Traveling can be expensive and life is often unpredictable. Don’t let an emergency, bad weather, or other unfortunate event take your investment. Relaxing Vacations has partnered with Allianz Travel Insurance to ensure your investment is protected. You can use the Allianz Travel Insurance widget below to obtain a free, no obligation quote.
What Is Travel Insurance?
Different travel insurance companies and other credible sources may range in the nuance they use to define travel insurance, but here is a great place to start: travel insurance is insurance. It’s there to help us financially and otherwise in stressful and unexpected scenarios.
Travel insurance is designed to cover those who elect coverage with financial safeguards in the case of events ranging from inconveniences to calamities. Coverage may include both costs incurred before your trip, such as nonrefundable event tickets or hotel stays, and during your trip, including travel interruptions and medical expenses.
Like other insurance products, from homeowners’ to auto insurance, there are specific provisions tied to policies that outline when and how reimbursements are given – and how much insured travelers are eligible to receive.
Another element of travel insurance is assistance. For example, a travel insurance company may offer aid to subscribing travelers ranging from sharing helpful information to arranging for medial evacuations.
The most important detail to know about travel insurance is that its features can range broadly depending on the company offering the product, the package or policy that’s selecting and a host of other factors.
What Are the Benefits of Travel Insurance?
Part of travelers’ responsibility when it comes to educating themselves about travel insurance includes learning how and when their other travel partners may or may not offer them assistance when a trip doesn’t go as planned.
For example, you may learn that airlines aren’t obligated to do anything when your flights are delayed. When the airlines are the ones at fault, they may offer some assistance, but they’re not bound by law or duty to do so.
There are a number of similar misconceptions that travel insurance can guard against. Insurance comes packaged together with specific coverage benefits – the type and amount will range based on the provider and the package selected – that fill gaps where your travel plans may be exposed to a number of threats.
What kind of threats? Take lost baggage. Sure with the rise of bag fees, airlines are seeing fewer and fewer bags checked. And they’re doing a better and better job of keeping tabs on them. Still, lost and damaged bags are the No. 2 complaint issued to the Department of Transportation. Additionally, while domestic airlines safely transport more than 99 percent of all luggage, international carriers still lag behind.
But a lost, damaged or even stolen luggage benefit is just one small benefit of most travel insurance offerings. Others may include:
- Trip Cancellation Protection: This is the big one, and includes reimbursement for non-refundable trip payments and deposits.
- Trip Interruption Protection: Sometimes trips start on time and end prematurely due to forces of nature and other circumstances beyond your control. This benefit includes reimbursement for unused costs and transportation costs to return home.
- 24-Hour Hotline Assistance: While this doesn’t come with a dollar amount, getting real-time help when you’re in a pickle is invaluable. Especially if you don’t speak the native tongue. This can include the arrangement of evacuations for medical emergencies, pre-trip assistance, etc.
- Coverage for financial default: What if the tour operator for your upcoming family vacation stops answering your calls? And then the line is disconnected and the company is out of business. Travel insurance may be your most reliable means of financial recourse.
A Travel Insurance Plan for Everyone
The most essential part of educating yourself about travel insurance involves drilling down into the details of specific plans.
Different tiers of benefits and coverage levels allow travelers to match the insurance to their specific travel plans. A four-alarm, full-blown globetrotting honeymoon and Aunt Lucinda’s family picnic and bake-off may not both require the same travel insurance product.
Among the first considerations to make when selecting a travel insurance plan is whether to pursue trip-specific or annual coverage. Frequent travellers, and those with a big family or young kids, may want to carefully consider the cost savings that an annual plan can provide. It’s not hard to do the math: when travelers add up the piecemeal cost of insurance for the trips they plan to take in the next year and compare it to the annual price tag, there will be a more attractive choice.
At Allianz Global Assistance, offerings range from the affordable and simple Essential Plan, which may work for the quick weekend getaway, to the Classic Plan with Trip +, which is designed for families traveling abroad who may experience any number of unforeseen challenges and inconveniences. Travelers can find the plan that’s right for them by visiting our Travel Insurance Plan finder.
One final note about travel insurance that doesn’t come with fine print or footnotes – and that’s peace of mind. It’s a product you hope you never need to use but appreciate when you have it, similar to other insurance products. Once you weigh the importance of this peace of mind, as well as the other factors outlined here, you’ll be closer to being able to decide whether travel insurance is right for your next trip.
