What to do if your belongings get damaged or lost during your travels? Are you prepared that it may be unrecoverable by the airline at fault? The frustration inflates if you were travelling as a family, which means many more items lost. As a solo traveller, you could only salvage whatever that’s left in your hand luggage.

This seems disastrous. If you’re planning for a trip soon, remember to buy your travel insurance and keep these GoBear tips close to your heart:

1) Standard Procedures

There’s a 21 day waiting period, after which, airlines will bear the responsibility. According to the Montreal Convention, and previously the Warsaw Convention, airlines are liable to cover for the missing baggage and its contents.

To initiate your claim, airlines will request a complete list of the contents in the luggage with their approximate monetary value.

Keep in mind that:

  • The actual worth of your belongings may not align with the value assigned by the airline.
  • To justify your claims, airlines may ask for purchase receipts of the contents.
  • Airlines and travel insurance may not cover lost items listed as “valuables” or “perishables” under their terms and conditions. It’s worth noting that some airlines may cover certain valuables under their excess valuation protection service, which requires an extra fee. 
  • After agreeing on the worth of the lost items, airlines will issue a settlement agreement and a discharge of liability.

2) Compensation from Travel Insurance

Travel insurance coverage will pick up where the airline coverage might have left off – the value differences in lost items. In order to make a claim to your insurance company and get reimbursed up to the limit stated by your plan or policy, you must present a baggage loss report issued by the airline, in order to proof that the airline has lost your luggage.

Aside from the flight details and baggage loss report, your travel insurance company will also want you to substantiate your claim with the following documents:

  • The purchase receipts of the items listed to substantiate your claim,
  • Photos of the objects themselves to prove ownership, if available.
  • A copy of the settlement agreement, since insurance providers will also want to know the amount that was already paid by the airline.

3) Damaged belongings

Your first course of action is to show present the damaged items to an airline inspector, any right to claims may be void upon leaving the airport. Having before photos of your damaged items may help to better substantiate your claim. Don’t forget to take pictures of your damaged items too, as they may come in handy when you take the case to your travel insurance company.

Although airlines might not cover normal depreciation, any major damage to your luggage will definitely be considered. Ask for a copy of the official report as you’ll need it for claims with the insurance company.

Your compensation is dependent on the airline, which may include:

  • A reimbursement on the costs of repair, for which you’ll need to send them your receipts.
  • The option to repair your luggage at specific authorized luggage repair shops.

 4) Stolen belongings

Your travel insurance should be able to cover this as long as your belongings were not left unattended. To be eligible for reimbursement, you’ll have to:

  • Report the theft within 24 hours of the occurrence
  • Always remember to get a copy of the report so you can present it as proof to the insurance company. Keep in mind that travel insurance plans usually cover items that were stolen while you physically had them in your possession. Any items left behind or stolen while left unattended will be your responsibility. Whichever the situation, travel insurance coverage can save you from the headaches of getting involved in a dispute with your airline.
  • Keep in mind that if you’re planning on taking the occasional trip, single trip insurance will be enough to protect you from lost or damaged belongings during the length of the journey. If you’re a frequent flyer, multi-trip insurance may be a better option.