Travel Baggage Insurance
Explained

Travel baggage insurance protects you from financial loss when your personal travel belongings are lost, stolen, damaged, or delayed.

By purchasing this low cost travel insurance, you protect your possessions for the duration of your trip - from the time you leave home, until the time you return.

Travel baggage insurance is not the same as 'airline baggage insurance' which is automatically included [and strictly governed] when you purchase your airline ticket. 

'Airline baggage insurance' protects you only if your luggage is lost, damaged, or delayed during your flight. [They never admit your stuff was stolen.]

Specifically: travel baggage insurance, when bought independently, covers your luggage and personal effects and pays you for any covered loss, so long as you purchase the proper coverage and are able to document your lost or damaged items.

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There are two components to travel baggage insurance:

  • lost luggage insurance, and
  • baggage delay insurance.

Both are reimbursement insurance and are usually sold as part of an insurance plan known as comprehensive travel insurance.

[Note: If you plan to purchase insurance for medical coverage for an overseas trip, you can sometimes find a policy that will also include insurance for lost luggage. But it will seldom cover delay of your baggage.]

Many travelers think the airlines they travel on are responsible for insuring and/or reimbursing them if their luggage or its contents are lost or damaged. 

This is partially true.

But be aware: there are specific guidelines and procedures for making a lost luggage claim with any airline, and each has its own procedural policy.

You must be able to validate your loss [ie., prove what items were included in your luggage and how much they were worth - often item by item], along with being able to substantiate that your loss was the fault of the airline.

Assuming you can do this, it's worth noting that:

  • Airlines never pay adequately for loss or damage to your bags and possessions.
  • It can take weeks, if not months, for an airline to decide your luggage and possessions are irretrievably lost.
  • Airlines refuse to cover many items [including, but not limited to valuables, sports equipment, and electronics]
  • They always depreciate the value of any loss you claim.
  • Negotiating with the airline in order to get a fair settlement is practically mandatory.
  • Reimbursement payments often take the form of [future] travel vouchers, rather than cash.
  • Airlines are bound by rules of reimbursement both domestically and globally. The ruling bodies set limits for reimbursement, which airlines are not permitted to exceed. [This and other pertinent information is covered in the airline's Contract for Carriage, which you can view online or by contacting your particular airline. You agree to this contract when you purchase your ticket.]

Even though you should always pursue reimbursement from your airline when they damage or 'lose' your luggage, know it can be a time-consuming, aggra-vating, and patience-testing process.

The best way to protect yourself and your travel possessions is to buy a low cost travel insurance plan that includes travel baggage insurance to protect both your belongings and your trip.

Lost Luggage Insurance

Insurance that covers lost luggage, [including damage or theft] will provide pro-tection for your entire trip.

This means you're not only covered during your flight[s], but also while partici-pating in a group tour or escorted vacation, while staying at your hotel, traveling on your own, or any covered travel event from the time you leave home until the time you return.

Even items you purchase while traveling – including souvenirs – are protected by travel baggage insurance.

While you may have some coverage for personal items as part of your renter’s or homeowner’s policy when traveling, it's often limited coverage, and you may have to purchase a rider or 'floater' to 'add on' to your policy. This coverage can come with a hefty deductible.

Travel baggage insurance often covers this deductible, but you should verify this point, when researching travel insurance plans.

Travel baggage insurance requires you to be able to substantiate the value of your belongings, if you need to file a claim for loss or damage.

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For specific items, such as electronics or expensive items [most of which should be left at home], you should be able to provide a copy of your purchase receipt, showing the value of the item.

It should include your date of purchase and the amount you paid.

It’s smart to document special items with a photo - easily done when packing for your trip.

Just keep your cell phone with you while you pack and capture an image of both the brand and model number of your item.

Attach a hard copy of the item's photo to the copy of your pur-chase receipt, and you'll have all you need to prove both value and ownership, if you need to file a claim.

Or - if you have to file a police report in regard to a theft.

Keep the copies with your travel documents - not in your checked luggage. And leave additional copies at home for follow up [or to use for future trips].

Baggage Delay Insurance

Baggage delay insurance steps in where airlines fail to provide you with reason-able funds for emergency personal items, if your luggage 'goes missing' on your flight.

