How to Open a Safe When You’ve Lost the Key

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Help! I’ve Lost the Key to My Safe!

If you’re looking for how to open a safe when you’ve lost the combination check out our other blog post.

Here we are talking about safes or lock boxes that take keys.

We get several calls a year to our lock shops from customers that have lock boxes, gun chests, or safes. These safes either take keys to open and the keys have been lost, or the safes have key overrides that will get the owner in the safe when the combination has been lost or the batteries have died.

Locksmiths can open a safe when the keys have been lost by either picking the lock or making a new key (originating a safe key) using either a key-by-code technique or key impressioning technique.

Opening Safe with Override Key

Some safe manufactures, typically inexpensive cheap safes, provide keys as either the main method of opening the safe or a secondary method to get into the safe. There are two primary reasons keys are provided to open the safe.

  • A keyed lock is less expensive than a dial or electronic safe lock so they are used to build less expensive safes
  • Some manufactures put the batteries for their safes inside of the safe. The key override allows you to get into the safe should the batteries die.

Have the Safe Manufacturer Mail You a Key

If there is a key over ride, your safe manufacture may mail you the override key so you can get into your safe. They will require ID and proof of purchase to do this. If you buy a safe or safe box that takes a key, be sure to register it under your name as that will simplify the verification process should you ever lose your safe’s key. If they cannot verify you are the owner they will not send you a key.

If the safe manufacture won’t or can’t provide a key, you can take the safe to a locksmith.

Have a Locksmith Make the Safe Key

Locksmiths can gain access to a safe or lock box without a key by using several techniques.

  1. If all you want is to get inside, they can simply pick the keyed lock open for you.
  2. If there is a number stamped near the keyhole, a locksmith should be able to get into the safe quickly, without damage by cutting a key by code. That number tells the locksmith what key blank is needed and how to cut the key. With that, a key to your safe can be easily made.
  3. If there is no number stamped on the keyhole, the locksmith will use a technique called impressioning to make the key. This take a bit longer to do because the locksmith will first need to determine what key blank needs to be used from thousands of possible blanks. An experienced local locksmith shop, such as our Arizona lock shops, shouldbe able to find it rather quickly though.

How Locksmiths Impression Keys

What our Phoenix Locksmith store manager impression a key for a cam lock.

When Making a Safe Key Won’t Get You Into the Safe

On high-end, high security safes, there is usually a key that must be used WITH the combination. That is, the key hole you see is not an override key. It is a key that must be used and the combination must be entered to get into the safe.

You will still need to have a key made to get into the safe, but you will also need to figure out the safe’s combination. Check out our article on How to find the Combination to a Safe.

Safe keys make it pretty easy to get into a safe without drilling the safe open so you can save a bit of money. Once open, a locksmith can reset the combination of the safe for you.

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