Travelers assume the airline will compensate for lost baggage. Unfortunately, airlines don’t (much) – that’s why baggage coverage is useful.10 March 2011
This travel insurance coverage reimburses you (up to the maximum in the policy) for the value of lost, stolen, or damaged baggage and the personal effects inside the bag.
|Contents (click to jump down)|
What the airlines owe you when your luggage is lost or destroyed
What does Baggage/Personal Effects cover?
Important notes about this coverage
What type of policy covers this?
How much coverage does each company provide?
Jeff had an important meeting with some new clients, then he had plans to play a few rounds of golf. When he arrived at his destination, he dropped his bags in the hotel room and left to work on his presentation. When Jeff returned, he discovered his hotel room had been broken into and his bags were gone.
The concerned hotel manager called the police to make a report. Sure, the hotel would be happy to provide Jeff with shampoo, a toothbrush, the basics, and he had his laptop, but how was he to make a good impression without his suit? Jeff could lose this contract and miss playing golf too.
Most travelers assume that the airline will reimburse them if their baggage is permanently lost or destroyed in flight, but the airlines actually assert strong limits on their liability for lost or damaged checked luggage. First, it can take weeks for an airline to admit that a bag is irretrievably lost. Next, each carrier has a long list of items they won’t cover at all – even if the loss was their fault.
Once a claim is made, the airlines don’t immediately and automatically pay the full amount of the claim. Instead, they depreciate the value of your clothing and other items in your bag based on your estimate. This means you won’t get the price you paid or even replacement cost for the items in your bag. The airlines are also allowed to request receipts or other documentation to back up your claim, so if you don’t carry comprehensive records with you when you travel (and who does?) you can expect to spend some time negotiating with them.
Once a claim is accepted, it can take anywhere from four weeks to three months to pay a traveler for their lost luggage. In many cases, the airline will offer a settlement that includes payment in the form of future travel vouchers versus cash.
This coverage is intended to provide replacement value (up to certain limits) for baggage that is lost, stolen, or destroyed during your trip, not just on the flight.
With this benefit added to his travel insurance plan, Jeff would be reimbursed for replacement clothing and other necessary items, including a new bag to take it all home.
In some cases, expensive items such as jewelry, furs, laptops, cameras and sports equipment can be scheduled on your homeowners policy. Consider checking with your homeowner’s insurance provider for options. The coverage would be subject to your homeowner’s deductible and coverage, of course, but it might be the best way for a traveler to avoid expensive losses.
You’ll get the best protection for baggage and personal effects with a travel insurance package plan. A package plan will protect your bags and personal items from the time you leave home until you return. Remember, your bags could be stolen or destroyed on the return flight as well. With a package plan, even the items you bought while on your trip are protected up to the limits of the policy.
Some travel medical plans and annual plans also provide coverage for lost, stolen, or damaged baggage. Check the travel plan description for details.
|POLICY||COMPANY||POLICY LIMIT||PER-ITEM LIMIT||SPECIFIC ITEM LIMIT *|
|Quick Trip Protector||Allianz||$1,000|
|Annual Travel Protection||Allianz||$1,000|
|Annual Business Travel Protection||Allianz||$1,000|
|Custom Luxe Comprehensive||CSA||$1,500|
|Global Alert Preferred||Global Alert||$1,500||$300||$600|
|Global Alert Essentials||Global Alert||$1,000||$300||$600|
|Global Alert Preferred Plus||Global Alert||$2,500||$300||$600|
|Diplomat International||Global Underwriters||$250|
|Diplomat LT||Global Underwriters||$250|
|TripProtector Preferred||HTH Worldwide||$1,500|
|TravelGap Voyager||HTH Worldwide||$500***|
|TravelGap Excursion||HTH Worldwide||$500***|
|TripProtect e-Saver||HTH Worldwide||$500|
|Advantage Complete||MH Ross||$3,000||$300||$600|
|Advantage Bridge||MH Ross||$2,000||$300||$600|
|Advantage Asset||MH Ross||$1,000||$300||$600|
|RoundTrip Choice||Seven Corners||$2,000||$500||$2,000|
|Flight Insure Plus||Travelex||$2,000||$300||$600|
|Travel Select Advantage||Travelex||$1,000||$300||$600|
|Adventure Travel Protection||Travel Guard||$2,500-$5,000||$1,000 1st item/$500 subsequent||$500|
|Silver||Travel Guard||$750||$500 1st item/$250 subsequent||$500|
|Sportsman’s Travel||Travel Guard||$2,500-$5,000||$1,000 1st item/$500 subsequent||$500|
|Tee, Tour, & Travel||Travel Guard||$2,500-$5,000||$1,000 1st item/$500 subsequent||$500|
|Platinum||Travel Guard||$2,500||$500 1st item/$250 subsequent||$500|
|Gold||Travel Guard||$1,000||$500 1st item/$250 subsequent||$500|
|Basic||Travel Guard||$500||$500 1st item/$250 subsequent||$500|
|Business Travel Guard||Travel Guard||$2,500||$500 1st item/$250 subsequent||$500|
|Select Plus||Travel Insurance Services||$1,000||$500 1st item/$250 subsequent||$500|
|Select Basic||Travel Insurance Services||$500||$500 1st item/$250 subsequent||$500|
|Select Elite||Travel Insurance Services||$2,000||$500 1st item/$250 subsequent||$500|
|WorldMed||Travel Insurance Services||$250-$500|
|Atlas Medical||Travel Insured||$250||$50|
|Trip Protector Lite||Travel Insured||$750**||$250||$500|
|Trip Protector Lite Expanded||Travel Insured||$750**||$250||$500|
|Worldwide Trip Protector Gold||Travel Insured||$2,000||$250||$500|
|Worldwide Trip Protector||Travel Insured||$1,000||$250||$500|
* Specific items are items such as jewelry, watches, furs, etc. Check the policy details for specifics.
** with $50 Deductible
*** with $100 Deductible
Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and is a licensed agent for travel insurance (MA 1883287). He believes travel insurance should be easier to understand, and started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.