YOU ASK:

Do airports cover lost baggage or should I get travel insurance?

WE ANSWER:

In our opinion, it's best to be covered with both.

The airline that handles (and loses) your baggage will naturally have responsibility for it. They should be able to provide you with an emergency allowance when they first discover that your baggage is missing. This will cover for purchases of basic toiletries, as well as a change of underwear and clothes.

When several days have passed and your bag remains missing, they will declare your baggage as lost. At this time, you and the airline will try to itemize what was in your luggage to come up with a fair value as compensation.

Be honest when you are listing down the things that were contained in the lost baggage. It would be embarrassing, if, after listing down that you have four pairs of expensive suits, your baggage is found and it only contains your worn-out clothes!

When computing for the compensation, the airline will usually exclude valuables such as cameras and jewelry and it will also just pay for the depreciated value and not for the replacement cost of your clothes. So, even though the airline will provide payment for lost baggage, you will only actually end up with less than what it would cost to replace your lost baggage.

That is why it would help to also get yourself covered with lost or delayed baggage protection under a travel insurance policy. You can use this cover to claim against lost documents that were inside your baggage, delayed or lost baggage, as well as an allowance for you to buy basic items that you will need.

Baggage cover will also have exclusions. This usually includes lost money or possessions that were not kept securely in your hand carried luggage while you were traveling. Travel insurance will also not pay for baggage that you left unattended. In addition, if you fail to report the loss of your baggage to the police and the insurance company within 24 hours, it may also invalidate your claim.

Remember, though, that it is usually not be able to receive double compensation. That means that if the airline has paid for the value of your bag, the insurance company will not pay for that anymore. What you can do is to have your existing travel insurance cover for whatever amount the airline fails to compensate.

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