Does Travel Insurance Cover Lost or Delayed Baggage?

Do the scenes of fields of bags spread out across an airport put a knot in the pit of your stomach, thinking that your bag could be in there? If so, read on.

There’s no question the number of mishandled bags is rising. According to the Department of Transportation’s Air Traffic Consumer Reports, the number of mishandled bags increased 59% from 2021 to 2022.

The percentage of bags mishandled is low – less than 1% – but a 59% increase is especially significant when you consider that the number of mishandled bags usually only changes a small bit from measurement period to measurement period.

While people have had some good results slipping a tracking tag into their luggage, that shouldn’t be all you do to ensure the safety of your luggage and its contents. Travel protection that covers your luggage and personal belongings is an important piece of the baggage protection puzzle.

Will the airline reimburse me for lost luggage?

When baggage mishandling occurs that is the fault of the airline, the airline will often pay for lost items or costs to reunite you with your bag. In these cases, it is the responsibility of the airline to provide agreed upon arrangements first and travel insurance may cover the remainder. See our handy list of links to airline customer service agreements to learn how the most popular airlines handle baggage problems.

With Generali Global Assistance, Baggage coverage is secondary, which means if you have coverage through your homeowner’s policy for baggage or items in your baggage, it will pay first, and then travel insurance may reimburse certain items that haven’t already been replaced or reimbursed.

In addition to letting your insurance companies know about your lost luggage, you also need to notify authorities at the site where you believe it was lost – such as an airline’s baggage office or police.

Travel insurance for luggage and personal items

Travel protection plans from Generali Global Assistance include coverage for lost, damaged, stolen, and delayed baggage – which can be helpful when you’re flying.

Our Premium Plan has $2,000 per person in coverage for lost, damaged, or stolen baggage. If you think about what you spent on your bags and what might be inside them, it can be easy to blow past the $2,000 mark. One piece of jewelry or a camera could do it.

Some things our plans won’t cover:

  • Musical instruments
  • Phones and computers
  • Money
  • Medicine and cosmetics

See more exclusions

The good news is that many of the things you’d pack in a suitcase are covered. You probably wouldn’t pack your phone, money, or a tablet in a checked bag.

But clothes, shoes, jewelry, and other common traveling items may be covered under the Baggage benefit.

Does travel insurance cover delayed baggage?

Our travel protection plans don’t just cover lost, damaged, or stolen baggage. They cover baggage delay as well.

Baggage Delay coverage may reimburse you for replacement clothing and personal articles that are needed while the baggage is delayed, so save those receipts.

Sporting Equipment Delay coverage may reimburse you for the cost of renting replacement equipment and/or locating your delayed Sporting Equipment and having it returned to you.

Important Notes: To qualify for coverage, baggage must be delayed for at least 24 hours with a Standard Plan, 18 hours with a Preferred Plan and 12 hours with a Premium Plan. Sporting Equipment must be delayed for at least 18 hours with the Preferred Plan, 12 hours with the Premium Plan, and coverage is not included with the Standard Plan.

Pro tip: An additional benefit you might not have expected is that Generali may reimburse you for the cost of having your clothes cleaned while waiting for your luggage to arrive.

Also read: How to Keep Your Travel Bags Safe

When is a bag considered delayed vs. lost?

According to the Department of Transportation, most airlines consider a bag lost after 5 to 14 days. At any time during that window, the updates include any attempts made by the airline to locate your luggage or bags and return them to you.

Once that window has passed with no sign of your belongings, the bag is declared permanently lost by the airline. At that point can you start filing formal claims for lost luggage reimbursement through the airline's limited liability process.

What if the airline damages my bag or belongings?

Dealing with damaged luggage from the airlines can frustrate travelers as much as lost belongings. Whether the damage results in broken zippers, crushed frames or badly mishandled belongings, passengers often feel angry and helpless.

Airlines are only held liable for repair or replacement costs up to $3,800 for domestic flights and approximately $1,700 for international flights, according to the Department of Transportation. An airline's definition of damage can also differ from a passenger's.

That's what makes the Baggage coverage with our plans appealing. With this coverage, you receive secondary protection if the airline damages your luggage or the contents inside during handling and transit. If your baggage and personal items haven’t been completely replaced or reimbursed by the airlines, you can be made whole again.

Steps to take if your baggage is delayed or lost

  1. Report your missing or delayed luggage immediately before leaving the airport. File an official report, and get a copy of the file reference numbers/reports.

  2. Keep your baggage claim stubs as proof of checked bags, along with any receipts for travel essentials you purchased due to the delay.

  3. Promptly submit a claim through your travel protection provider, including the airline reports and reference numbers, along with receipts/documentation of the items lost.

  4. Take note of airline representative names and stay on top of the airline claims process.

There’s a lot more to travel protection for luggage than just paying for replacement bags. Get a quick quote to see options to help protect your trip.

In the meantime, is that your bag in the security-camera footage at Heathrow?


Get travel protection with Baggage coverage
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