Summer is when many people like to travel, but if your plans include a flight, consider some tips to assure your baggage does not go “bon voyage” to a different destination and what to expect from your insurer if it does.
Like many things in insurance, it depends. Most NH homeowners insurance covers your personal property for theft, but not mysterious disappearance. If the airline loses your luggage, this is not considered theft, so it would not likely be covered.
If it is determined that your bags were stolen, the claim would need to be verified with a police report. If your bag went missing in the US, it might not be too difficult, but it would be more challenging in another country. Filing a claim on your homeowner’s policy for stolen luggage will also not help the immediate need to replace stolen items as it will take time to settle the claim.
If you travel a lot, you may want to see if your credit card provides protection or consider purchasing travel insurance with baggage loss/delay coverage.
Regardless, lost luggage is a hassle, so here are some steps to prevent it from happening.
11 Tips to Prevent Lost Luggage During Travel
- Remove all tags from previous trips, especially the small white bag-check stickers airlines affix to the luggage side.
- Consider a luggage tracker, such as Apple Air Tag or Tile Mate, as it is a small device you put in your bag if it goes missing. Though it will not prevent you from losing your luggage in the first place, it can help keep you informed about where it is and may even help the airlines find it.
- Take a picture of the contents of your luggage and make an itemized list of the valuable items. Make sure this list goes with you in a separate and safe place, as most airlines limit the time to file a claim.
- Be ready to check the carry-on you didn’t plan on checking. With airlines charging a premium for checked baggage, many people are bringing bags on board that they wouldn’t have otherwise. Though your carry-on may be within the allowable size, overhead space may be gone, forcing you to check your bag at the last minute. If this happens, you may not have time to remove valuables, so keep these items separate in a bag that can fit under the seat.
- Place an itinerary with all contact information in a visible place inside your bag. This should include your name, address, e-mail, cell phone number, and hotel contact information.
- Put the address of your destination, not your home address, on the outside of your bag. This will help the airlines quickly get your bag to you, if simply on a different flight than you. It will also not announce to the world that no one is at your house.
- Take off any straps and lock wheels that can cause a bag to get stuck on a conveyor belt.
- Never pack anything valuable or that you cannot go without (like a laptop, medication, jewelry, important documents).
- Consider a TSA-approved lock. Please be aware that this is limited protection and may alert an unscrupulous person that something of value is in your bag. (The only time I experienced theft from my suitcase was when I had a lock on it.)
- Avoid checking expensive-looking bags; cloth bags are less appealing to thieves than leather bags.
- Know your rights. Be sure to review the airline’s policy on its website if something goes wrong.