Over 50% of lost luggage occurs when travelers have connecting flights. 

Major airlines' first line of defense - if your bag doesn’t arrive when you do - is to buy time until they locate your bag and belongings. 

They seldom offer assistance for the first 24 hours, leaving you with no personal products, toiletries, or change of clothes.

They also may not bring your luggage to you when it’s located, requiring you to return to the airport to retrieve it. 

Airlines compensate only a minor amount when bags are delayed, and frequently cover only certain items they deem necessary. 

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Compensation for delayed luggage is handled on a carrier to carrier basis and may take the form of [future] travel vouchers, rather than cash in hand for the things you need.

[Vouchers cost the airlines nothing, and they keep them from going out-of-pocket with hard cash.]

But this doesn’t do you any good, if your toothbrush and underwear are missing!

The purpose of baggage delay insurance is to provide you with essential emergency items, until your luggage is located and re-turned to you. 

You may have to wait up to 12 hours, [usually considerably less] but you will be compensated, so you can purchase required essential items, while the airlines look for your bag.

Baggage delay insurance is limited coverage. It's an interim measure to help you in an emergency - not to replace your entire travel wardrobe. It doesn't cover losses, if your bag goes missing once you've returned home.

Tips For Buying Travel Baggage Insurance

When researching plans for travel baggage insurance, make sure the plan you choose covers the items you want to insure.

It's easier and cheaper to buy travel insurance online.

You can find the best prices and the most policy options by doing research for your travel insurance online, where you can get help or ask questions via a chat or even speak with a representative.

Be sure to purchase the correct amount of coverage - equal to the value of the item or items you're insuring.

Don't buy coverage that's greater in value than the items you're covering. Your claim may be tossed out for registering inflated values.

Don’t under insure just to save a buck. If you have to make a claim, you'll be paid based on your item's stated value and worth.
 
It's common for lost luggage insurance to carry some sort of deductible, often in the range of $50-$100. Read the policy certificate [the fine print] before you buy, so you know exactly how the policy works, if you need to make a claim. 

Be sure you fully understand the coverage you purchase, and that you have, or can produce, the necessary documents to prove your claim for loss or damage.

When your luggage is lost, damaged, delayed, or stolen, it can ruin your trip for several days or the entire duration. 

Travel baggage insurance protects you not only from the loss of your personal possessions, but it allows you to proceed on your trip with less inconvenience. 

Airlines lose and damage a staggering number of travelers' bags each year [even thought they claim to be doing better].

Do yourself a favor: spend a few dollars to protect your travel belongings and your travel dreams.  

Your stuff can be replaced.

Your trip cannot!






For more information on international trip insurance, check the following pages:

Learn which kinds of International Travel Insurance are important for your overseas trip, and which plans may not be necessary.

Trip Cancellation Insurance protects you, when you pay up front but are unable to travel. Learn which international trip insurance you need, if you have to cancel your trip.

Consider both Trip Interruption Insurance and Travel Delay Insurance for your overseas trip. Travel with peace of mind, for pennies a day.

Travel Insurance Cost is determined by what, when, and where you buy.  Review your travel insurance plan for need vs. value, and consider comprehensive travel insurance over individual plans.

Learn how to Buy Travel Insurance, where to get it, and who to buy it from.  Beware travel insurance sellers who can neither advise you, nor explain travel insurance plans.

Buying Travel Insurance For Europe is not a clear-cut choice.  Consider the possibilities for harm or loss, before making your decision whether or not to purchase European travel insurance.

Return to Overseas Travel Insurance


Travel Tip

Compensation for lost luggage on international flights is governed by the global organization known as IATA, International Air Transport Association. [Remember the group that wants to shrink the size of your carry on?]

This means, if your luggage is lost on your flight to Europe, you’ll not only be paid pennies on the Dollar [or Euro] for your loss, but the airlines are strictly bound by what they can do for you.

If you plan to check luggage, travel baggage insurance is the best way to protect yourself. Pack smartly so you don’t have to pay excess luggage charges. Instead, use that money to buy travel insurance and protect your belongings for your entire trip.

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