Loss of luggage

What will travel insurance cover?

Sometimes, holidaymakers can be in for a nasty surprise. Karen and Gerald had not imagined that their trip to New Zealand would get off to such as bad start. Soon after their luggage was deposited in the hotel lobby, it disappeared without a trace.

After the twenty-hour flight from Zurich to Auckland, Karen was not as alert as she would otherwise have been. And her exhausted husband was staring into space instead of keeping an eye on the luggage. This was perfect for the thieves. They involved the couple in a conversation at reception, while accomplices quickly cleared away the luggage trolley – then disappeared with the cases.

Who pays what?

They still had their papers, wallets and mobile phone in their rucksacks. That was the good news. They were also reassured by the fact that they had taken out travel insurance before they left. They also had luggage insurance, which was included in their contents insurance – and a credit card, which also offered some protection. The trouble was, they didn’t know which insurance policy covered what.

Contents insurance

The contents insurer informed Karen and Gerald that their luggage was covered up to 2,000 francs, with a deductible of 300 francs to pay. When they originally took out their insurance, they selected the “luggage” option, which cost them 20 francs extra each year

However, their luggage would have been covered without this option, because the incident fell under the cover provided by “simple theft away from home”. Nevertheless, choosing the luggage option also worked in Karen and Gerald's favour, as it included benefits such as payment of an immediate advance for urgently required items such as personal hygiene products – or for the snorkel, that they now needed to buy for a trip they had already booked.

Credit card

The trip was paid for on Gerald’s credit card, so he contacted the provider. He discovered that luggage is not insured as standard – they would have had to include the “luggage” option, which cost 70 francs per year extra.

Travel insurance

Because Karen and Gerald travel several times a year, they had taken out an annual travel insurance policy. They found out that the “luggage” option entitled them to up to 2,000 francs compensation in the event of loss or damage. Although the deductible was 200 francs, the option was not particularly cheap at 170 francs per year.

What they decided

Karen and Gerald eventually reported the loss to their travel insurance provider. For the future, though, they both decided that the “luggage” option in their contents insurance was sufficient, and will cancel the option on their annual travel policy at the next opportunity.

Are you looking for full insurance cover for your trip? If so, it’s worth having your insurance policies checked and revised by experts, free of charge.


Travel insurance tips

  • How to make a claim – quickly and easily
    • Report the incident to your insurance company immediately – don’t wait until you get home from your holiday. You can also claim for any telephone costs arising in connection with the claim. Tip: Many insurance companies have an online form for reporting the basic details of the incident as a first step – the agency will then contact you. This can be useful when there is a time difference, for example.
    • Report the incident to the local police straightaway, because the insurance company will always require a police report.
    • You will also need to fill out the insurance company's claim form – you can download this from the website or it will be sent to you when you report the loss or damage. It includes a section for listing stolen items. Alternatively, you can prepare your own list.
    • Stolen items will be reimbursed at their original value. This means that you will receive the amount you need to purchase a new product of the same value.
      Note: Keep all the receipts for any replacement items you need to purchase at your holiday destination, such as toiletries, clothes, camera and suitcase.

    Then, when you return, send in the original receipts for the stolen items as soon as possible. If this is not possible for every item, the insurance company will determine an amount for the listed items and may ask for more details.

    Beware of exclusions: Valuables like jewellery or expensive photography equipment are not usually considered luggage and will quickly exceed the sum insured anyway. You should insure them separately for the appropriate value and not keep them in your suitcase. Contents insurance offers suitable options to cover you for simple theft away from home.

  • Save on luggage insurance – how much do you really need?
    • Some insurance companies offer separate luggage insurance options. Cover ranges from 2,000 to 10,000 francs or more. This is ideal for holidaymakers who want to insure their luggage separately for each individual trip. The cost is around 50 to 200 francs per trip.
    • There are a range of (annual) travel insurance policies that offer a "luggage option”. The benefits and premiums vary considerably and should be checked and compared in detail.
    • You can add the “luggage” option to the travel cover on your credit card, although some premium cards include this as standard. For your claim to be successful, you must have paid for 60 to 80 per cent of your trip using the credit card. The cost is around 70 francs per year.
    • Most contents insurance plans also include an option for insuring your luggage. Comparis saving tip: Holidaymakers who have contents insurance anyway and whose luggage value is not excessive can take advantage of this option and avoid the expensive alternatives. This costs from 20 francs per year.

For more information about the “luggage” option within contents insurance, see the product descriptions of the individual insurance providers in our contents insurance comparison.

If your current contents insurer does not provide this option, it is worth switching.