Trip Insurance & Luggage: How Coverage Works

Trip Insurance & Luggage: How Coverage Works

When you can’t find your luggage at baggage claim, don’t panic, act. Remember, most of the time, missing luggage has just been misplaced and can be relocated and reunited with you in a matter of days. In some cases, the airline may provide some form of reimbursement. In general here are some steps to follow even if you don’t have trip insurance.

  • Alert an airline representative and follow their instructions.
  • Ask the airline to file a report and have them email you a copy. If you do have trip insurance, you will need a letter from the airline confirming your lost baggage, the report should meet this requirement.
  • Ask the airline about their compensation rules and requirements. The representative may not be forthcoming with this information so it’s important to speak up. It’s unlikely however that you will receive enough compensation to really ease the financial burden of the baggage loss.
  • If you need to get new travel documents, you should contact the U.S. Embassy immediately. The process of getting a new passport can be expedited if you have a copy of the passport either with you or with someone else back at home that can email it to you.
  • Policyholders who lose their checked bags should call their insurance company to confirm what will be covered. Most insurers do have a maximum coverage amount, so it’s possible that not every expense will be covered.
  • Policyholders should save all receipts for every transaction related to the lost luggage.
  • To avoid all the stress and expenses that come with lost or delayed luggage, be like Marie, and find a suitable trip insurance policy before your departure.

What Airlines Owe You If Your Bags Are Lost Delayed or Damaged

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, airlines are required to reimburse travelers for costs associated with lost, delayed or damaged baggage up to a certain dollar amount (about $3000). But eligibility criteria for reimbursement varies from airline to airline and they are generally strict. The claims process will take a while and there is a chance that your claim might be denied if it fails to meet the stiff requirements. Many airlines will provide passengers with a $50 stipend for five days.  For some travelers this compensation may be enough, especially if the baggage has been located and just needs to be rerouted to the hotel.

What Do Trip Insurance Baggage Benefits Include?

First, it’s important to note that trip insurance is only available to U.S. residents and citizens. Aside from medical coverage, travel medical insurance does offer both U.S. residents and citizens and travelers outside the U.S. coverage related to lost luggage, but not delayed or damaged luggage. Second, keep in mind that every insurer is different and policy benefits as well as limits may vary.

In general, baggage insurance may cover the following expenses:

  • Needed toiletries like deodorant, soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, tampons etc.
  • New clothes, including business suits and attire for planned special occasions
  • Prescriptions
  • New passports, visas or other travel documents
  • Valuables

What are the Limits for Baggage Coverage?

As with any insurance coverage, there are limits. Again, these will vary from policy to policy, so it’s always best to read the policy documentation and to make sure you understand what you’re getting into before you make your purchase. Here are some of the most common limits for baggage coverage:

  • Compensation may only be issued for items that the airline did not cover and that has been checked in and missing or lost for a certain time frame, usually 10 days or longer.
  • In order for a lost item to be considered for reimbursement, the policyholder must file a claim. Filing a claim does not guarantee reimbursement. The claim must go through a review process before any determination can be made and any compensation given.
  • There is a coverage maximum for lost, delayed or damaged items. If the policyholder has a travel medical plan, this might be a per item maximum. Consult the policy documents to verify the maximum amounts.

How Do I File a Luggage Insurance Claim?

As with all things insurance-related, the claims process may vary by insurance company. Here is a helpful walkthrough of the general steps a traveler will likely need to take to file a claim. 

One of the best things about buying trip insurance through an insurance marketplace like VisitorsCoverage is that you get built-in assistance at every stage of the claims process. From mistakes to avoid while you file to what to do if your claim is denied, we have the resources to help you file the claim correctly and appeal if your claim is denied.

Although we have no part in the review or determination of benefits process, when you file a claim and haven’t heard back from the insurance company, you can always reach out to our Customer Success Team and they’ll follow up directly with the insurer and report back with the status.