If there's one thing that's more frustrating than ridiculously long security lines at the airport, it's the airline losing your checked bag. There's no guarantee that it won't ever happen, so The Points Guys suggests only checking in a bag that you can afford to lose.
In 2012 alone, over 26 million bags were mishandled (lost or damaged). That's nine people with mishandled bags per every 1,000 passengers. So act like you're prepared to go your entire trip without your luggage by keeping essential belongings in your carry-on. That is, have important things like medication, credit and bank cards, car keys, and other non-easily replaceable items with you. This might sound like really crazy advice, but it really takes only one experience with lost luggage to take this advice seriously.
Fiascos involving delayed luggage take days or weeks to resolve. Compensations are usually limited to bare essentials and maybe part of the cost of replacing the luggage and contents. We hope you never have to deal with lost or damaged luggage, but if it happens be sure to check with your airline about their policies around compensation.