Luggage

12/06/2013 -- Mary Simpson
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Losing luggage on holiday is a nightmare.  Fortunately it doesn’t happen too often and most people get reunited with baggage inside 72 hours.  Covered under Personal property/possessions/ baggage sections.

What’s covered

Personal possessions lost, stolen or damaged during your journey.  Includes suitcase/holdall, clothing, valuables, passport, money, credit cards.

What’s not covered

  • Valuables left unattended.  This includes in the aircraft hold and hidden under the beach towel. 
  • Lost or stolen belongings not reported to Police within 24 hours

How much cover?

Some travel insurers offer as little as £500 cover for personal property, others up to £3,000.  Cheap travel insurance policies charge a higher excess.

There’s always a limit on what you can claim for single items - bad news if you carry a lot of expensive gadgets (mobile, camera, tablet).   

Say the valuables total is £500, with a limit of £250 for a single item/pair or set of articles. If your state-of-the-art digital camera is stolen all you could claim is £250.

If the excess is £50, you’d get just £200 back, leaving you at least £400 out of pocket.  Some insurers offer technology cover for an extra premium. 

If your wardrobe’s from Primark, a £100 excess could mean it’s not worth a claim.  Ditching baggage cover could save 10-15% on the travel insurance premium.

Things you must do

  • Report lost/stolen property to Police immediately.
  • Get a written report/crime ref no.
  • Keep receipts/credit card transactions/cash withdrawal slips.

All risks cover

Check if you have ‘away from home’ or ‘all risks’ cover under the personal possessions section of your home contents insurance. 

This protects valuables, cash and credit cards anywhere in the UK and abroad often for up to 60 days’ away.

Usually valuables worth up to £2,000 can be insured.   Get higher value items listed on the policy.

Things like sunglasses, contact lenses, hearing aids and dentures often not covered by travel insurance, but they are under home contents.

Delayed baggage

Compensation limits vary from £75 - £250 per day up to a specified maximum amount.

Claims usually restricted to outward journey and only kick in after 12 hours.  You must get a written report from the carrier (airline, ferry) or tour rep.

Airlines

The airline’s responsible for checked-in baggage, not your travel insurer.  Under the Montreal Convention, max. payout for lost or damaged luggage is around £1,000. 

Airlines don’t accept liability for loss of valuables/money in the hold so few claimants get anything like that amount.  Some pay per kilo of lost luggage.

Notify the air carrier ASAP if luggage is damaged, delayed, lost or destroyed and get a Property Irregularity Report from them.

For valuable items in hold luggage, you can buy insurance directly from the airline at check-in or in advance.

If you’re bag is lost on landing, some airlines will pay for essentials – toiletries/ change of clothes.

Others may delay compensation till the claim’s settled, so keep receipts.  Don’t go on a mad spending spree. 

Your travel insurer will claim money back if it turns out luggage is permanently lost, ie deduct what you’ve spent from your total claim allowance.