Losing baggage or personal items on a trip can be a nightmare for travelers, and many turn to travel insurance for protection. A travel insurance policy can provide some coverage for lost, stolen, or damaged items, but it is important to know what limitations apply and what will not be covered.
Many travel insurance policies offer coverage for baggage delay or loss. Baggage delay benefits provide reimbursement for the purchase of a change of clothes, toiletries and other essential items if bags are delayed over a certain time period. The time a traveler’s baggage needs to be delayed for in order for coverage to kick in can range from 3 to 24 hours.
The baggage and personal items loss benefit will provide reimbursement for items that are lost, stolen or damaged on a trip. There are several limitations that go along with this benefit. Here are some of the most common:
Checked luggage only – This means that travelers will only be eligible for coverage if the item has been lost while checked on a common carrier or locked in a hotel room.
Item limits – Some policies will offer a different amount of coverage for “specific items”. These items are typically higher in value and can include jewelry, watches, furs, and camera or computer equipment. Policies may offer a set amount per person, or a set amount per item. Some policies will offer a higher amount of coverage for the first item claimed, and a lower amount for all subsequent items.
Deductibles – Some policies will pay baggage benefits, but only after a $50 deductible is collected. Other policies do not require a deductible be paid for benefits to kick in.
Typically excluded items – Most policies will not provide coverage for loss or damage to animals, automobiles, artificial teeth, hearing aids, eyeglasses, prosthetic limbs, money, keys, or tickets. Additionally, most policies will not cover loss if it arises from defective materials or craftsmanship, normal wear and tear, or mysterious disappearance.
Because baggage benefits can be limiting, travelers should check to see if their renters or homeowners insurance will cover big-ticket items while traveling. Travelers can also contact their credit card companies to see if they provide coverage for lost, stolen or damaged items.