Arriving at your destination and discovering that you’ve lost your luggage along the way is no fun – even for the most experienced traveler.
Luggage can be lost en route, it can be stolen from the airport baggage carousel, it can fall overboard as it’s being loaded onto the cruise ship, it can even be nabbed from the back of your taxi cab or hotel room. When your bags go missing, it’s important to understand how travel insurance covers lost luggage.
Travel insurance coverage for lost luggage is slightly different depending on whether your bags are permanently lost or temporarily lost.
A permanent loss of luggage is covered under travel insurance baggage coverage, which reimburses the insured traveler (up to the policy limit) for the value of lost luggage and the personal items inside.
A temporary loss of luggage is covered under travel insurance baggage delay coverage, which reimburses the insured traveler (up to the policy limits) for the purchase of essential personal items necessary until their luggage arrives.
The airlines have strong limits on what they will pay for lost luggage and it can take days, or even weeks, before an airline will decide that your bag is permanently lost. When your carrier loses your bag, travel insurance picks up the slack. Plus travel insurance coverage for lost luggage follows you everywhere you go on your trip – they’ll even replace the bag itself.
Limitations on travel insurance coverage for lost luggage
Travel insurance claims for lost luggage have limits placed on them by the traveler’s travel insurance. While every travel insurance plan varies slightly, there are some common limits placed on lost luggage claims. It’s important to understand:
Baggage coverage is secondary to the coverage provided by another travel supplier, such as an airline. If you lose your luggage anywhere along your trip, the secondary coverage becomes primary when another supplier wasn’t responsible for the loss.
Every travel insurance plan defines a maximum payout and a per-item limit. Your plan might have $1,000 as a maximum limit, for example, and a $300 per-item limit for those more expensive items.
Travel insurance plans also have a long list of items that a traveler might store in their luggage but aren’t covered by any plan. Some of those items include contact lenses, artificial teeth, keys, credit cards, and other items.
To fully understand your travel insurance coverage limits, be sure to look at your plan and read the section on baggage and the exclusions.
Extra coverage for lost luggage
Many travelers carry credit cards with travel benefits and some of those include coverage for lost luggage. Of course, those trip protection benefits will also come with limits similar to that offered by travel insurance plans, but sometimes the coverage a traveler has with their credit card plan is better than the luggage coverage they have with their travel insurance plan.
If you do have to make a claim for a lost bag, it’s a good idea to look at all the coverage you have. You may make a claim first on your credit card travel benefits and then with your travel insurance plan. If you what you lost was valued at more than what you recovered through your credit card plan, a secondary claim on your travel insurance benefits for lost luggage just might make up the difference.
See credit card protection vs. travel insurance for details.