Is a Hotel Property Responsible for Damage to Personal Items in a Room?

As a regular guest at a specific hotel property who usually stays up to two weeks while using up to five rooms at a time, FlyerTalk member ryan754 had personal belongings in luggage which was damaged by water that came from the ceiling — and the total amount of compensation which was offered was significantly short of the value of the reported damage of those belongings.

Is a Hotel Property Responsible for Damage to Personal Items in a Room?

“One day the ceiling of my room flooded onto my luggage causing damage to a nice pair or shoes, and well causing some issues as everything was wet and I was leaving. I mentioned this to the staff and emailed the hotel they never did anything about it. I had a talk recently with the new GM, and let him know he needed to contact their insurance to reimburse me as the hotel did nothing to compensate me. He promised to fix it. This was never fixed.”

The corporate entity of the lodging company contacted ryan754 “and tells me that they are not responsible for items left behind in rooms, and offered 10,000 points for the trouble. Which doesn’t pertain to my issue. I typically spend around $500 or so on shoes, and they owe me a new pair of shoes plus the cost of dry cleaning my clothes etc. Do I have any rights here? I know if I flooded my room I would be on the hook for expenses. Why can a hotel room have a leak and damage my belongings, and not owe me anything. So much for the service guarantee here.”


I have never had any personal belongings damaged while staying as a guest in a hotel or resort property; but in this case, the damage was apparently caused by maintenance issues — perhaps plumbing to a room on an upper floor which malfunctioned.

Could the insurance which may be included with the credit card used to pay for the stay be used for a claim for reimbursement? Does renters insurance cover such damage? Is this incident a reason why hotel guests should purchase travel insurance?

Should the hotel property be responsible for reimbursing ryan754 for the damaged items — or is ryan754 out of luck? If you have had a similar experience, please share it in the Comments section below — and thank you in advance.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

4 thoughts on “Is a Hotel Property Responsible for Damage to Personal Items in a Room?”

  1. Steve says:

    small claims court

  2. A says:

    What state did this happen in and what chain? Those are important details.

  3. DaninMCI says:

    I work for an insurance company that insures hotels and resorts. It is VERY common to file claims like this and the hotel can be responsible if it is their fault. He needs to file a claim with their insurance company. He needs to have reported when it happened and will need proof it happened. Proof of the value of the items is also important. At a typical large hotel property it’s common to see hundreds of small claims a year. Usually from “claiming” housekeeper theft. Companies don’t pay out on most of them due to lack of proof because there is a lot of fraudulent claims made. I’ve seen loss runs at hotels that make you think there was a Rolex convention in town and half of the attendees left one on a nightstand and they somehow disappeared. This fraud makes it harder for legit claims. Also since there are so many small claims the hotels don’t usually offer to pay either. You could try and turn in a homeowners claim and have them subbrogate but filing a direct claim with proof like photos and receipts is the best way.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I appreciate you sharing that excellent, useful, and helpful information, DaninMCI.

      Thank you.

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