Firstly some facts and figures:
British Airways lost 23 bags for every 1000 passengers in 2006 – roughly 9 bags missing for every Jumbo jet flight. In 2006, The Association of European Airlines 24 members lost a staggering 5.6 million bags.
Around 85 per cent of these bags are re-united with their owners within 48 hours ( although this may be no consolation if you’re on a 24 hour business trip or stopover!) This means up to 15 per cent of bags are gone forever – which is why Insurance companies recommend your travel insurance policy covers your bags whilst you are in the “care and keeping” of an airline.
Your travel insurer is more likely to give you a satisfactory payout and settlement – even allowing for any excess payments – than the airline, if your baggage is accepted as permanently missing.
Insurance company payouts versus airline payouts :
If your baggage is “delayed” ( this usually means up to 21 days ), you should be able to get a one off payment immediately to allow you to at least buy a change of underwear and some toiletries to tide you over until your bags arrive. This is usually between 50 and 75 pounds.
Your airline may pay out a fixed amount each day to allow you to buy a change of clothing – this type of payment will only usually cover a pre- set number of days. Your airline may be prepared to allow you to buy a reasonable amount of replacement items and reimburse you later. You must keep all receipts to prove the cost of the items you bought.
After 21 days, if your baggage is still missing, the airline should, under the terms of the Montreal Convention, treat it as permanently lost. This means your claim should now be settled – however, the maximum amount you will be offered is approximately 800 pounds and some claimants may be offered considerably less.
According to research, a good travel insurance policy, once your bags have been missing or delayed for 48 hours will pay you around 200 pounds – which will go some way to allowing you to at least buy some clothing and toiletries.
Once your bags are deemed to be permanently lost, a travel insurance policy on average , will settle your claim at a figure somewhere between 1500 and 2000 pounds. The maximum you would be able to claim would probably be 2500 pounds. Do your research before you go. Shop around for the best policy for your needs and make sure you have cover in place before your bags go on the conveyor belt!