Thefts from checked luggage at airports all across the nation are and always will be a pressing issue for travelers. However, there are some ways to protect yourself as you travel.
A large portion of reported thefts occur in the form of missing or lost items from checked baggage. According to a TSA database, Mitchell International Airport reported around $80,000 worth of lost or stolen property between November 2003 and March of 2006.
This is a relatively low number when considering the number of bags that come through the airport on any given day. However, if your belongings are those that go missing the time and money spent to retrieve the items can add up.
Experts tell passengers to make a list of their valuables before they check their baggage and go through the list again once they pick it up. Reporting a lost or stolen item right away ensures a better chance of it being found.
The TSA provides a list of items that should never be included in check-in luggage. They include items like: jewelry, cash, laptop computers, and other electronic equipment.
Another way to protect yourself as well as your belongings is to purchase insurance.
Stevens Point-based AIG Travel Guard is the largest provider of travelers insurance and assistance for travelers.
“The majority of traveler insurance packages in the United States are purchased on a per-trip basis,” said Dan McGinnity, vice president of AIG Travel Guard.
AIG Travel Guard insurance includes comprehensive coverage for trip cancellation, emergency medical expenses, medical evacuation and transportation costs, lost or damaged baggage, and costs associated with travel and/or baggage delay, McGinnity said.
Prior to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, around nine percent of travelers purchased insurance. Now, more then 30 percent of today’s casual travelers purchase insurance either through their insurance agency, through a travel agency or through a travel provider like AIG Travel Guard, McGinnity said.
“The cost of travelers insurance is dependent on the cost of the trip and the traveler’s age,” said McGinnity, “It is usually somewhere between six and seven percent of the overall trip cost.”