How Does Travel Insurance Work?
In most scenarios, travel insurance reimburses you for your covered financial losses after you file a claim and the claim is approved. Filing a claim means submitting proof of your loss to Allianz Global Assistance, so that we can verify what happened and reimburse you for your covered losses. You can file a claim online, or do it on your phone with our free TravelSmart app.
How does this work in real life? Let’s say you purchase the OneTrip Prime Plan, which includes trip cancellation benefits, to protect your upcoming cruise to Cozumel. Two days before departure, you experience a high fever and chest pain. Your doctor diagnoses bacterial pneumonia and advises you to cancel the trip. When you notify the cruise line, they tell you it’s too late to receive a refund.
Without travel insurance, you’d lose the money you spent on your vacation. Fortunately, a serious, disabling illness can be considered a covered reason for trip cancellation, which means you can be reimbursed for your prepaid, nonrefundable trip costs. Once you’re feeling better, you gather the required documents — such as your airfare and cruise line receipts and information about any refunds you did or did not receive — and you file a claim. You can even choose to receive your reimbursement via direct deposit, to your debit card or check.
Sometimes, this process works a little differently. Travel insurance may pay your expenses up front if you require emergency medical treatment or emergency transportation while traveling overseas. Or, with the OneTrip Prime and OneTrip Premier plans, you may be eligible to receive a fixed payment of $100 per day for a covered travel delay or $100 for a covered baggage delay. No receipts for purchases are required; all you need is proof of your covered delay.
How to Choose a Travel Insurance Plan
Allianz Global Assistance offers a range of travel insurance plans that include different benefits and benefit limits. So how do you know which is best for you? To begin, get a quote for your upcoming trip. When you enter your age, trip costs and trip dates, we can recommend a few plans for you. Then, you can compare the costs and benefits of each.
If you’re a budget-conscious traveler who’s traveling in the U.S., you may like the OneTrip Cancellation Plus Plan. It includes trip cancellation, trip interruption and trip delay benefits.
If you want protection in case of medical emergencies overseas, but you have few pre-paid trip expenses, you may consider the OneTrip Emergency Medical Plan. This affordable plan includes emergency medical and emergency transportation benefits, as well as other post-departure benefits, but not trip cancellation/interruption.
If you want the reassurance of carrying substantial travel insurance benefits, the best fit may be the OneTrip Prime Plan. This plan also covers kids 17 and under for free when traveling with a parent or grandparent.
If you’re planning several trips in the next 12 months, consider annual travel insurance — like the AllTrips Prime Plan. It gives you affordable protection for a full year of travel, including benefits for trip cancellation and interruption; emergency medical care; lost/stolen or delayed baggage; and the Rental Car Damage Protector (available to residents of most states).
How To Get The Most From Your Travel Insurance Plan
- Don’t wait too long to buy travel insurance! The best time to buy travel insurance is immediately after you’ve completed your travel arrangements. The earlier you buy insurance, the bigger your coverage window. Also, you must buy your plan within 14 days of making your initial trip deposit in order to be eligible for the pre-existing medical condition benefit (not available on all plans).
- Read your plan documents before you leave. If you’re not completely satisfied with your plan, you have 10 days (or more, depending on your state of residence) to request a refund, provided you haven’t started your trip or initiated a claim. Premiums are non-refundable after this period.
Call us when you need help. If you have questions about how travel insurance works, or how to file a claim, or which benefits you need, please contact Allianz at #####! If you’re already traveling, and you’re facing a travel crisis or just need some advice, call Allianz directly:
Emergency Assistance Numbers
Within the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands call toll free:
Outside of the United States, call collect:
Is travel insurance right for you?
Hundreds of millions of travelers ask themselves this question each year. And one in three jetsetters now opt in for travel insurance.1
But before you can answer this question for yourself, you need to equip yourself with some knowledge, including what exactly travel insurance actually is, what the benefits are, and under what circumstances it makes sense for you and your family to elect for insurance before your next trip.
Four Insider Tips for Filing a Travel Insurance Claim
Here’s a little secret about travel insurance: We want to pay your claim.
Every year, 40 million American travelers count on us to protect their trips, both large and small. They trust us to treat them fairly and reimburse them quickly for covered losses they experience while traveling — so we do.
The approximately 150 people on our Claims team process thousands and thousands of claims from travelers every week. We spoke with the manager of Claims Support, USA, to get some insight how the claims process works and advice for getting yours approved faster.
