Luggage insurance offers.. Where do I start??
According to United States law, an airline is required to provide up to $3,300 worth of compensation if a customer's bag is damaged or lost during their travels. What many passengers don't know is that this regulation is only in place to protect domestic travelers. If a bag is lost or damaged during an international flight, the owner is only entitled to the compensation of $9.07 per pound for bags they've checked.
Considering this only adds up to $450 (in the case of a 50 pound bag, many airlines' limit for checked baggage), this is not nearly enough. For those traveling with expensive luggage, such as designer clothing, formal wear, or expensive jewelry, neither $3,000 nor $450 is enough to compensate.
Many international travelers are unaware of excess valuation. No airline or airline employee is ever going to stop to explain this concept to you, as it could potentially their company money. If you claim excess valuation prior to your flight, an airline is required to provide an additional $1,700 compensation, on top of the mandated $3,300.
Declaring excess value does come at an increased cost for the consumer, depending on which airline you choose. An airline typically charges $10 for every thousands of coverage you purchase. Some airlines, however, may only cover you if the bags are completely lost and the content within them is completely lost. Damages to the actual luggage may not be covered.
For international flights, there are a few airlines that allow travelers to purchase excess valuation coverage. But, many of them are purposefully vague and do not readily provide information on their websites. This means you will have to ask the information desk once you arrive at the airport. It is important to realize that an airline will change their rules at the drop of a hat, so be sure to confirm your excess valuation agreement before taking off.
Be sure to keep receipts for any items that you may need to file a claim for. An airline's main responsibility during a lost or damaged luggage claim is to try and limit their payout. Therefore, they will do their best to diminish the value of your items. If you do not buy close attention to the coverage you purchase, certain important item categories may be excluded, such as valuables or fragile.
In the case of trips that require the use of multiple airlines, it is important to remember that once you switch planes, your excess valuation coverage lapses. You will need to claim your bag and pay a second fee with the second airline.
Purchasing travel insurance may seem like a prudent choice, but their coverage is also very limited. Many of these travel insurance policies only pay out up to $1,500 and in several instances, even less than that. Avoid these hassles and declare excess valuation. It's the smartest move for you and your valuable luggage.