Updated on December 11th, 2022
I wish my Rimowa still looks like it did the day I bought it. But it doesn’t and it didn’t look like the day I bought after the first five minutes I used it. The bottom got scratched by a curb. I did that myself. When your suitcase gets damaged, most of the time it’s not even your own fault. When traveling, especially with check in luggage, the suitcase is not under your supervision most of the time. You take it to the airport, you check it in and you will get to see your suitcase again once your arrive, then you hand it over to the taxi driver who hands it over to the bell boy. The luggage handler, customs officer, taxi driver and bell boy. All potential candidates who can damage your Rimowa. All potential processes where your luggage can go missing in action. If your lucky temporarily, if your less lucky, permanent.
So what to do when you luggage gets damaged or missing?
A damaged Rimowa can be divided into the following types of damage.
- Handle, wheel, locks or telescope handle defect
Your Rimowa will get scratched. That’s something I can guarantee. Scratches are hard to prevent and impossible to repair. Aluminum is a real scratch sensitive material. I would recommend to embrace the scratches as it gives the suitcase ‘charactère’. If you want to avoid scratches, the Polycarbonate are a good alternative since scratches are less visible on the polycarbonate models. In order to prevent scratches on an aluminum Rimowa I would recommend to purchase a protective cover. Most transparent covers don’t compliment the suitcase. They are made from cheap materials and don’t fit the suitcase.
Dents in aluminum Rimowa suitcases are also hard to prevent. Inevitably your suitcase will bump into something. Especially the corners get dented a lot. Like the scratches, the dents can also give the suitcase a personal character. A wrong assumption that is often made, is that the dents can be repaired by pushing the dent until it pops back into its original shape. Unfortunately does aluminum doesn’t have a ‘memory’ and it doesn’t know its original shape. So you can push it back, but it will never go back to its original shape. Whereas a protective cover will protect against scratches, it won’t be very helpful to prevent dents. The transparent material from which the cover is made, is not thick enough the absorb heave blows to the suitcase.
On very rare occasion I have seen that the aluminum or polycarbonate has been ripped. Brute force is required to inflict that kind of damage. Although I have seen suitcases which were ripped, I can’t think of a situation, during traveling, which can damage a suitcase in such a way. Repairing a ripped suitcase is possible, but one should consider it as permanently broken.
Handle, wheel, locks or telescope handle defect
Besides the shelfs (aluminum or polycarbonate) other parts of the suitcase can also break. Parts that commonly break are the wheels, locks and telescope handle. From the interior the cloth can also tear. Rimowa is very good at servicing broken suitcases, especially when it comes down to broken parts, even if it’s outside the 5-year warranty. Every large airport and every reasonable sized city has a Rimowa service point where they store spare parts and have your suitcase repaired in minutes, most of the time free of charge. To be officially entitled to the 5-year warranty you either need to have the warranty documents that come with the suitcase, online registration when you have purchased it from the Rimowa website (only in Europe at the moment). Rimowa can also determine the authenticity and age by checking the serial number on the suitcase.
Losing your luggage mostly happens when it’s out of your sight. It can get stolen or lost when you leave your suitcase in the car or cab. It can get lost when you miss your connecting flight. People can grab the wrong suitcase from the baggage carousel. Losing your luggage can be a real downer for vacation or business trip. In the best case scenario you will have your luggage delivered to your hotel within a day. In the worst case scenario your luggage is permanently lost and you will have to go shopping for new clothes (which necessarily doesn’t have to be a bad thing).
The next question which arises: How is this covered by my insurance? The insurance coverage depends on whether your luggage is temporary or permanent lost.
When your luggage is lost, it can be divided in two categories (from an insurance point of view)
- Temporary loss
- Permanent loss
When your luggage is lost temporarily. For example when your check-in luggage didn’t make it to your connecting flight. In this case it’s covered by the travel insurance baggage delay coverage, which reimburses the insured traveler for the purchase of essential personal items necessary until their luggage arrives. The maximum amount of reimbursements differs per policy.
When your luggage is lost permanently. In this case it’s covered by the travel insurance baggage coverage, which reimburses the insured traveler for the value of lost luggage and the personal items inside. The maximum amount of reimbursements differs per policy.