Left Luggage and Travel Insurance: A Common Mistake


… This post is brought to you by Compare Insurance …


Most of us have done it at one time or another when we’re travelling: we wake up, check out, leave our luggage with the hotel and go exploring for the day before returning to gather our belongings and heading for the airport / train station / bus terminal / cruise / next adventure

But did you realize that in the time between checking out and returning to pick up your cases they are not covered by travel insurance?

It’s a common mistake to think that if your things did go missing you could claim them back, and it’s a mistake I’ve made myself. Fortunately my suitcases have always been there, but I’ll confess I always assumed if the worst happened I’d be able to put in a claim. I was wrong.

To find out more I turned to Natalie Smith, Digital Marketing Executive from Compare Insurance, who is one of those people who really does read – and understand – all of that information in our insurance policies.

Lulu Guinness luggage

Travel Insurance won’t always cover your luggage

As Natalie explains, travellers are not covered once they have checked out of their hotel, and that we should “refer to the insurers Product Disclosure Statement in the ‘Luggage and Personal Effects – we will not pay’ section.”

Natalie says, “The terminology as explained in a typical PDS is: A person is not covered if the loss, theft, damage is to, or of, items left behind in any hotel or motel room after you have checked out or items left behind in any aircraft, ship, train, tram, taxi or bus.”

And here I thought that was just if you left something behind in your room (or on a plane, or on a train) by mistake; but no, it also applies to those left luggage rooms I’ve been so grateful for in the past.

Natalie says that it’s important to understand what leaving something unattended or unsupervised really means. And that includes:

–       Leaving your things with someone you didn’t know before you started your journey

–       Or leaving them in a position where they can be taken without your knowledge, or

–       Or at such a distance from you that you’re unable to prevent them from being taken.

So besides the left luggage room that also means you could run into problems with your travel insurance if you left your luggage on a conveyor belt at an airport, or in the back of a taxi.

That said, there may be times when an insurer will pay for items that have gone missing under these circumstances, so it’s always worth contacting them to find out. But it’s best to understand just what they say they’ll do in your policy.

Of course now that I know all of this there will still be times when I’ll use the left luggage rooms. After all, if I’m faced with either spending the day sitting beside my heavy suitcase in a hotel foyer or exploring a city, I’ll go for the freedom option.

The difference is this time I’ll also know exactly what I’m risking, and will make sure my valuables come with me. And I’ll also take comfort in the fact that most travellers respect each other’s belongings and have allowed the left luggage room to be a relatively safe place. Long may that continue to be the case.

For more travel insurance tips and to find the right policy for you, head to the Compare Insurance website.

You may like to find out about some common misunderstandings with credit card travel insurance, or check out my renting an RV or Hire Car tips. 

Travel Insurance Tip You Need to Know

About the Author

As a journalist who loves to travel and is fond of a chat I'm oh so happy when I'm sharing travel tales and tips through my blog and on my weekly travel segment on Sydney Radio 2UE. When I'm not travelling or writing about it I can be found out and about with friends, curled up at home with a good book or watching an addictive tv show promising I'll stop after one more episode. Amanda on Google +

Leave a Comment

  1. Yikes! That’s scary. That’s something I’ve never thought about either. I love the suitcase in the photo. I’d be very upset if I lost that!

    • Thanks! And I’m with you, I didn’t realise and so like to help get the word out there. As for the suitcase… that was a little special one I bought in Edinburgh when my old case broke. As you can imagine, it stood out in the luggage department and i was a goner!

  2. Marco says:

    Great article!

    According to the wording under most policies than, leaving your luggage in a hotel room whilst you are out exploring the area, even if your room was locked, would fall under both these categories:

    Or leaving them in a position where they can be taken without your knowledge, or

    Or at such a distance from you that you’re unable to prevent them from being taken.

    Be interested in your thoughts.

    • I agree the wording opens up a whole lot of scenarios. The best thing to do is talk to your insurer about any questions so you can figure out their take on something (they’re not all the same).

      I remember being shocked when I checked with one years ago because I was travelling to Greece during a lot of strikes. I’m lucky I checked because it turns out the policy I had didn’t actually cover any delays with ferries / trains etc while I was actually in Greece, only getting to and from there.

      I immediately got cover with another insurance company so I could relax and know I’d be alright if I did get stuck.

  3. If I buy a ticket, am I to go look for insurance company to insure? Or how do I get insured?!!!

    • Hi Faruq, yes it is up to you to get your insurance. Some airlines and hotel bookings offer insurance options when you buy a ticket but you have to select and pay extra at the time. Or you can get insurance from an insurance company. If you travel a lot an annual coverage is probably best. Good luck.

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