The pain and frustration of having something stolen from you is compounded when you’re traveling. After all, depending on where you are traveling, you may not be familiar with the local laws or language and it can be hard to communicate with law enforcement about the theft.
The news media is full of stories of thieves and pickpockets that strike travelers and haunt tourist areas. Some time ago, cameras were the hot item to steal. With each iteration in technology development, the latest electronic devices to bring a relatively good return is the item that will get stolen. As a result, many travelers have asked how does travel insurance cover theft?
How travel insurance covers theft
Travel insurance covers theft by reimbursing a traveler for the direct loss of items in their possession during their trip. Travel insurance covers a traveler for theft that occurs in the airport (including checked luggage), in the hotel, and while the traveler is in transit, i.e., in a taxi, on a bus, etc.
Of course, travel insurance plans also set limits on their coverage for stolen goods. For example, travel insurance plans cover theft of the following items up to a defined limit:
- cameras, camera equipment
- jewelry, gems, watches
- sports equipment
The limits are usually between $150 and $300 but some plans include higher limits. See our review of baggage coverage for additional information.
Travelers are often warned never to travel with anything that is irreplaceable or valuable and to keep those valuable items that you must carry on your person at all times to keep them from being stolen. Travelers with homeowner’s or renter’s policies can schedule expensive items like laptops, cameras, jewelry and sports equipment on those plans and the coverage is usually much better.
Cancellation is also covered for passport and visa theft
Some travel insurance plans cover cancelling your trip if your passport and/or visa are stolen prior to your trip and you can’t get them replaced in time. If your passport is stolen after you depart, travel insurance typically reimburses a traveler for the cost of replacing the passport and assists a traveler in finding the local embassy where that effort can be accomplished.
What travel insurance never covers for theft
All insurance plans have exclusions, and it’s just as important to understand what travel insurance doesn’t cover for theft as what it does. The following items are never covered under travel insurance for theft:
- Money, stamps, stocks, bonds, money orders
- Musical instruments
- Artificial limbs, prosthetic devices, artificial teeth
- Hearing aids
- Eye glasses, contact lenses, sunglasses
… and the list goes on to include property used in business, fragile items, and more.
Do airlines and cruise lines cover theft?
Travel suppliers like the cruise lines and airlines have clauses in their contracts to automatically exclude them from responsibility for theft, so you won’t be able to get much out of them. You can make a claim, for example, but you’ll need to show proof of the item’s worth and they’ll factor in the depreciation of the goods. See what the airlines owe you for more information.