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Holiday Troubles? What to do if Your Bags Are Delayed

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It's every holiday maker's nightmare come true—you excitedly wait at the baggage carousel to collect your luggage, leave the airport and properly start your holiday. But as the other passengers depart with their bags, and you watch the now-empty carousel go around and around with no sign of your luggage, you realize your bags haven't made it.

Not all travel insurance plans cover delayed baggage—but many do. If you have delayed baggage cover through travel insurance, it's important to know the next steps if you want to be reimbursed for your troubles. While the terms and conditions differ from policy to policy (and we wholeheartedly recommend reading yours in depth), here is a high level overview of common requirements you'll need to satisfy in order to make a valid Delayed Baggage claim.

How Delayed Personal Baggage Cover Works

If your bags are delayed on your outward journey for more than 12 hours from the time you arrive at your trip destination (e.g., you made the flight but your luggage didn't), then Delayed Personal Baggage cover pays for some essentials like toiletries, medication and clothing—up to a limit. Sometimes this feature is called Delayed Personal Belongings instead. Typically, the reimbursement is structured so that you'll get a fixed amount (e.g., £50) for every full 12 hours of delay, up to a maximum limit (e.g., £150).

picture showing holidaymakers waiting for bags at a luggage carousel

If your missing items are not found and you claim under lost Baggage, then any amounts paid under Delayed Baggage will be deducted from the final claim settlement under (lost) Baggage cover.

How to Claim for Delayed Personal Belongings

In order to make a successful claim for Delayed Baggage, you'll need to meet some requirements. These will vary from policy to policy, so please check the fine print of yours to make sure you comply. The following is a recap of some common requirements needed to successfully claim for delayed luggage.

  • Written confirmation from the carrier confirming the number of hours the baggage was delayed (this could be a Property Irregularity Report within the time limit shown in the airline’s conditions of carriage to show how long you were without your personal belongings)
  • Keep the receipts for any essential replacement items you need to buy or hire
  • Keep your tickets and luggage tags

When Personal Belonging Delays Aren't Covered

Delayed Baggage cover will typically only reimburse for delayed luggage on your outward journey—that is, when you're heading to your holiday destination. If your luggage is delayed on the return journey home, you won't be able to claim. This makes sense, really, as once you're home you have access to other clothing and personal items to tide you over until your bags are returned to you.

There may be other exclusions for Delayed Baggage, which you can find in your policy wording.

Travel Insurance Policies with Delayed Baggage

If you haven't travelled yet, it's worth looking into travel insurance to provide some protection for delayed baggage (and other mishaps). You'll need to buy cover before you leave the UK—in fact it's best to buy cover as soon as you've booked a trip, to get the most out of cancellation cover.

If you want travel insurance with Baggage Delay cover, below is a list of some Travel Insurance Providers we've reviewed that offer Delayed Baggage cover. Note that the feature may only be offered on some (more premium) plans from a given provider, not all plans.

Travel Insurance Plans with Baggage Delay Cover

Travel Insurance ProviderPlan Name
AAStandard, Essential
AdmiralAdmiral, Admiral Gold, Admiral Platinum
AvivaAviva Travel Insurance
AxaBronze, Silver, Gold
CoverForYouEmerald, Ruby, Diamond, Silver, Gold, Platinum
CoverwiseGold only
Direct LineDirect Line Travel Insurance
DebenhamsStandard, Superior, Luxury
Insure and GoLight Economy, Economy Plus, Premium, Budget, Silver, Gold, Black
SagaSaga Travel Insurance
Sainsbury's BankEssential, Standard, Premier, Silver, Gold, Platinum
TescoIncluded on Standard and Finest; optional extra on Everyday Value
Travelinsurance.co.ukBronze, Silver, Gold (not Super Saver, Saver, Economy)
Virgin MoneyRed, Silver, Gold, Black (not Essential Plus)

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Comments and Questions

The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.