Our Compensation Clinic case this week is about an insurance case I filed with the Chase Hyatt Visa Card assistance for a lost suitcase during a Lufthansa domestic flight.
I have written many times about the advantages of travel insurance, especially health coverage and trip interruptions, which sometimes can become costly if not properly insured.
In my case, I have several different insurance options through credit cards but also take out an annual policy with an insurance provider that offers a decent product at the time I’m looking to open the policy, mostly health coverage related.
In this particular case, I had to utilize the Chase Hyatt Visa Signature Card coverage for the first time as Lufthansa managed to lose my suitcase entirely after the checked in bag got rerouted several times never to be seen again.
The condition for a valid claim is that you purchased the ticket with the credit card under which the policy runs (in this case my Hyatt Visa). You also have to file a property loss report with the airline, and provide proof of this as well as a settlement document for lost property by the airline as per the Montreal Convention the carrier is liable for any completely lost bag up to 1,131 SDR equivalent in local currency.
Depending on your insurance coverage, you can claim either the difference between the settlement amount and the full amount of your loss and the settlement amount or a lump sum.
One extremely important thing to note is that you need proof of purchase for your property. Receipts are paramount here so I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to keep any and all receipts for your clothing and baggage purchases, even more so when you’re a frequent traveler and avid credit card user. Credit cards provide you with many protections not only for traveling but also theft, loss and return protection where a claim will require the original receipts. Don’t throw them away even if it’s a small purchase!
It’s important to be able to provide the insurance companies with all documents provided and whoever has dealt with an insurance claim before knows that they try anything to make it difficult for the customer.
In this case it wasn’t easy either. The processing was very unprofessional as they requested documents several times even though they had already been submitted. Eventually I contacted the California Department of Insurance and filed a complaint after which the claim was finally handled and approved.
It’s very easy to incur substantial damages when the luggage suddenly disappears and never resurfaces. Good luggage alone costs a lot of money not even talking about the contents of the bag. Therefore it is more important to be able to prove what’s actually in your possession as one can imagine there are lots of frivolous claims.
Money aside, it’s very inconvenient to lose a suitcase and replace everything that was inside if possible. It takes a lot of time for the initial purchases and then of course the claim itself. Preparing and tending to the claim over months took in excess of 8 hours.
This experience makes the case to always make sure you purchase flight tickets and high value items with a credit card that will provide you coverage in case of loss or damage of personal property plus possible travel interruptions or illness.
I had the impression the insurance company tried to sit out the claim by frustrating the claimant (myself) with their repeated document requests and long processing times, hoping the customer will walk away from the claim. If you have your bases covered you don’t need to worry about that!
Another interesting part of this experience was that it was nowhere visible who is actually the underwriter of the policy as the claim was handled through Card Benefit Services. The response to my Department of Insurance complaint however came from the Underwriter directly: CHUBB Insurance.