Is baggage insurance worth it?

Picture the scene… you’ve arrived but your bags haven’t. You might be without your essentials for a few days, and if it’s a short trip, you can forget being reunited with your luggage before heading home. Would baggage insurance have helped? Here’s our all-important guide.

Picture the scene… you’ve arrived but your bags haven’t. You might be without your essentials for a few days, and if it’s a short trip, you can forget being reunited with your luggage before heading home. Would baggage insurance have helped? Here’s our all-important guide.

Kate Hughes
Insurance expert
5
minute read
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Last Updated 24 JUNE 2022

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: please check the latest government travel advice that sets out what you need to do, if anything, before you travel abroad and before you return home. You should also check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through. Travel rules can change at short notice, so check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for the latest information.

What is baggage cover?

Baggage cover (also known as baggage insurance and luggage insurance) covers you if your bag gets lost, stolen or damaged. It’s usually included with standard travel insurance, but it’s always a good idea to double-check that the level of cover suits your needs (and your bags).

Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions

If you have a serious health condition, the price you pay for travel insurance is likely to be more expensive. However, there are still many providers out there and you should be able to find affordable cover. Whatever happens, don’t be tempted to lie to an insurance provider, because if you do and then need to make a claim, it could be rejected.

When you declare medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show quotes from insurance providers who will cover all declared medical conditions, with no exclusions.

MoneyHelper has launched a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone if you have more serious medical conditions. Find more information at MoneyHelper or by calling them on 0800 138 7777.

What happens if the airline damages my bags?

We’ve all seen suitcases that look a little worse for wear circling the carousel. If that bag turns out to be yours and it’s been damaged by airport staff, your travel insurance might be able to cover it. 

If you do find your bags have been damaged as you arrive to take them, make sure you report the damage before you leave the airport and fill out any necessary forms. You may receive a Property Irregularity Report (also known as PIR) or its equivalent. You’ll probably need that paperwork to make a claim on your policy.

 

What if my bags are stolen?

Your travel insurance might be able to cover this too. But again, make sure you report the theft to the police as soon as you’re aware. You’ll need to get a crime reference number from them to complete your claim.

Reporting the theft promptly is crucial, as some policies have exclusions if a theft is not reported within a certain time limit – usually within 24 hours.

 

Is there such a thing as delayed bag compensation? 

Yes, there is. But you won’t find it on a standard travel insurance policy. Travel insurance won’t cover delayed bags, but if your bags are temporarily lost by your airline, they may pay to replace items like clothes and toiletries. You’ll need to make a claim against the airline within 21 days from receiving the delayed bag. Check before you leave the airport, though, as not all airlines are created equal when it comes to compensation.

Does baggage insurance have any exclusions? 

Yes. Most travel policies have exclusions when it comes to dealing with your baggage cover. You probably won’t be covered for: 

  • Personal baggage and/or cash left unattended.
  • Items in transit that have been checked in by your airline (however unfair that seems).
  • Valuables that are not kept with you or locked in a safe, if one is available at your accommodation.
  • Items left unattended in your vehicle, unless they’re locked in a glove compartment, boot or luggage box and there are obvious signs of a break-in.
  • Any items that aren’t covered by your travel insurance – watch out for belongings you might need extra cover for, such as gadgets and sports equipment.
  • Items owned by a business or that are used for business purposes.
  • Thefts that aren’t reported to the police immediately – remember that all-important 24 hours. 

As always, read your policy carefully so you know exactly what’s covered and what’s not.

How much baggage cover do I need?

Insurance providers usually set a limit on the amount that they will pay out if your baggage is lost, stolen or damaged and according to MoneyHelper, a good policy should cover at least £1,500 of personal belongings. 

If that isn’t enough to cover all your baggage, including the cost of your bags themselves, you can find policies with higher limits. They’re especially useful if you’re taking valuables, carting high end sports equipment around or have designer luggage worthy of an A-lister. 

Watch out for single-item limits, though. A single-item limit is the maximum an insurance provider will pay towards any single item. So, if you have an expensive piece of kit, like a laptop or a camera, and your bag gets stolen, you might find yourself out of pocket if the limit is lower than your kit is worth. 

