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Travel insurers say travellers should know their rights when it comes to their bags not turning up after a flight.

Monday 16th January 2023

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"In the first instance, the airline is responsible for the initial reimbursement of the costs incurred as a result of delayed or lost bags," says Insurance Council of New Zealand Te Kāhui Inihua o Aotearoa (ICNZ) Consumer Affairs Manager Sarah Knox, "it’s after that travel insurance comes into play."

Airlines are part of the Montreal Convention, an international agreement providing the traveller with the right to seek compensation from the airline if their bags do not turn up after a flight. Under the agreement, there is an initial time limit after which items can be claimed from the airline. Good airlines have information about the process and claim forms on their websites.

Travellers should contact their travel insurer once they have received an outcome from the airline. If they have not received the total amount claimed from the airline, the traveller can claim for the difference. An insurance claim should include all of the relevant documentation from the airline detailing what was and wasn’t covered plus any receipts or other proof of ownership of lost items.

"Travel insurers that are members of ICNZ have seen an enormous increase in claims for delayed bags. This is not just an issue affecting those landing at airports in Aotearoa New Zealand, or particular airlines, it’s affecting all carriers and airports across the world," Sarah said.

Travel insurers have the following advice for travellers:

- Plan ahead - think carefully about what goes in your carry-on and checked luggage. Keep must have items such as valuables and medication with you. 

- If possible, book long haul trips with few stopovers to minimise the opportunity for bags to miss connections and, if possible, allow a little more time between transfers, especially if you have to uplift and recheck your bags before boarding a connecting flight.

- Avoid putting valuables, like jewellery or electronics in a checked bag. 

- Be sure to have your baggage receipt. It’s also a good idea to take a picture of your bag.

- Make sure each item of checked luggage has a secure bag tag that includes your name and phone number, including your international dialling code.

- Consider using airtags or similar so you can track your bag on your phone. Check with your airline about their use.

"Knowing there are conventions in place to allow you to quickly replace delayed or lost items, and to apply for a top up if necessary from your travel insurer, should help reduce frustration if bags are delayed or lost," added Sarah. 


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