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Is baggage insurance worth it?

Is it worth paying to insure your luggage? Here’s what you need to know about baggage insurance, including what it covers, what it doesn’t and when it pays out. See how it can help when you arrive at your holiday destination but your bags don’t.

Is it worth paying to insure your luggage? Here’s what you need to know about baggage insurance, including what it covers, what it doesn’t and when it pays out. See how it can help when you arrive at your holiday destination but your bags don’t.

Written by
Kate Hughes
Insurance expert
Last Updated
15 MAY 2023
7 min read
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What is baggage insurance?

Baggage insurance (also known as luggage insurance) covers you if your bag is 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.

What does baggage insurance cover?

Baggage insurance and personal effects insurance covers you if the personal possessions you take with you when you travel are damaged, lost or stolen.

You may also be able to make a claim if your luggage is delayed and you need to buy replacement items while you wait for it turn up.

The baggage insurance part of travel insurance typically covers the things you carry or wear up to a specified limit. Policies typically offer different cover limits for different types of belongings. And there may be a limit to what the policy will pay out for an individual item, as well as a total overall limit.

When you make a valid claim under your travel insurance policy, the pay-out will cover the cost of replacing or repairing your baggage.

What’s not covered by baggage insurance?

Baggage insurance probably won’t cover you for:

  • Personal baggage and/or cash left unattended.
  • Items in transit that have been checked in by your airline (however unfair that seems). The airline should pay compensation.
  • Items damaged by leaking powder or fluid carried in your baggage.
  • Valuables that aren’t kept with you or not 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 sports equipment or expensive items over the single item limit, such as jewellery or valuable gadgets.
  • Items owned by a business or that are used for business purposes.
  • Thefts that aren’t reported to the police immediately – your policy will set out the time limits.
  • Missing or damaged baggage that hasn’t been reported to the transport company or if you don’t have a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) from them.

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

How much baggage insurance do I need?

According to MoneyHelper, a good policy should cover at least £1,500 of personal belongings. But the amount of cover you need will depend on what you take away with you, how much it’s worth and what it would cost to replace.

If £1,500 isn’t enough to cover all your baggage, including the value of your actual bags, you can find travel insurance policies with higher limits for valuables. They’re especially useful if you’re taking jewellery, expensive high-end sports equipment or have designer luggage and clothing.

But watch out for the single-item limit. This is the maximum an insurance provider will pay out for any one item that’s lost or stolen.

What is a policy excess and how does it affect luggage insurance?

The excess on an insurance policy is the amount you have to pay if you make a claim. It’s usually £50 to £250 for baggage cover, but it could be higher.

Altering the excess is one way to cut the cost of insurance – the higher the excess you opt to pay, the cheaper your policy could be. But be sure you can afford to pay the excess if you need to make a claim.

Can I get compensation for a delay in my bags arriving?

Yes, but you’ll need to apply for compensation from the airline as travel insurance doesn’t cover delayed bags. Typically, you’ll need to make a claim with the airline within 21 days of receiving the delayed bag.

If an airline fails to return your checked-in baggage, your insurance provider may wait until your baggage has been declared permanently lost before they’ll consider a claim for missing baggage. It may take the airline around 60 days to do this.

If your bags are temporarily lost by the airline, travel insurance might pay out to replace items like clothes and toiletries. There might be minimum number of hours delay before a policy will pay out.

If you claim for baggage delay then go on to claim for permanently lost baggage, you may find that your insurance provider deducts any payments made for delayed baggage from your final payment.

What happens if the airline damages my bags?

You may be able to claim on your insurance if your bag is damaged when you collect it from the airport carousel.

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 travel insurance.

What if my bags are stolen?

Your travel insurance could cover this too. But make sure you report the theft to the police as soon as you’re aware. Policies typically state you need to do this within 24 hours.

You’ll need to get a crime reference number from the police to complete your insurance claim.

You won’t be able to claim on your insurance if you left your bags unattended or in plain sight in a car. Read your policy carefully so you know what’s expected from you to keep your belongings safe.

 

How much is baggage insurance?

Baggage insurance is part of travel insurance. You generally don’t have to insure your baggage separately unless you’re taking high-value items.

A single trip travel policy for a 20-year-old with no pre-existing medical conditions travelling in Europe for one week can cost from £8. Price correct as of March 2023.

Customers with pre-existing medical conditions

If you have a serious health condition, your travel insurance is likely to be more expensive. Whatever happens, don’t lie to an insurance provider, because this could mean your claim is rejected. When you declare any medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show you quotes from insurance providers who will cover them, with no exclusions.

If your condition is more serious, MoneyHelper has a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone. You can call them on 0800 138 7777.

Compare travel insurance with baggage cover

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

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?

Your mobile phone should be covered by your standard travel insurance policy, but read the small print carefully. Your provider might only cover your phone for a limited amount. And it may not be covered at all if it’s stolen while you leave it unattended: for example, on a beach towel while you take a swim.

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 paying for extra cover, 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 skiing equipment.
  • Wedding cover – additional cover for your wedding dress, accessories, rings and wedding gifts.

Check your standard travel insurance policy and only buy extra cover if you really need it.

Are baby accessories covered by baggage insurance?

If you’re travelling with a baby or toddler, a standard travel insurance policy should cover items like car seats, buggies and travel cots. Check with your insurance provider to be sure.

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

Are business items covered by baggage insurance?

Standard travel insurance doesn’t typically cover items owned by a business or used for business purposes. If you’re on a business trip and taking your work laptop, for example, you’ll need specialist business travel insurance

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

Here are some tips for keeping your belongings safe:

  • If your accommodation has a safe, lock away valuable items like jewellery and passports.
  • Lock your suitcase. A combination lock is a good deterrent.
  • Wrap your luggage. Most airports now offer a plastic-wrap service to protect cases from damage and theft.
  • Wear a money belt to keep money, credit cards and documents secure.
  • Use your common sense. Take extra care in tourist areas where pickpockets are rife. Don’t hang your bag on the back of a chair in busy bars and restaurants or leave your phone unattended.

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

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