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How to act if your baggage is lost or damaged during your vacation?

[Ly Jõhvik | 01.08]

Baggage being damaged, lost or stolen during a trip is not something that is on anyone's wish list, which is why it is important to know how to behave in such a situation, to ensure that you receive the maximum benefit from your insurance.

According to Ly Jõhvik, Head of the Loss Adjustment Department at Seesam, the average baggage insurance indemnity in 2016 was EUR 255. The largest payment involved the indemnification of stolen baggage in the amount of EUR 2154 and the smallest was EUR 3, which was spent purchasing a pair of tights due to delayed arrival of baggage.

‘Notwithstanding the amount of damage, baggage insurance provides the most benefit when the person already makes the right choice at the moment of assessing the value of the baggage and knows how to fix the incident,' stated Jõhvik.

Select the limit of indemnity based on the value of your baggage

When selecting the insured sum, the insurer recommends basing your decision on the total value of your baggage, which, in addition to the clothing, shoes, toiletries, and electronics contained in the suitcase, also includes the cost of the suitcase or bag itself.

‘In our experience, people are generally able to quite accurately estimate the value of their baggage, and situations in which the insured sum does not cover lost baggage are infrequent. However, many people fail to realise that the baggage for each traveller must be insured separately, including that of children, unless the terms and conditions of the contract specify otherwise.’

Each insurance undertaking adheres to specific policy conditions when it comes to compensating damage, which is why it is very important that they be read carefully. Attention should definitely also be paid to the list of items, damage to which the insurance undertaking will not compensate. Jõhvik recommends that, ‘if you are looking to insure a specific item, then you should ask an experienced insurance worker for advice'.

When heading out on a trip, Seesam’s representative recommends that you not place photo and video equipment, telephones, computers, tablets and their accessories, and identity documents in the general baggage compartment, instead keeping them under your own watchful eye.

Verification is made easy by photographing your baggage

‘If your baggage has been lost, stolen, or damaged during your trip, you will need to submit a list of the items inside to your insurance undertaking, along with documents related to purchase, if possible. Compensation limits will apply in the case of the absence of corresponding documents,’ explained Jõhvik.

For many years the insurer's own precautions have included photographing the contents of the travel bag, which is a great help if baggage should be lost during the flight or if the items acquired during the trip were purchased with cash.

In the case of damage to baggage, the availability of a telephone or camera will help, since pictures of the damaged object, in which the extent of the damage, the size of the object, the acquiring company and other important details necessary for its identification, will need to be taken and sent to the insurer. Damaged valuable objects must be kept until the insurer has determined the extent of the damage.

‘If during the course of travel your baggage should happen to fall into the possession of thieves, you should immediately contact the local police and file a report, and hold onto all received documents and submit them to the insurance undertaking. The same applies to baggage lost during travel by air, in which case the application must be submitted to the airline instead of the police. Supporting documents, which help to more easily resolve the incident, should not be forgotten,' emphasised Jõhvik, who also recommended that any damage be photographed immediately following an incident and that documents be taken care of, to make sure that there are no unpleasant surprises that will have to be dealt with later on.