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I know that you are not supposed to put valuables into checked baggage, but in some cases it is necessary. For example if you have large valuable items that do not fit in carry-on or if you have enough valuable items that you can not fit them all in carry-on.

My understanding is that while airlines do accept liability for baggage, they typically exclude valuable items such as electronics, jewelry etc. and the liability dollar limit is quite low. I've also heard they will won't accept liability for loss, damage or delay caused by "security searches." Here for example is American Airlines Baggage Liability Limitations.

Given that it seems that airlines have limited their liability to the extent that they probably won't pay for anything valuable -- or perhaps anything at all if they can blame the "security procedures" -- what is the best insurance to protect yourself? I'm from the USA and interested about insurance for international travel.

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Might be late in the game, but see my answer about insuring high value items using a Personal Articles Floater. –  unknownprotocol Mar 1 at 23:01

4 Answers 4

up vote 9 down vote accepted

If you use credit cards, then you should check into the member benefits (if any) associated with that card because your credit card company may automatically provide some sort of flight insurance / baggage protection if you purchase the plane ticket using that card.

For example:

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I think your best bet is to take out a travel insurance policy. They usually cover this kind of thing, depending on the policy. Make sure you read everything and ask questions about what is and isn't covered though.

I'm not sure where you are from and what the state of insurance is in your country so take this with a grain of salt. Also I am not an expert in insurance.

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This is generally the way to go. For items that are far more expensive than the cover provided by travel insurance, you can sometimes get a variation on your home contents insurance to cover those items while overseas. –  jozzas Jun 22 '11 at 5:14
    
Thats a good point I did not mention, my wifes engagement ring is covered in this way. –  Abarax Jun 22 '11 at 23:30

I use World Nomads, which like other international insurance companies, will cover both your health AND your luggage. However, best to check with whatever insurance policy you take that it a) covers the regions you're going to and b) what the excess is, and maximum value of coverage - sometimes you have to pre-declare any valuables you're taking.

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Traveling with and insuring valuables is tricky. Unless you can carry the valuables aboard with you in either a backpack or carry-on, it readily turns out to be impossible or, at best, prohibitively expensive. Travel insurance companies generally limit liability on checked luggage/personal belongings to $3,000 - $5,000 US, and delivery carriers like USPS or UPS -- if you entertain shipping the valuables ahead and catching up with them later -- also do not insure parcels for more than $5,000 US without a commercial account. Moreover, international shipping charges + insurance via such an international carrier can be extremely expensive though FedEx has a "Jewelry Shipping Program," which may have ironed out some of these challenges at http://images.fedex.com/us/residential/FedEx_Jewelry_Shipping_Program.pdf

In general, the options are few, and you must also remember that -- whether you carry or ship -- chances are you will encounter duty fees at Immigration upon "importing" valuables from the USA into a foreign country.

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