Q. We flew to the Bahamas, and our bag was lost for a few days. Although we were reunited with it, we were surprised to learn that, if it had been lost forever, a different set of rules would apply for compensation because it was an international flight. For domestic flights, the maximum liability would have been $3300, but it would just be pennies for international flights. Does this apply to all airlines and international travel?

A. A lot depends on the originating country of the flight in a case such as this, since certain jurisdictions, such as the European Community, might have different compensation rules than others.

Many countries and thus airlines follow a set of rules, which limits liability for loss or damage to luggage at $9.07 per pound (or about $20.00 per kilo) for checked baggage and $400.00 per passenger for unchecked baggage, unless a higher value is declared in advance and additional charges are paid. That’s why it’s so important to buy excess valuation coverage when checking bags on an international flight. Ask about this coverage when you hand over your luggage at the airport and check out our excess valuation chart to learn more.

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