Why You Shouldn’t Hide a Spare Key Outside — And What to Do Instead
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Home Security

Why You Shouldn’t Hide a Spare Key Outside — And What to Do Instead

By Ring on October 30, 2023

A spare key can be the perfect safety net if you get locked out of the house. But when it’s not safely stored away, your trusty spare may also pose a security risk. Here’s why hiding a spare key outside isn’t the best idea — and a few alternative ideas you can use in case of a lockout.

What Are the Risks of Hiding a Spare Key Outside?

Your friends and family members have one, and you may, too: a conveniently placed spare key that comes in handy for pet sitters, frequent visitors, and the occasional lockout. But just because hiding a spare key is common doesn’t mean it’s the best way to get emergency access to your home. If you know where to look for one, that means other people do, too.

Even the most clever hiding spots, like fake sprinkler heads or inside your grill, can be spotted and uncovered. And if you get too creative with your hiding spot, you may even forget its location when you need it. Luckily, there are less risky alternatives to spare keys that can help you and your guests get inside safely.

Alternatives to Hiding a Spare Key Outside

Ditching the spare key under your doormat doesn’t mean you’ll have to call a locksmith anytime you’re locked out. Here’s how you can safely store your spare — or get rid of it altogether.

Leave a Key With a Trusted Neighbor

Having neighbors doesn’t just come in handy when you need someone to get your mail or lend you a tool. You and your neighbors can also swap spare keys, so they are kept safe while still being accessible. If you’re locked out, you can knock on their door or send a quick text to see if they’re home.

If you aren’t yet on a first-name basis with your neighbors, you can trade spare keys with a family member who lives nearby. Getting your key in hand may take a little longer, but you’ll still have a way to get inside without calling a professional.

Use a Key Safe

Although it’s safer to keep spare keys locked inside, you can reduce the risk of someone accessing it with a key safe or lock box. Choose a secure container that requires a code to open, and use a combination that’s not easy to guess. Once your key is safely stored, place the lock box or key safe away from your front door for extra peace of mind. An inconspicuous spot, like under the back porch, can help keep your key concealed until you need it.

Install a Security System for Extra Peace of Mind

While a security system can’t help you get inside if you’re locked out, it can alert you if someone tries to get inside when you’re not expecting visitors. Ring Alarm Security Kits come with Contact Sensors for doors and windows that trigger the Base Station’s siren if someone opens one while the system is armed. With a Ring Protect subscription, sold separately, you’ll also get real-time notifications on the Ring App to keep you informed.1

With a connected Yale smart lock and a Ring Protect subscription, sold separately, you can also get notifications on the Ring App each time your door is locked or unlocked.1 And if you’re curious about past activity around your house, you can review your lock’s event history to see when people came and went.1

Go Keyless With a Smart Lock

The best way to ensure no one can find your spare key is to get rid of it completely. With a smart lock, you can unlock the door from your phone or use an access code — no keys necessary.

Some smart locks allow you to create temporary entry codes for people who need access to your home when you’re not there, like a contractor or family member staying in your guest room. That way, you never have to share your master code. You can also unlock the door remotely if someone texts or calls asking for access.

If you have a Ring video doorbell and a compatible Schlage Encode deadbolt or Level Bolt, you can even check who’s at the door and unlock it using Live View.1 And when you connect a Yale Real Living Assure Lock with a Ring Alarm security system, you can automatically unlock or lock the door when you put Alarm in Home or Away Mode, create guest codes in the Ring App, and use Alexa to check and change your lock’s status with a Ring Protect subscription, sold separately.1

Whether you’re looking for a discreet smart deadbolt that won’t affect your existing hardware or a complete lock system that works with a code or your phone, there are options for everyone that integrate with your current Ring system. Explore our compatible smart locks today to see how you can level up security — and make spare keys a thing of the past.

1 Ring Alarm and all Ring Alarm accessories require a subscription for in-app features and digital notifications, including digital arming / disarming and integration with other Ring, Echo, Alexa, and third party products. View ring.com/protect-plans for pricing and details.

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