Realizing your baggage has been misplaced by the airlines after a long flight can usually be summed up in one word: frustrating.
That comes as no surprise. Studies from the 2018 Air Travel Consumer Report show baggage complaints to be number two on the list, just behind flight delays, cancellations, and missed connections.
Even though airlines have reduced the number of lost bags by 70% over the last decade, passengers still expect their bags to arrive at baggage claim when they do. In some cases, travelers only find themselves waiting for their luggage for a few hours. But in more severe instances, typically when traveling internationally, baggage can go missing for days –– sometimes indefinitely.
So what can a traveler do when their baggage is delayed? They can rely on their travel insurance plan to help them get by, but it is important to know what does and doesn't qualify.
1. When You Qualify
Not every travel insurance company operates the same. You may qualify for a baggage claim if your baggage is missing for 12 or 24 hours. It's important to understand what qualifies as a baggage delay, and the only way to know is to read your travel insurance policy.
2. WHat will qualify
Baggage delay provides reimbursement essential items like clothing and toiletries when a traveler's baggage is delayed for a certain period of time.
Travelers often assume they qualify for a baggage delay claim even if they do not incur any expenses. Unfortunately that's not the case. In order to qualify for coverage, you have to provide receipts for things like necessary toiletries, clothing, and other essential items.
Baggage delay is a benefit for reimbursing travelers.
3. HOW to combine travel insurance & Airline Coverage
Airlines offer their own compensation for delayed baggage. They may provide travelers with a toiletry kit. Others offer reimbursement for reasonable expenses towards clothing and and toiletries. Those reimbursements are typically capped somewhere between $25-$50 and don't exceed $150.
While you can't double-dip with your travel insurance plan, your coverage can provide you with additional reimbursement for expenses otherwise not covered by the airline. Your travel insurance company will most likely ask for confirmation of airline reimbursement for your delayed bag. Any expenses that exceed the amount you were reimbursed will be eligible for coverage from your travel insurance plan.
The amount you receive may not equal what you've lost, but it is usually more than you will receive from the airline.
4. Compensation for expediting your baggage
The airline covers the cost of delivering your delayed baggage to your destination or doorstep, but what if you are looking to speed up the process? The airline will charge a fee for expediting the delivery, but with the right travel insurance plan you can get compensation to cover the fees.
5. SAVE YOUR RECEIPTS AND DOCUMENTATION
No matter which travel insurance plan you choose, it is always vital to save receipts and documentation. If you do not keep receipts for toiletries and clothing, your claim may be denied. Additionally, you will need evidence that your baggage was in fact checked and delayed with the airline, cruise line, or common carrier.
Take photos of receipts with your phone. If you happen to misplace the hard copy, your travel insurer will most likely take photo evidence as proof of documentation.