that you have lost a key? The first thing that you obviously want to do is backtrack and try to find it. This may be very easy or it might be impossible. For example, if you go into a store and you have lost your car keys while you are inside, you only have the store and the parking lot to check – not to mention the fact that there is at least a chance that someone will find them and turn them into the front counter.
If you cannot find your key and you have searched as much as possible, then it may be time to consider it lost. From here, you have to decide how you want to proceed. If you have access to another key and you need to immediately drive your car or get into the door, then you want to arrange to use that other key. If you do not have a key, then it may be time to call a locksmith.
A locksmith can help you with several things. First, they will likely be able to create a duplicate key if you already have one. If this is for a door or any lock that is not vehicle-related, this is by far going to be your least expensive option. If you not have a duplicate key, in some cases, the locksmith may be able to create one anyway.
But most of the time, if you do not have a duplicate, the locksmith will have to change your locks; this applies to doors rather than vehicles, which will be covered below. Since it is difficult to fashion a new key from an existing lock, the least complicated solution is just to have them install a new one.
If the key is for a vehicle, you may not need to have a new ignition or door locks installed. In fact, this is something that almost never happens because car manufacturers make sure that locksmiths have the tools to create new keys, even if they are transponder keys that need to be programmed.