Remember, you can check the status of your claim anytime, either online or with the free
1. Tell the whole story (but you can keep it short).
When you’re filing a claim, we’ll ask you to explain what happened. Some customers write a story so long it could be published in paperback. Others type a single sentence. Which is the best approach?
Neither. The processor handling your claim definitely needs more than, “I canceled my trip.” On the other hand, overexplaining isn’t necessary (but it won’t adversely affect your claim). Aim for a concise summary of the events that caused the covered loss during your trip. Try to include these elements:
- Who: Who were the affected insured persons, and who else was involved?
- What: What actually happened?
- When: Provide dates and times, to the best of your ability.
- Where: Where did the events occur?
- How: How did the event affect you/cause your losses?
Here’s a short-and-sweet example: “My wife and I embarked on our Alaskan cruise August 10. On August 12, I began feeling unwell. The ship’s doctor diagnosed norovirus and placed me in quarantine in our cabin for the remainder of the cruise. As a result, I was not able to participate in our planned vacation activities from August 12 through August 16, and I’m filing a trip interruption claim for the unused portion of our cruise.”
2. Documentation is everything (and we can help).
We can’t simply accept your word that you experienced a covered loss; we need support for the claim, in the form of documentation. Here, you can see a list of all the required documentation that may be required for each type of claim.
The number-one rule to help you get the full benefits of your travel insurance plan: Save your receipts! Your cell-phone camera is your best ally when you’re collecting documentation for a travel insurance claim. Snap a quick photo of each receipt or invoice as you receive it, as well as any other evidence: medical reports, police reports, itineraries, notices of travel delay or severe weather, etc.
We do understand that if you’re taking a taxi in Lagos, Nigeria, you may not get a receipt. We also understand that sometimes, certain documents get lost or damaged, or are hard to obtain. Our claims processors may, in some cases, be able to ask a travel agent or travel supplier to send a particular invoice. We can’t ask your doctor for medical records, however, because of privacy concerns. You’ll have to get those yourself.
3. Make it easy for the claims processors to find and review your information.
You can file a claim online, by fax at (804) 673-1469, or by mail:
Allianz Global Assistance
Attn: Travel Claims Dept.
Richmond, VA 23255-2031
Every week, we process thousands and thousands of claims from travelers. We receive huge carts of mail every day, and each piece is sorted and scanned by our staff. As you can imagine, it’s a huge undertaking to make sure every scrap of paper is sorted and linked to the correct customer’s claim.
There are a few things you can do to make things easier for our claims team, and potentially speed up your claim processing too:
- Submit your claim electronically, which automatically links all submitted documents to your account.
- Don’t compile all your supporting evidence into one huge file; the maximum size per uploaded document is 7 MB. We can accept many kinds of files, but not shared files, such as Google Docs.
- If you use fax or mail, please make sure your policy number is on each document you send us.
- Submit all your documentation at once. If that’s not possible, that’s OK. You can also add more documentation later.
We ask customers to please allow 10 business days for us to review their documentation. However, if we have everything well-organized and in hand, we try to review a claim in 3 business days. If you select direct deposit or debit-card disbursement, then you may receive your payment within a week.
4. If your claim is denied, you may be able to try again.
If you filed a claim for a loss in a situation that’s not covered by your travel insurance plan, or is specifically excluded from coverage, then it’ll be denied. End of story. However, some claims are more nuanced. If you hear that your claim was denied, and you believe that the claims processor misunderstood or misinterpreted the situation, then you can ask for the claim to be reopened and reviewed.
The simplest way to do this is to submit any new information/documentation that you believe proves you had a covered loss. Include a note that explains why you’re asking for your claim to be reconsidered. If you’re not satisfied with the outcome, you can contact Allianz.
Rental Car Insurance Tips & Resources
Rental car insurance can be confusing, complicated and costly. So do you really need car rental insurance? That’s a question we often hear from travelers. The answer is yes — and no.
In most cases, you don’t need all the different kinds of rental car insurance that the rental company pushes you to buy. However, there’s one type of insurance you should get: a collision damage waiver, which covers the costs associated with rental car damage or theft. It’s smart to buy a collision damage waiver before renting a car, because you can save money and avoid aggressive upsells. The Rental Car Damage Protector from Allianz Global Assistance provides up to $40,000 in coverage for just $9 per calendar day — and, with few exceptions, covers you anywhere in the world.