Losing access to your mailbox is never fun.
Mailbox keys that go missing – either because they were accidentally lost, misplaced, forgot in about come or even stolen – can cause a world of headache and hassle.
Not only are you going to have to go through the process of reporting these keys missing. But you’re also going to have to go through the process of getting replacement keys and potentially even having a locksmith re-key or re-lock your mailbox.
Like we said a moment ago, it’s not a lot of fun.
Thankfully, though, armed with the inside information below you’ll be able to navigate this stressful process a lot easier.
We shine a light on everything you need to do to get your mailbox secured again, to get new keys for your mailbox, and to make sure that this kind of situation never happens again.
Ready to get right into it?
Let’s do this!
I Think I Lost My Mailbox Key – Now What?
There are a couple of things you need to do if you think that you’ve lost your mailbox key, with the first thing being a double check to see if they’ve only been misplaced.
Things get really stressful when we think our keys have gone missing.
It’s not hard to get “tunnel vision” in these circumstances. We start to look at things differently, glancing over objects that would have otherwise jumped out like they were radioactive if we were in our right mind.
You want to slow things down, deliberately and methodically searching everywhere you would have put your mailbox keys to confirm that they are in fact lost.
Plenty of folks are surprised to discover that keys they thought were lost for good were just hiding somewhere, stuck somewhere that they aren’t usually placed, or tucked away or had slid somewhere unexpected.
It’s important to retrace your steps. Really take your time, breathing deliberately the whole way through so that you don’t get the tunnel vision we mentioned a moment ago.
You’ll know rather quickly (inside of about 15 or 20 minutes, even with deliberate searching) that your keys were either misplaced and have been found or are outright missing.
Am I in Trouble for Losing My Mailbox Key?
No, you shouldn’t find yourself in a lot of hot water for losing your mailbox keys – it happens a lot more often than most people expect.
Obviously, there is going to be quite a bit of inconvenience from losing your keys, though.
You’re going to have to find a workaround to get your mail while your new keys can be produced or your new lock can be installed on your mailbox. You’re also going to have to jump through a couple of hoops to get your hands on new keys or a new lock – and that might not be a lot of fun.
At the end of the day, though, there isn’t a “punishment” that’s going to be handed down just because you lost your keys.
The inconvenience of being without your mailbox keys is almost always punishment enough!
Get a Hold of Your Post Office ASAP
If the keys that you have lost go to your USPS PO Box you’re going to need to get a hold of your local post office right away.
You might want to call them during normal business hours, let them know exactly what happened, and tell them that you are going to need to go through the replacement Key process.
At the same time, though, it might be a better idea to pop down to your local post office and see them in person about this situation.
You’ll be able to clearly explain exactly what happened and how you believe your keys went missing. You’ll also be able to get a head start on the key replacement process, too.
On top of that, you’ll actually be able to get your mail directly from your postal employees while your keys are missing.
It’s just a lot easier to go through this process in person, speaking face-to-face with postal employees than dealing with it any other way.
Request a New Set of Keys
The very first thing the employees at your local post office are going to tell you is that you have to go through the key replacement process.
Traditionally, the USPS gives you two different sets of keys so that you have a spare in the event of an accident like this – but they also clearly mark these keys not to be duplicated (under penalty of law).
They are going to want to know what happened to the spare set of keys that went missing as well and then they are going to go through the replacement process.
This means filling out USPS Form 1093. This is the standardized form from the post office that you’ll use no matter where you are – in Anchorage, Alaska or in Hoboken, New Jersey, it makes no difference – to get your new set of keys sent out to you.
You’ll also want to use this form if your post office keys become worn down, ineffective, or are outright damaged. The employees at your post office will walk you through this process from start to finish, though.
Pay the Replacement Key Fee
After you have filled out USPS Form 1093 you’ll have to pony up the replacement key price.
This is going to be little bit different depending on a couple of different factors.
The location of your mailbox (whether you live in a more rural or suburban area versus a more densely populated urban area), the size of your mailbox, and even your local region can have an impact on how much replacement keys cost you from the USPS.
As a general rule of thumb, though, you should expect to have to pony up around $10 per set of replacement keys – and it’s almost always a good idea to request two sets of keys for sure.
You’ll want to have backups to guarantee that these keys don’t go missing again in the future.