If you’re travelling with a set of golf clubs, for example, or on a business trip with your company laptop, always check carefully what cover is provided.

What does policy excess mean on my baggage cover? 

The excess on an insurance policy is the amount that you’ll have to pay towards a claim before your provider picks up the bill for the rest. It’s usually somewhere between £50 and £250 for baggage cover, but it could be higher. 

Altering the excess is one way to cut the cost of cover – the higher the excess, the cheaper your policy could be. But insurance tends to be one of those ‘you get what you pay for’ products, so be wary about going for the cheapest policy, with a sky-high excess – you may end up forking out more than your belongings are worth.

Compare travel insurance with baggage cover 

Comparing travel insurance with us is quick and easy. Just gives us a few details about yourself, where you’re going, and the type of cover you need. 

You’ll be able to compare policies based on price, level of cover and the excess amount. You’ll also have the option to add any extra cover – though this can bump up the price of your policy. Remember, baggage cover should already be included as standard, so only buy extra cover if you really need it.

Frequently asked questions

Is my mobile phone covered by baggage insurance?

Yes, your mobile phone should be covered by your standard travel insurance policy. 

Read the small print carefully, though. Your provider might only cover your phone for a limited amount – £100, for example – which won’t be much consolation if your top-of-the-range iPhone disappears. You may want to consider travel gadget insurance for a higher level of cover.

What extras can I add to my travel insurance?

If you’re taking expensive items with you, it might be worth adding extra cover to your standard travel insurance policy, as limits tend to be higher, such as: 

  • Travel gadget insurance – a higher level of cover for valuable tech like smartphones, tablets, Kindles and wearables.
  • Golf insurance – specific cover for golfing holidays, which includes accidental loss, theft or damage to golf equipment like clubs, bags and shoes.
  • Ski travel insurance – offers a higher level of cover for skiers and their own (or hired) skiing equipment.
  • Wedding cover – additional cover for your wedding dress, accessories, rings and wedding gifts.

Just be aware that you’ll need to pay extra for any add-ons. Check your standard policy first and only buy the extra cover if you really need it.

Are baby accessories covered by baggage insurance?

We understand, kids – or, more specifically, all their accessories – are expensive. If you’re travelling with a baby or toddler, a standard travel insurance policy should cover items like car seats, buggies, and travel cots. Just check with your insurance provider to be sure, in case you need extra cover for larger items. Make sure the total you’re covered for is sufficient for all of your baby’s belongings too.

Be aware that buggies and travel cots may also need to be securely packed or wrapped before going into the aircraft hold to ensure that they’re covered by your policy for damage etc.

Are business items covered by baggage insurance?

Standard travel insurance doesn’t often cover items owned by a business or used for business purposes. So if you’re on a business trip and taking your work laptop with you on holiday, you’ll need specialist business travel insurance. Meanwhile, if you take out a business travel policy, check the terms and conditions carefully, as you might need to add extra cover for your personal belongings.

Do I need travel insurance if I have a GHIC card?

Yes. You should get still get travel insurance even if you have a Global Health Insurance Card. While a GHIC can give you access to necessary medical treatment in EU countries and Switzerland, it won’t cover repatriation or non-health related mishaps, such as lost, stolen or damaged baggage, cancellations, delays or any number of other issues covered by standard travel insurance policies.

How can I keep my baggage safe while I’m on holiday?

The loss, damage or theft of your belongings could ruin an otherwise brilliant break. To make matters worse, your insurance claim could be rejected if carelessness was the cause. 

Here are our favourite top tips for keeping your belongings safe (and properly insured) while you’re on holiday: 

  • Use the safe – if your accommodation has a safe, use it to lock away valuable items like jewellery and passports.
  • Lock your suitcase – a combination lock is a cheap and simple deterrent for opportunistic thieves.
  • Wrap your luggage – most airports now offer a plastic-wrap service to protect your luggage from damage, tampering and theft.
  • Wear a money belt – a practical way of keeping money, cards and documents close and secure while you’re sightseeing.
  • Use your common sense – take extra care in tourist areas where pickpockets are rife. Avoid wearing jewellery in crowded places and don’t hang your bag on the back of chairs in busy bars and restaurants.

Read more top tips for keeping your belongings safe on holiday.

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