Now when our baggage did not turn up along with us, it was a moment of panic. After all we were travelling internationally, were tired and had a 2 year old infant with us. When we approached airlines staff - they were of no help and asked us to file a complaint so that they can try tracking our luggage. So I did and with a heavy heart, resorted to proceed to our hotel without our luggage that night. I knew that we were covered for both loss and delay of luggage so in my mind I made a point to lodge a claim whenever possible.
I informed my insurance provider about my situation via my brother and they emailed procedure and forms. Given that I had not taken my laptop with me, I thought I will fill the forms when I return. Next day - our luggage did arrive - and in the joy, I just signed the paper the guy brought with him and took the luggage.
Now, later when I went through the email in detail about the claim procedure, I realized I had not taken baggage delivery receipt from this person which was a required document. I thought I will ask for the same on my way back.
And I tried that when we were checking in. However airlines was of no help, they took my email id with a promise that I will get the receipt via email. It never did on its own. I had to eventually raise a ticket and that got resolved in couple of days finally with the receipt being emailed to me.
Fast forward, when I actually set out to file the claim, I realized I did not have everything I needed. I had preserved some baggage tags and I thought I had also preserved all boarding passes. But somehow I did not. Anyways, I filed the claim with all the documents I could muster and the insurance company took 14 working days to process.
I had a cover of USD 100 for baggage delay and was expecting USD 300 as payment. However they approved only USD 100 citing the complaint was only for one luggage piece which was registered in one name and I also did not have any receipts for any emergency purchases. Yet they processed my claim.
Lessons learnt -
0. Take travel insurance. Remember Murphy's law, if anything can go wrong, it will.
1. Make sure each traveler's luggage is registered separately when checking in. The baggage tag identifies the name of the traveler and for insurance claim (especially in case of loss), it will be important that the tags are unique per person travelling.
2. Preserve all travel documents - boarding passes, baggage tags, receipts of any emergency purchase carefully until return.
3. Claim early should you have to.
4. When your baggage is delayed (potentially lost), make sure you file a report - this is known as PIR Passenger Incident Report in airlines/insurance terminology. Keep a copy and make sure it is correctly filled and signed/stamped by airlines.
5. Should you are lucky to get your baggage back, do take the baggage delivery receipt for records. Please note that there is cooling period - in my case it was 12 hours. This means that for delay of 11 hours they will not pay anything. For this reason it is advisable to take an insurance policy with as little cooling period as possible.
Do share anything useful I missed in comments for everyone's benefit!