While there is also travel insurance coverage available in the event you have lost your baggage or had your personal items stolen, baggage delay coverage is an additional specific item you may see within a travel insurance Comprehensive Plan. The purpose of this particular coverage is to allow you to purchase essential items you need for your personal comfort while you’re waiting for your bags to arrive. It is a secondary coverage to any benefits your airline or common carrier may provide to you.
Look for a maximum per-person coverage amount as well as a per-day limit. For example, some policies may offer you a generous $500 per person to purchase incidentals, but only allow you to spend $200 of that per day. In many cases, the per-person limit on baggage delay will be relatively modest – somewhere in the $200 range – simply because the intent of the coverage is to help you get through a day or two without your belongings, not to replace an entire wardrobe.
Baggage delay coverage generally becomes active after your belongings have been delayed for a specified period of time. Depending on the policy you’ve purchased, it will usually be either 12 or 24 hours. Until that period of time has passed, you are not eligible for reimbursement on any items you purchase to help compensate for the delay of your belongings.
Baggage delay coverage is supposed to help you get through a short period of time without your personal effects, so in order to file a claim, you’ll need to show that anything you have purchased is a reasonable expense and fits within the coverage limits defined by your policy. Keeping receipts of anything you purchase is strongly recommended; many travelers also take photographs of items they buy and include those in their claims documentation.