The cost of your new replacement keys covers a couple of things, including:
- The lost keys themselves
- The labor costs for the maintenance individual or locksmith that cuts the new keys
- The time necessary to complete this project
At the end of the day, though, very rarely will you have to spend any more than $15-$20 on a set of replacement PO Box keys.
This is still pretty expensive (especially since most folks can have replacement keys for their house or car cut for them for about four bucks or so), but that’s the price you’ll have to pay all the same.
Ask USPS Workers for Your Mail While Your Keys are Being Made/Sent
Finally, the odds are pretty good you are still going to have mail coming to you while your new keys are being made and sent to you.
You’ll want to double check with USPS employees at your local post office that it’s okay for you to pop down every day (or every few days) to retrieve your mail from them.
The odds are good they’ll continue to put mail in your mailbox even while your keys are “out of commission”. But they should be able to retrieve that mail for you when you visit them at the counter.
Give them a heads up when your keys arrive so that they know that they shouldn’t expect you to come by any longer, especially if they have been holding your mail for you separately.
This is part of the minor annoyance of having to deal with lost mailbox key issues – but in the grand scheme of things it’s a (very) minor annoyance all the same.
My Mailbox Isn’t Run by the USPS – Now What?
What if you have lost mailbox key problems that do not have to do with the USPS, though?
What if your lost mailbox keys are from the mailbox room in your apartment complex or at the commercial property where your business or offices are?
Well, in that case the steps necessary for getting your new keys is going to be a little bit different – even if the overall outcome is pretty much the same.
Talk to the Front Desk
The very first thing you’ll want to do is speak to the front desk or the individuals that are responsible for the mailboxes, the mailroom, or the keys themselves.
You’ll want to clearly explain your situation, let them know that the keys you had are no longer in your possession, and you’re going to need to go through the steps of either re-keying or re-locking your mailbox.
Some places are going to do this out of their own pocket (at least the first time). Others are going to ask that you pay a small fee, at least picking up the fee for cutting new keys for your mailbox. And others still are going to ask that you cover the entire expense of resolving this problem out of your own pocket.
It’s really up to the arrangement that you and the individuals responsible for maintaining these mailboxes come up with.
Contact a Professional Locksmith
In the event that you actually have to pay for new keys (or new locks) for your mailbox you’re going to want to contact a professional locksmith to help you out.
These experts aren’t just going to be able to help you get into your otherwise locked out mailbox (retrieve in your mail that was secured away when your keys went missing), but there also going to help you resolve the problem, too.
Sometimes these experts can “pull” a lock and replace it without a lot of headache and without a lot of hassle. They’ll give you brand-new keys for your mailbox as well.
Sometimes these experts can even cut new keys for the existing lock, all without having to have their hands on the original keys themselves. That can save you a lot of time and a lot of money!
In more extreme situations, though, even the best locksmiths are going to have to go through a re-locking process.
This involves taking out the entire old lock, putting in a brand-new one, and basically upgrading the whole security system for that specific mailbox. Obviously, this is the most cost intensive and time intensive of all the solutions professional locksmiths will put in front of you.
Get a Duplicate Set of Keys ASAP!
No matter how a professional locksmith decides to tackle this project, though, you’ll want to make sure that you get a duplicate set of keys from them straightaway.
With private mailboxes you very rarely have to worry about the same kinds of legal issues that come with duplicating USPS mailbox keys.
It’s not a bad idea to duplicate the backup set of keys you’ve been given from this private mailbox service, either – just to make sure that you have a backup for your backup!
At the end of the day, it’s really all about making sure that you don’t ever have to go through this process again.
Never Worry About a Lost Mailbox Key Again with US Global Mail!
Of course, the best way to guarantee that you never have to worry about a lost mailbox key again is to move forward with a Virtual Mailbox from the folks at US Global Mail.
The premier modern mailbox solution for more than 20 plus years, US Global Mail handles all of your mail for you – envelopes, packages, parcels, etc. – while digitizing and scanning those pieces of mail in real time.
This means you’ll know exactly what hits your mailbox and when, can make executive decisions about what to do with that mail in the moment, all without having to physically handle it all yourself.
Combine that with the ability to forward mail to any address on the planet (for the most part) at up to 80% off of traditional retail prices, check depositing features, and improved security with a permanent street address you can use as your mailing address from here on out and US Global Mail becomes a bit of a no-brainer.
Check out their website today for more details!