If your luggage is delayed or lost during your journey, there is potential for you to claim for costs that you incur.
Luggage delays can be an extremely stressful part of travel and it is important that you know what to do in advance, so that you can sort it out with more ease than the average traveller. Knowing your rights is a considerable part of the process; after a specified number of hours you are entitled to compensation from the airline and can usually claim costs they don’t cover you for from your insurer. You should claim through the airline first as your insurer needs confirmation that they aren’t paying for something another party should be. There is legislation called the Montreal Convention that you can refer to in the event that your airline does not assist you fairly where they are liable to:
First we will look at what to do with the simpler event of luggage delay:
Unfailingly, the first thing you do should always be to REPORT YOUR LUGGAGE DELAY to the last airline you flew with/ airport as it will make everything to follow much easier. They will provide you with a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) that you need to keep safe – we suggest taking a photo of it, just in case. Ask the baggage counter attendant what you are entitled to claim for and when.
Depending on who you are flying with, your entitlements will differ. Some airlines will give you a benefit and some will reimburse your expenses from your provided receipts. Even if you are not eligible to claim through your airline after your bags are returned, you may still be able to claim through your insurer (you can claim for essential items and clothing after a delay of 12 hours with Worldcare).
CALL YOUR INSURER to get some advice specific to your situation; you may be eligible for more than you are aware or may need to discuss what is actually available under your policy’s benefit to save yourself purchasing things that you cannot claim for. Also make sure to advise them what the baggage counter told you.
KEEP YOUR RECEIPTS for any costs that you incur for clothing or essential items (toiletries, travel adaptors etc.) while your bags are delayed. Again, we suggest taking photos of these, in case they go missing or get damaged while you are travelling.
Once your bags have been returned to you, make a note of the time and date. If you were not provided with a PIR, keep the ‘rush tags’ that you should find have been attached to them during delivery.
CLAIM THROUGH YOUR AIRLINE OR TRAVEL PROVIDER and keep written confirmation of what they have or have not reimbursed you for the inconvenience caused.
Last, but not least, if there are costs that were not covered by the airline or travel provider, claim through your insurer and provide the documents you have collected from the process: PIR; receipts; rush tags; confirmation of (nil) reimbursement.
The process for bags that are deemed lost is a similar process to above, but you must wait for the airline to officially deem your bags lost before you can claim through them for it.
This can take a few weeks so make sure you keep receipts for any items you replaced while travelling (and after arriving home). You will likely need to provide a detailed list of the items in your suitcase as well as their value and age (your insurance company will also ask for this) – we suggest making a packing list so that you already have one while you are travelling. Provide as much proof of purchase or ownership as you can (receipts, bank statements, photos, packaging, manuals, warranties etc.) to allow them to help you the best they can. The airline will provide settlement in writing that you can then include with any claim you wish to make through your insurance. Keep in mind that your insurer would only be able to cover the lower of either the difference between the original value of your items and airline’s settlement or your policy limit.
If you need any help or advice during an unfortunate even such as luggage delay, don’t forget that your insurer is available to talk to about it – they will have more experience with the process and can give you helpful information.