Everything you need to know about lost luggage coverage on travel insurance – Forbes Advisor
Do you know that empty feeling of standing in front of the baggage carousel looking for your luggage? I do. I felt it for the first time as a small reporter for a travel magazine. I will never forget him.
It’s the realization that you don’t have clean clothes to wear tomorrow. Not even a change of socks. And the feeling of loss then turns into anger. How could the airline lose my luggage?
It was me in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was in 1992, and I was on a mission for a week. My luggage remained in London. I had to stop at a drugstore on my way to the hotel to buy some essentials. My luggage arrived the next day.
Fortunately, there is something that can fix an issue like this now: travel insurance. But coverage for lost baggage is not well understood by most travelers.
“Travel protection plans offer benefits for what is often referred to as baggage and personal effects,” says Erin Fish, co-founder of travel insurance site Wanderwell. “It tends to be designed to cover loss, theft or damage to baggage and personal effects during the insured trip. “
Luggage gets lost all the time
How often is baggage lost? The Ministry of Transport reports 2.8 million bags mishandled last year, or about 5.8 bags per 1,000 passenger embarkations. (Because the government has changed the way it counts mishandled bags, there are no 2018 numbers to compare it with.) Cruise lines and rail carriers do not publicly report their lost luggage.
It does not matter. If it’s your lost bag, it’s one bag too many.
“Lost or delayed baggage is one of the most frustrating travel incidents you encounter while traveling,” said Daniel Durazo, spokesperson for Allianz Travel Insurance. “A good travel insurance policy can reimburse you if your luggage is lost, delayed, damaged or stolen during your trip.
What is generally covered?
While no two travel insurance policies are the same, they have a lot in common when it comes to lost baggage. For example, here is what AIG Travel Guard covers on most of its insurance policies:
- Delayed baggage. If your luggage is delayed, the police will reimburse you for necessities such as a change of clothes, a toothbrush and soap.
- Lost baggage. The insurance company will help you track your luggage. If it cannot be found, insurance will reimburse you for lost items.
- Stolen goods. If your bag is slipped in your rental car, for example, the police may cover your losses.
Know what other methods you have to cover luggage before you go. For example, your credit card may offer coverage for lost baggage. Your house or Tenant insurance might also work. Travel insurance works alongside these coverages – more on that in a minute.
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To take a picture
If you want your lost baggage insurance to cover all of your belongings, take a photo or video of your baggage before you leave. Then take a picture of everything you are packing before you put it in the bag. It might sound silly, but when filing a lost baggage claim one of the first questions is: what does your bag look like? Well what Is your bag looks like? If you said, “It’s a black bag with wheels,” congratulations. It’s the same for everyone. Get a close-up with the name and model of the baggage.
Luggage coverage is limited
Most travel insurance plans cap the liability of the insurance company at $ 100 to $ 500 per item, with a total maximum of $ 500 to $ 3,000 per person, depending on the policy. So if you have expensive items like a laptop or jewelry, you don’t want to put them in your checked baggage or leave them in your hotel unattended.
“For big ticket items over $ 1,000, you can insure your luggage through your home insurance or the credit card you used to purchase the item,” says Kasara Barto, spokesperson for Squaremouth, a travel insurance provider.
Coverage for lost baggage is secondary
Most coverage for lost baggage is secondary. This means that you must exhaust any compensation paid by your airline or credit card. However, if your airline refuses to compensate you – which often happens – and your credit card won’t help, travel insurance kicks in. (If your luggage is lost, call your travel insurance company immediately. She will tell you what is, and is not covered, and more importantly, when this coverage applies.)
Expect a bit of paperwork
To successfully file a claim, you will need to do the paperwork. This means filling out lost baggage reports at the airport or a police report if the bag goes missing from your hotel.
Additionally, if you are purchasing replacement clothing and toiletries, you will need to keep the receipts.
“Travelers don’t usually think these steps are necessary,” says Sherry Sutton, vice president of marketing at Travel Insured International. “But they are essential for filing a claim.”
Don’t wait until you get home to file a lost baggage claim. An airline may offer you a voucher or cash to purchase emergency toiletries and a change of clothes.
And travel insurance companies have also upped their game when it comes to dealing with lost baggage claims faster. For example, Allianz Travel’s new SmartBenefits feature enables faster lump sum payments for eligible baggage delays. If your luggage is lost during a trip, it will reimburse you $ 100 per person. (If you have receipts, it will pay up to the plan’s daily reimbursement limit.)
But what if you’ve looked at all of your coverage Home Insurance and credit card, and find that you are still not sufficiently insured? Well, there is supplemental insurance coverage that offers higher limits per item. It also covers equipment such as laptops, cell phones and digital SLR cameras, which are often excluded from coverage.
“Travelers can add coverage for their luggage to any general travel insurance plan,” says Rachel Cohen, spokesperson for G1G, a travel insurance provider.
Avoid lost bags
Take these precautions to help you later in case your baggage goes missing:
Tag your bag. Attach a tag with your name and contact details to the outside of your luggage and add identifying information to the inside. Otherwise, your lost baggage will end up at Unclaimed baggage center.
Document everything. Taking photos and videos of your luggage is not only a good idea when traveling. You should consider doing this every time you travel. If you lose your bag, keep each receipt and photograph each lost baggage form. You will probably need it later.
Don’t leave luggage out of sight. Sounds obvious, right? But if so, why are people still checking their luggage at the airport? Why do they hand them over to a hotel porter? Seriously, pack light and don’t let anyone near your bag.