Should You Ship Your Luggage?

When going overseas, it’s easy to over pack. After all, you might not know exactly what to expect of your trip in terms of events, dress codes, weather or daily activity, and that means you need many different options for dress. When travelling for business, you may need to bring presentation materials and other supplies. Either way, a lot of luggage can be good for your trip, but a nightmare at the airport especially with all the extra fees airlines are adding on these days.


If you want t avoid hassle and unexpected fees, you might consider shipping some or all your luggage ahead of time. But if you do, will your travel insurance cover any losses?


Insurance and Shipping


Your travel insurance policy was designed to cover your luggage while it’s being shipped by a common carrier, which is a transportation service with published rates offering services to the public, which does not include shipping services. That means that if your bags were lost, damaged or stolen during separate shipping, you would not be eligible for loss reimbursement through your travel insurance policy.


Thankfully, shipping services do offer their own insurance policies to protect bags that you simply must send separately. When securing your coverage, be sure to acquaint yourself with the details of what is and isn’t covered. Generally, shipping services will automatically cover property up to $100 in value. However, some types of cargo may be exempted, such as coins and precious gem stones. Some shipping companies may even exclude certain delivery destinations from coverage, which could really put you in a bind. The way that you pack the items you want covered could add another bone of contention in a future claim.


It’s not enough to discover these gaps in protection when you arrive with your luggage already boxed and ready to ship. Instead, during the weeks before you depart, find a copy of the shipping company’s insurance package online and compare it to the coverage provided by your travel insurance company. Doing so, you’ll discover any problematic weakness in the shipping company’s coverage and will have enough time to make arrangements to travel with your luggage in order to retain the best chance at total protection.


Other Considerations


It isn’t just the insurance coverage that could be a problem when considering shipping your luggage. First, you must decide where to ship it to. If you have it shipped to the hotel, you’re going to want to make sure that you’re there when it arrives. If there’s a problem with your reservation or the hotel closes for an unexpected reason, you could have a lot of trouble getting your hands on your property.


Additionally, if you ship your goods ahead of time and, at the last minute, you must cancel your trip—not only will you be out the money for shipping but you’ll also run a great risk of it getting lost or stolen when it arrives at the hotel where you were supposed to be staying.


The next consideration is whether you want to ship the luggage back home. If so, you must take time out of your trip to travel to the shipping company’s nearest location or make arrangements for them to pick up, and you’ll need to secure insurance all over again.


If I Ship, Do I Still Need Travel Insurance?


Travel insurance covers much more than just your luggage. It can provide some medical treatment insurance, trip cancellation benefits and trip interruption coverage. The trip cancellation and interruption coverage alone can reimburse as much as $50,000 in expenses that are incurred either through new travel arrangements or lost deposits.


This insurance also helps cover the property you decide to take on the plane with you, such as any electronics in your carryon bag. Not only that, but it covers property that’s in the hotel room, so once your shipped baggage arrives your travel insurance policy will help to protect its value from loss, theft and damage. Lastly, if you decide to fly home with the baggage instead of shipping it back, you’ll already be covered for losses, theft and damage on the plane.


The decision to ship your bags is a personal one and it will vary depending on how much you’re packing, the nature of your trip, and the amount of time you have on your travel days. Just make sure you carefully consider the pros and cons of each method and you insure properly no matter what choice you make.


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