Travel in Canada is stressful right now. From delayed and cancelled flights to long lineups at the security gate, getting on a plane is a big effort. Canada’s busiest airport, Toronto Pearson International was recently declared the “worst airport in the world” for delays by various media groups.
Along with flight interruptions and cancellations, passengers are also complaining of luggage being delayed or even lost during their journey. The Greater Toronto Airports Authority says bags are being lost for a host of reasons – this includes flight delays and cancellations, staffing shortages, and temporary mechanical disruptions within the baggage system. They also say that a baggage service recovery task force has been implemented to examine and address these failures in the system.
Recently, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) released a new resource, covering your rights as a traveller and what you should do if you experience a delayed or cancelled flight. And it also provides insight on the next steps to take when it comes to lost, damaged, or delayed luggage.
But what can a passenger do in this current situation to protect themselves ahead of time? If you’re planning to travel and you’re worried about lost luggage, baggage insurance (a type of travel insurance) may be exactly what you need for peace of mind.
Baggage loss insurance in Canada
You can purchase baggage insurance before you travel, and this is often covered in your travel insurance premium as well – especially if you purchase all-inclusive insurance. Some medical insurance plans may come with baggage insurance too. As well, your home insurance policy could provide some coverage for lost or delayed baggage, so it's worth double-checking with your insurer.
What does baggage insurance cover?
Baggage insurance typically covers both baggage loss and delay. This means if you arrive at your destination and your luggage does not, you can have some of your costs covered to buy items you immediately need. There are usually per day and per person limits on baggage delay insurance.
If your bag is lost, your plan won't automatically reimburse you for everything you've lost. There is usually a maximum amount you can seek per individual item, and it will cover costs up to a certain amount (detailed in your contract). And keep in mind that some items like expensive watches, tech gadgets, and camera equipment could be excluded – so be sure to double-check with your insurance company ahead of time.
Also, know that making a baggage loss claim doesn't necessarily mean you'll be reimbursed enough money to replace all your lost items with brand new versions. If it costs less, you could potentially be paid out the actual cash value of your belongings – this means that your insurer will account for the depreciation of your contents when calculating the payout.
Is baggage insurance worth it?
Baggage insurance (like any type of travel insurance) is always worth it. It’s usually offered as an optional add-on coverage to a single trip plan or package. And the premiums are often minimal; for instance, with Canadian travel insurance company, World Nomads, a 30-year-old making a week long trip in Cancun will only need to pay about $80 for an all-inclusive travel insurance package – which includes $3,000 in baggage coverage.
Baggage insurance can save you money and hassle if your luggage does get lost or is delayed. And media reports confirm the chance of your luggage getting lost or delayed now is greater than it was before, for all the reasons discussed earlier.
The best travel insurance in Canada
The bottom line
In this post-pandemic era, before booking any trip, make sure you are covered for all eventualities – including baggage loss. The other way to protect yourself is to pack light and avoid bringing a check-in bag. But for anyone travelling with young kids or even on their own for longer trips, this is usually not an option.
Check with your own travel insurance provider to see how much baggage insurance is included in your policy. Find out if there is a deductible. Take photos of the contents inside your case after it’s packed to prove what items were in there. All of this will protect you and your belongings as you travel.