Delayed or lost baggage can be a major pain. Even with insurance, arriving in a foreign city without your stuff makes for a bad start to the trip. You’ll have to put up your own funds to re-buy the essentials until fully or partially reimbursed weeks later.
However, if you wait too long to report missing baggage, you might decrease the amount of compensation you receive. Thus, it’s important to report missing baggage as quickly as possible to launch an investigation and determine if your valuables are lost, misplaced or delayed.
Use a Baggage Tracker
Most transportation companies, especially airlines, tag your baggage and keep track of its location during transit. This enables employees to effortlessly locate missing baggage, redirect it and estimate its arrival.
As useful as this can be, you shouldn’t rely on a third-party tracking system to safely deliver your valuables. Instead, install your own GPS trackers so that you can identify the whereabouts of your stuff anywhere in the world. Such devices help in theft cases too (see more about this below).
File a Claim
When your baggage has been confirmed missing, you must file a claim with the transportation service’s baggage office. Here, you’ll be given a form to describe your bag and its contents. If the bag is simply delayed or misrouted, then you’ll have to provide a return address. Otherwise, it’s time to negotiate your compensation.
Most transportation companies will compensate “reasonable expenses;” however, this seldom covers the entire value of your luggage. Thus, always carry purchase receipts to leverage as negotiation power. If not money, you can sometimes request extra reimbursement through free comps and services.
If you claim through the transportation company, you can still file with your insurer. This helps offset the difference you’ll inevitably be left with to pay out of pocket.
What If Your Baggage Is Stolen?
If the transportation service successfully delivers your baggage but someone steals it in the station, you must escalate this matter to the authorities. For example, if someone lifts your suitcase when it comes around on the baggage carousel, this is a criminal act that you must report to the police. You can only expect compensation for this if you have proper travel insurance.