Lost in Transition: Britain’s £12 Million Worth of Mishandled Luggage

New figures reveal British holidaymakers had an estimated £12m of luggage lost, damaged, delayed or stolen last year while one in seven travel insurance claims last year were baggage-related

According to new analysis by Direct Line Travel Insurance, British holidaymakers had luggage to the value of £33,390 lost, damaged, or stolen every day in 2017, amounting to more than £12 million over the course of the year.

The volume of travel insurance claims for luggage last year rose by 4 per cent compared to 2016. This is slightly higher than the 3 per cent overall increase in foreign holidays taken last year, which increased from 36 million between January and September 2016 to 37 million.

Accidental loss of luggage was the most common reason for making a luggage claim, accounting for nearly half of luggage claims, followed by accidental damage, theft and temporary loss of baggage.

Luggage claims are the third most common travel insurance claim after cancellation or curtailment and medical expenses.

Further research revealed that a considerable number of holidaymakers have had an issue with their luggage while on holiday, with a third (33 per cent) of travellers claiming they have had luggage lost, damaged, delayed or stolen whilst abroad in the past five years. However, many of these cases won’t be claimed for at all, as more than a fifth (22 per cent) of holidaymakers travel abroad uninsured each year.

Travellers are almost three times more likely to experience issues with their luggage whilst travelling out on holiday (15 per cent of incidents) than when travelling home (six per cent), often leaving them with nothing more than their cabin bag once they arrive at their destination.

Of the adults who had luggage issues, a fifth (20 per cent) said that they had to try to locate the item themselves, spending considerable time on the phone when they could have been enjoying their trip. Other common problems included having to stay in the clothes they had been travelling in (17 per cent), having to buy new clothes (15 per cent) and not being able to enjoy their holiday (12 per cent).

Top luggage tips for travellers:

  • Carry necessities your hand luggage, including; spare clothes, swimwear and any required medications/ basic pain killers e.g. paracetamol/anti-histamine etc.
  • Carry all valuables in your hand luggage, as travel insurers will not normally cover valuable items in the hold
  • Split hold luggage across a few cases if there is more than one person travelling – that way you will have sufficient items until your luggage is returned
  • Never keep all money together – split cash/credit cards about your person so if something is stolen, you will not lose everything
  • If you have an annual travel insurance policy, ensure baggage is included as this is often an optional extra