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What Is Luggage Insurance?

By C. Mitchell
Updated May 17, 2024
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Luggage insurance is a type of insurance policy travelers purchase to protect against loss of or damage to baggage during transit. Often times, luggage insurance is built in to basic travel insurance policies. It is sometimes also offered on its own, particularly through airlines or other commercial travel carriers. Using luggage insurance is usually as simple as choosing a policy, agreeing to its terms, and making claims in compliance with all stated terms and conditions.

Like all insurance, luggage insurance is a way for individuals to limiting risk. The risk at issue here is that luggage will be lost, damaged, or somehow harmed, which can be an unexpected expense for travelers. Baggage insurance providers sell policies in exchange for a promise that if something goes wrong, the provider will pay all associated costs. The cost of a luggage insurance policy is usually a factor of the likelihood of claims being made and the value of the luggage being insured.

Most travel insurance policies have provisions that cover luggage. Traveling insurance is generally designed to cover all aspects of travel, from flight cancellations and missed hotel reservations to baggage that is damaged or lost entirely. The most comprehensive traveler’s insurance policies will cover expenses incurred if luggage is so much as delayed in transit. Travelers with these sorts of luggage insurance policies can often be reimbursed for the purchase price of new clothes and other essentials while waiting for the errant bag to reappear.

Travel insurance is by no means ubiquitous. Luggage insurance on its own is more common. In most cases, airlines and other carriers, such as train operators, are required by national laws to insure ticketed baggage up to a certain monetary amount. This sort of luggage insurance is not really “insurance” in its strictest sense, since the airline is not an insurance corporation, but it operates in just the same way. It is usually quite limited, however.

In most cases, airline insurance policies stipulate that if the airline loses or damages a bag, it is required to pay up to the capped amount as an insurance payout. Travelers can sometimes elect to purchase additional “valuable goods” coverage to extend the amount they could recoup in case of a claim. This usually has to be done before embarking. The price for insurance extensions varies by carrier, but is usually factored on incremental steps. Insurance can be purchased up to a certain amount for one price, then up to a higher amount for a correspondingly higher price, and so on.

Even the most expensive luggage policies have conditions and limitations. These are often referred to as a policy’s “fine print.” Conditions vary, but often include such things as exclusions for luggage lost to theft, exclusions for luggage damaged through no fault of the airline or other carrier, and restrictions on the time line for claims to be filed. Luggage insurance rarely covers every sort of luggage mishap, and travelers would be well served to read all terms and conditions before purchasing a policy or policy extension.

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