If your luggage was delayed, your insurance policy can help pay for essentials. The amount paid, and how it’s paid, varies depending on the insurer and the policy you get.
Don’t confuse this type of cover with travel delay cover. Travel delay cover protects you when you or your transport doesn’t arrive. Luggage delay cover is also not the same as general luggage and personal effects cover, which covers you if your bags are stolen or permanently lost. Luggage delay cover is an allowance for the essentials you need to buy while waiting for your bags.
What to do if your luggage is delayed
If your luggage is delayed, inform your insurer as soon as you can and get a written confirmation of the delay from your airline. With the right policy, you can then get reimbursed for essentials, such as clothing, toiletries or other necessary items, that you bought while waiting for your bags to arrive. This type of claim is generally excess-free.
Your policy won’t pay for non-essential items such as fragrances, alcohol, sporting equipment or entertainment items.
To make sure your allowance for essentials is high enough, most policies will typically increase the allowance based on the number of people covered by your travel insurance.
The differences between policies
Length of the waiting period. Some policies will only pay out for delays of a full day, while others will reimburse you after only a few hours.
What you can buy. Some policies will specify the purchases that you can claim.
Limits. You will have limits on the amount you can claim within a specific time period. For example, a policy might let you claim $200 for every 12 hours your luggage is delayed. This will generally cap out at a certain amount, regardless of how long the delay is overall.
In certain situations, depending on your insurer and your policy, your claim may be denied. Your insurance will not pay out in the following situations:
If you’re on the way back home
If you try to claim non-essential purchases
If your bags were detained by customs official or other authorities
If you were sending your bags separately
If your luggage was handled by someone other than your transport provider
It's worth noting that, if your luggage never turns up and you make a claim for the lost or stolen bags, your payout may be reduced by the amount you've already claimed under your delayed luggage allowance.
Yes, you can claim compensation for delayed luggage, usually after 12 hours without it. Just make sure you get written confirmation from your carrier that your luggage has been delayed. You will need this when you make a claim.
Yes, most comprehensive travel insurance policies can cover you if your luggage is delayed – but not when you're travelling home. It lets you claim for essential items after your luggage has been delayed for a specific period of time (often between 12 and 24 hours).
Baggage delay insurance covers essential items you need as part of your trip, such as toiletries. It won't cover non-essential items. Non-essential items is considered anything that you don't immediately need.
It's typically around $200 but it can go as high as $1,500, depending on the insurer and the number of people on the policy. For example, family policies usually come with a higher allowance.
Gary Ross Hunter is an editor at Finder, specialising in insurance. He’s been writing about life, travel, home, car, pet and health insurance for over 6 years and regularly appears as an insurance expert in publications including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian and news.com.au. Gary holds a Kaplan Tier 2 General Advice General Insurance certification which meets the requirements of ASIC Regulatory Guide 146 (RG146).
This article examines what is and isn’t covered by missed flight travel insurance and also takes a look at other types of trip interruption and cancellation cover.
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