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Baggage Coverage

Travelers assume the airline will compensate for lost baggage. Unfortunately, airlines don’t (much) – that’s why baggage coverage is useful.

10 March 2011
Baggage Coverage

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?
Summary

Let us tell you a story

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.

What the airlines owe you when your luggage is lost or destroyed

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.

What does Baggage/Personal Effects cover?

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.

Important notes about this coverage

  • This benefit is considered secondary to what is provided by a common carrier, such as an airline.
  • Airline reimbursement for baggage is extremely limited and varies from carrier to carrier. It can take many days (even weeks) before an airline will determine a bag is irretrievably lost.
  • The airlines will depreciate the value of your clothing and other items whereas travel insurance baggage coverage provides replacement cost (including the bag).
  • The airlines have long lists of items they will not cover if lost, stolen, or destroyed – even if the loss was their fault.
  • Each travel insurance policy will have a maximum payout and usually a per-item limit.
  • Items over a certain cost (usually $150) must be accompanied by the original receipt.

Special note about covering expensive items

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.

What type of policy covers this?

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.

How much coverage does each company provide?

POLICYCOMPANYPOLICY LIMITPER-ITEM LIMITSPECIFIC ITEM LIMIT *
Drive ProtectionAllianz$250
Quick Trip ProtectorAllianz$1,000
DeluxeAllianz$1,500
ClassicAllianz$1,000
Annual Travel ProtectionAllianz$1,000
BasicAllianz$500
Annual Business Travel ProtectionAllianz$1,000
Custom Luxe ComprehensiveCSA$1,500
Custom ComprehensiveCSA$1,000
TravMed ChoiceFrontierMEDEX$250
TravMed AbroadFrontierMEDEX$1000***$250
Global Alert PreferredGlobal Alert$1,500$300$600
Global Alert EssentialsGlobal Alert$1,000$300$600
Global Alert Preferred PlusGlobal Alert$2,500$300$600
Diplomat InternationalGlobal Underwriters$250
Diplomat LTGlobal Underwriters$250
TripProtector PreferredHTH Worldwide$1,500
TripProtectorHTH Worldwide$1,000
TravelGap VoyagerHTH Worldwide$500***
TravelGap ExcursionHTH Worldwide$500***
TripProtect e-SaverHTH Worldwide$500
Advantage CompleteMH Ross$3,000$300$600
Advantage BridgeMH Ross$2,000$300$600
Advantage AssetMH Ross$1,000$300$600
RoundTrip ChoiceSeven Corners$2,000$500$2,000
RoundTripSeven Corners$1,000$300$1,000
Travel BasicTravelex$500$300$500
Flight Insure PlusTravelex$2,000$300$600
Travel LiteTravelex$1,000$300$600
Flight InsureTravelex$2,000$300$600
Travel Select AdvantageTravelex$1,000$300$600
Business TravelerTravelex$2,000$600
Travel SelectTravelex$1,000$300$600
Travel PlusTravelex$2,500$300$600
Travel MaxTravelex$2,500$300$600
Adventure Travel ProtectionTravel Guard$2,500-$5,000$1,000 1st item/$500 subsequent$500
SilverTravel Guard$750$500 1st item/$250 subsequent$500
Sportsman’s TravelTravel Guard$2,500-$5,000$1,000 1st item/$500 subsequent$500
Tee, Tour, & TravelTravel Guard$2,500-$5,000$1,000 1st item/$500 subsequent$500
PlatinumTravel Guard$2,500$500 1st item/$250 subsequent$500
GoldTravel Guard$1,000$500 1st item/$250 subsequent$500
BasicTravel Guard$500$500 1st item/$250 subsequent$500
Business Travel GuardTravel Guard$2,500$500 1st item/$250 subsequent$500
Select PlusTravel Insurance Services$1,000$500 1st item/$250 subsequent$500
Select BasicTravel Insurance Services$500$500 1st item/$250 subsequent$500
Select EliteTravel Insurance Services$2,000$500 1st item/$250 subsequent$500
WorldMedTravel Insurance Services$250-$500
Atlas MedicalTravel Insured$250$50
Trip Protector LiteTravel Insured$750**$250$500
Trip Protector Lite ExpandedTravel Insured$750**$250$500
Worldwide Trip Protector GoldTravel Insured$2,000$250$500
Worldwide Trip ProtectorTravel Insured$1,000$250$500
Vacation ClassicTravelSafe$2,500$300$600
VacationTravelSafe$500$300$600

* Specific items are items such as jewelry, watches, furs, etc. Check the policy details for specifics.
** with $50 Deductible
*** with $100 Deductible

Summary

  • Airline reimbursement for baggage is very limited, takes weeks or months, and varies from carrier to carrier
  • A travel plan with baggage coverage provides the best protection for your bag, personal items, and souvenirs
  • Expensive items should be scheduled on your home-owner’s insurance policy
  • Compensation received from the airline will be deducted from this benefit
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Damian Tysdal
Author
DamianTysdal

Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and he believes travel insurance should be easier to understand. He started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.

Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and he believes travel insurance should be easier to understand. He started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.