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There’s nothing more daunting than watching a luggage carousel go round at the airport, without your belongings on it. But what steps can you take to prevent a lost suitcase from ruining your trip?
Here we offer seven top tips on what to do if your luggage doesn’t reach your holiday destination, as well as the cover you need to keep an eye out for should you need to make a claim.
Keep valuables or medication in your hand luggage
Here at Holidaysafe, we always recommend to avoid packing any items of value or even medication in your checked-in luggage. The reason we say this is because items that go in the hold have an increased risk of going missing, being stolen, or even being damaged. Plus, should your bag not arrive at your holiday destination, you risk being stuck without essentials, such as medication, until the airline can reunite you with your bag.
It’s also worth knowing that the majority of travel insurers exclude cover for valuables, electronic items or money that have gone missing or been stolen while left unattended. This includes while being in the hold. For this reason, we suggest keeping any valuables or medication in your hand luggage, and close to you, at all times.
Check that your definition of a ‘valuable’ is the same as your travel insurers
Sometimes, your definition of a valuable item may differ from your insurers, which is why it’s important to make sure that you’re covered for what you expect to be covered for ahead of your trip. For example, here at Holidaysafe, we define rings, watches, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets, as valuables in our policy wording. Whereas laptops and mobile phones are classed as gadgets. These both have different cover limits – which means different amounts that you can claim up to, should you need to.
Check that the cover limit matches the items value
Okay, so you know what valuables you’re taking with you on holiday. And you’ve checked that your policy offers cover for it. Now what? Well, now you need to make sure that there is adequate cover within the cover limit should the item get lost or go missing (basically, what is the amount that you can claim up to and does it match how much your valuable costs). Some travel insurers will detail the amount that you can up to as a total amount, while others will list it as per item – something worth considering!
It’s also worth being aware that if you have insurance for your valuables elsewhere, for example, under your home or contents insurance, then your travel insurer will ask that you claim under this policy first. This can actually work in your favour as there are actually lower claim limits in travel insurance policies for this very reason!
Have evidence of ownership available
Now, should you need to submit a claim to your insurer for lost, damaged or stolen belongings, then it’s likely you’ll be asked to provide evidence of ownership and the item’s age and value, if relevant. You may be able to use a copy of the receipt, a gift receipt, a bank or credit card statement, email confirmation, or insurance valuation certificates as proof. However, your insurer will explain exactly what confirmation they need to move forward with the claim.
Make sure you fill out a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) form if your luggage goes missing
Prepare for the worst, hope for the best. If you do end up in the unfortunate situation where your luggage has gone missing, then you must report this to your airline and complete a Property Irregularity Report before you leave the airport. Your travel insurer will also for a copy of this report as part of the claims process so it is essential you complete this.
Report any stolen or missing valuables or belongings
If you find that valuable items or belongings are missing from your checked-in luggage (even during your trip) then you should alert the local police as soon as possible, as well as your transport provider or tour operator. You will need to make sure the police note down the date and time that you realised your items had gone missing as part of an incident report. Make sure you keep a copy of the police report as you may need to submit this as evidence to your travel insurer during the claims process.
Other top tips for keeping your luggage safe
Apart from decorating your suitcase in colourful ribbons, securing the zip with a sturdy lock and popping on an identification tag, you can also follow some of the below steps to help reduce any stress, should your luggage not turn up on time:
Take a snap of your luggage contents and pop in a note: When packing your suitcase, it’s always wise to take a picture of the content of your luggage should you later need to make a claim for any of your belongings. It can also be a good idea to insert a piece of paper in your suitcase that details your name and contact number, just in case someone were to pick your luggage up by mistake!
Share a case with a travel companion: If there’s more than one of you travelling, then it is always sensible to split your clothes and toiletries between two or more cases. That way, should one of the cases not arrive at the holiday destination, at least you’ll have some belongings to get by with until your suitcase is recovered.
Carry essential items in your hand luggage: Whether it’s extra baby formula, some spare medication, or even a phone charger. Keep the items that you cannot get by without in your hand luggage. After all, everything else you take on holiday with you could probably be bought if worst came to worst! Of course, you must always check what items are permitted on your flight and in the country you are visiting beforehand. You can find this information on your airline’s website, as well as the UK government site.
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