In response to increasing numbers of airlines insisting that passengers allow their hand luggage to be placed in the hold of aircraft due to a lack of space in overhead lockers, Allianz Global Assistance UK has warned travellers to make sure they know where they stand in the event that this happens. Unfortunately, holidaymakers whose hand luggage is put into the hold and who subsequently have valuable items lost, stolen or damaged, may not be covered by travel insurance.
Allianz is urging travellers to: ensure that their luggage is labelled clearly inside in the event that tags are lost; to remove valuable items before bags are put in the hold; to immediately report any lost, stolen or damaged items; to make all claims to airlines in writing within the allotted time limits (typically seven days for lost, stolen or damaged items and 21 days for delayed luggage); and to check FCO travel advice for destination countries before travelling, as this could affect what items a traveller takes on holiday with them.
“If you are travelling abroad by plane this summer it is possible that you may have your hand luggage taken off you and put into the hold, as many aircrafts today simply do not have the capacity to carry all hand luggage in the cabin,” said Barry Smith, Underwriting Manager for Allianz Global Assistance in the UK. “If this happens to you, you must ensure you remove all valuables, such as wallets, keys, laptops and mobile phones, before they take the case away and put it in the hold. Typically, travel insurance policies will not cover an individual for valuables that unexpectedly go missing from hold-stored luggage. If hold luggage is lost, delayed or damaged in transit it is the airline that is liable. Therefore, it is important that you inform the airline as soon as possible if there is an issue with your luggage.”
He added: “People automatically assume that their travel insurance policy will provide cover in the event of their luggage being lost, damaged or stolen whilst in the care of an airline, but this is not necessarily the case. To ensure holidaymakers are reimbursed or reunited with their belongings they need to be aware of the right action to take, and take it as quickly as possible.”