Baggage Loss & Delay Coverage

Last updated on 01/19/2023

Baggage Insurance for Delay & LossBeing left without your luggage when you arrive at your destination can really put a crimp in your travel plans. Most comprehensive travel insurance plans include coverage for baggage loss and baggage delay if your bag is not permanently lost or damaged. In some cases, travel medical plans and annual memberships may offer a small amount of baggage loss coverage.

What is Baggage Insurance?

Baggage loss coverage provides reimbursement for luggage and covered personal items that are lost or stolen while you're traveling. Baggage and personal effects coverage is typically secondary coverage, which means that it will act to supplement any reimbursements offered by a common carrier (such as an airline that loses your bags) or by your homeowner's insurance.

Baggage delay coverage allows you to purchase essential items you need for your personal comfort while you're waiting for your bags to arrive. As with baggage loss coverage, it is secondary coverage to any benefits your airline or common carrier may provide to you. 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 may not be eligible for reimbursement. One other note: Baggage delay coverage is typically only available on the outbound part of the trip.

Do I Need Travel Baggage Insurance?

Travel can be unpredictable, especially if you are traveling internationally. Baggage insurance may cover theft, loss, delay, or damage to personal items during a trip. This applies not only to flights and other means of transportation but may also provide coverage for the entirety of your trip (such as baggage theft in a hotel or cruise ship).

Airline passengers may check bags due to limited space on the aircraft - or just because checking your luggage can be more convenient. However, bags are mistakenly misplaced or delayed for any number of reasons. It can sometimes take hours, days, or even weeks to recover a lost item from an airline. However, if you need to purchase essential items or replace something left in your bag, travel insurance with baggage coverage may be able to help you.

Some plans offer reimbursement for the purchase of necessary clothing or the value of your covered lost or stolen items. Depending on the plan, baggage insurance for your travels may come in handy if you find yourself without your luggage for the time period outlined by your plan, or if a covered item is lost or stolen from your bags while you’re on your trip.

Does Travel Insurance Cover Baggage Damage?

Yes, some travel insurance plans include coverage for damage to your belongings. Travel insurance for baggage may extend beyond checked and carry-on luggage to cover instances of damage to other types of covered items during your trip. This type of coverage may provide reimbursement if someone or something beyond your control causes damage to your luggage. Keep in mind that some plans with baggage damage coverage will need to confirm that the damage was beyond your control to cover this type of claim.

What Does Baggage Insurance Cover?

Baggage travel insurance varies by plan but will typically provide reimbursement for either the value of your covered personal items or the cost of purchasing new covered items. The plan limits define your amount of coverage. Certain items may be excluded from coverage, but this too may vary. It's important to read the details of your baggage coverage to make sure the plan you're considering is the right one for your trip.

There are three types of coverage limits:

  • The overall plan limit, which states the total maximum amount of coverage you can receive.
  • The per-item limit, which sets the maximum amount of reimbursement you can seek per individual item.
  • The specific-item limit, which is listed in some plans and may exclude certain special items like laptops or camera equipment.

Items in your checked bag such as jewelry, expensive watches, and high-end technology will likely be worth more than the per-item limits or even the specific item limits of a typical baggage policy. If you must travel with these items, it's generally advisable to contact your homeowner's insurance company to ask about scheduling those items. You can still benefit from the baggage loss coverage on your travel insurance for reimbursement of the other items you may have lost while traveling, but your homeowner's insurance would then be responsible for settling claims involving your valuables.

The same requirement is in effect if theft occurs. It is also important to check the excluded items under the baggage loss benefit. For example, cell phones are usually the number one lost item, however, they are excluded from coverage under most plans.

What are the Limits for Baggage Delay Coverage?

  • A per-person coverage limit
  • A per-day limit

For example, some plans may offer you a generous $500 for each person covered on the plan to purchase incidentals or clothing, but only allow you to spend up to $200 for each person 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. Some plans offer specific add-on coverage for sports equipment, like golf clubs or skis, so if you're traveling with those items, it's a good idea to read the plan details closely. This optional coverage covers the cost up to a specified limit for the rental of sports equipment if yours is delayed for a minimum number of hours.

Do Airlines Offer Insurance for Baggage?

Yes, some airlines offer insurance for baggage. Depending on the airline or other carrier, it is sometimes possible to get insurance for your luggage while booking a flight or cruise. For example, airline baggage insurance {from American Airlines} may provide coverage for damaged or lost bags on domestic flights with the price of your plane ticket.

Baggage insurance from airlines often only covers certain issues on your domestic flight and will not extend to cover the rest of your trip. Additionally, airline-issued baggage insurance may leave gaps in coverage when it comes to international trips, a long list of excluded items, high-value bags or items, theft during your trip, or reimbursement for essential item purchases. Airlines may also only provide future travel vouchers instead of cash reimbursements, and only up to the amount of the depreciated value of your items, not the price you paid or the replacement price of your item(s). To fill in many of these gaps, we strongly recommend buying luggage insurance from a dedicated travel insurance provider.

How to Buy Travel Baggage Insurance

Comprehensive travel insurance can include baggage insurance alongside other health- and travel-related benefits. Limited baggage coverage is also included with some travel medical plans. Just be sure to review your plan's coverages to confirm the benefits you're looking for before purchasing.

To find a variety of plans that contain coverage for your luggage, start a travel insurance quote and select your desired coverage under "Choose a coverage to display" on the results page. From here, your results will only show you providers and plans that include your desired coverage.

Can I Buy Baggage Insurance Only?

Yes, but your overall trip coverage would be limited, and your luggage insurance would likely cover less than what a comprehensive travel insurance plan would cover. Different, typically lower parameters would be set regarding what items and values are protected by your travel insurance. The time windows you must work with may also be affected.

Some alternative sources, such as the American Express platinum card, may also include some travel baggage insurance rewards. However, these limitations too may leave some gaps that a travel insurance plan can fill in. That's why we recommend a comprehensive travel insurance plan that offers loss and delay coverage for checked baggage and/or loss of personal items during your trip (among other travel-related benefits).

Filing a Baggage Loss or Baggage Delay Claim

Travel insurance companies will often need documentation of the value of the items for any lost baggage to determine the amount of reimbursement.

For baggage loss, to receive reimbursement for higher-value items (generally above $150 value), you may have to provide the original receipt. Some insurance providers will provide the actual cash value if you can’t provide a receipt.

For baggage delay, 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 for anything you are buying while your bags are delayed is strongly recommended.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article serves as a general overview of benefits and should only be used for informational purposes. Refer to your individual certificate of insurance for specific coverages, exclusions and benefits. When in doubt, please contact one of our licensed agents for additional assistance.