ST. PETERSBURG, FL August 20, 2012 – The 2012 Baggage Report recently produced by SITA, a leader in travel industry research, indicates that airport luggage mishaps are the lowest they’ve been in years. According to travel insurance comparison site, Squaremouth, the loss or delay of baggage is often a concern for travelers. However, this recent study reveals a substantial reduction in loss and theft which may reduce the need for baggage insurance.
According to the report, the total number of mishandled bags decreased by 20.3% in 2011, indicating the best baggage handling by airports in the last five years. In 2007, the industry was afflicted with 46.9 million baggage mishaps, compared to just 25.8 million in 2011. This data reflects 8.99 mishandled bags for every 1,000 passengers.
While these numbers are significant, the financial impact is even more consequential. In 2011, mishandled bags cost the industry $2.58 billion — a $2.11 billion decrease since 2007.
SITA’s study credits the reduction in baggage handling errors to greater traveler autonomy. Many airports have implemented self-service luggage kiosks which allow passengers to tag and drop off their own luggage. Technology has also empowered travelers. Delta Airlines created an app, “Fly Delta,” which helps passengers to track their checked luggage just as they would track a package. For travelers on other airlines, microchipped luggage tags by ReboundTAG make it possible to trace the location of possessions from anywhere in the world.
Increased passenger autonomy appears to hold airports to a higher level of accountability.
Still, when problems occur, travel insurance can be beneficial. Most policies include coverage for baggage and personal items loss to reimburse travelers for lost, stolen, or damaged personal items. This benefit usually covers an entire trip, not just flights.
Travelers should be aware of policy limits, though. “When traveling with expensive items, the coverage provided through these policies may be inadequate,” explains Chris Harvey, CEO of Squaremouth. In addition, some policies specifically exclude coverage for common valuables such as cell phones and computers. Other policies will cover these items, but under a limited combined maximum.
Squaremouth recommends travelers schedule valuable items on homeowners or renters insurance policies to ensure adequate coverage. Many credit cards also offer baggage loss protection; however, maximums may be low, so travelers should carefully read coverage information. When purchasing a travel insurance policy with this benefit, it is important to check the certificate for coverage maximums and exclusions.
If this downward trend in baggage mishandling continues, the need for baggage loss insurance may become less essential for travelers. However, those seeking baggage insurance should carefully review all insurance policies to ensure they receive sufficient coverage.
Squaremouth is America’s fastest growing travel insurance comparison site, helping customers instantly quote, compare and buy policies from every major provider. Squaremouth has an extensive network of partner sites worldwide. The company is headquartered in St. Petersburg, FL., with offices in Fort Wayne, IN. For more information, visit www.squaremouth.com.
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