When planning a trip you mostly look for fun and relaxation as well as safety. For this latter purpose and to mitigate the negative consequences of unforeseen risks, it’s important to have travel insurance. Have you ever asked yourself about getting travel insurance when you are planning your trip?
This article is meant to help you understand how having this coverage is beneficial, and how it can be a relief for you and your loved ones. In our live broadcast, Travel Talk Thursday with Travel Time, we talked to Susan Lawson, from Allianz, who will explain the benefits of a travel insurance policy.
Which are the important key points when getting a travel insurance plan?
The goal at Allianz is to help people at a time when they need help the most and that truly is what their travel insurance policy does. Allianz is a worldwide company so travellers can feel confident that you are taken care of, globally and locally.
They offer three aspects of protection.
- Emergency hospital and medical coverage
- Trip cancellation
- Trip interruption
With the emergency hospital and medical coverage, travellers are covered for those unexpected emergencies at their destination. As a traveller, you should know that when you have an emergency you’re reaching out to their local emergency assistance team so you’ve got the link back home but if they need to engage any of their counterparts around the world to help you, they’ve got access to that kind of support.
The trip cancellation is intended for once you are at risk of losing any of your investment, at Allianz, they have 26 insured reasons to cancel your trip and get a hundred percent of your money back.
The third piece is the trip interruption. It starts once you’ve started your journey, if anything happens to interrupt your trip, you’re covered for those unknown expenses that may come up.
If you are required to come home or end your trip early, and you have prepaid some of your vacation, with interruption, if it is a covered risk, then you have the interruption coverage which covers any out of pocket expenses. This means that your flight home is covered and there’s a reimbursement for those unused days of that vacation that you insured.
As you can see, there are different ways to be protected, but the recommendation is nearly always to really look at the all-inclusive plan and add the “cancel for any reason” to that plan. All those three together are the most robust coverage you can get when planning a trip.
Currently, Allianz also has a Covid-19 plan that’s a stand-alone plan specifically for this pandemic situation.
They are currently accommodating claims for:
- Under Emergency Medical Care Benefit: Emergency medical care for a customer who becomes ill with COVID-19 while on their trip.
- Under Trip Cancellation or Trip Interruption Benefits: Trip cancellation and trip interruption if a customer becomes ill with COVID-19 either before or during their trip.
Who needs travel insurance?
Everybody that is booking travel needs insurance. There are many situations where somebody who thought they were covered elsewhere finds out that they aren’t. Knowing all the details of the current coverage is the only way you can know that it’s an adequate plan.
This is the question that always comes: Do I need to purchase it now or can I purchase it later? To answer this you should think about the following situation: you cannot buy insurance on your car to cover an accident that’s already happened, you have to purchase it as soon as you purchase the new car to insure it before an accident ever takes place.
As soon as you have money deposited down, that’s when you have to make the decision for the “cancel for any reason” product and that’s a plan that is added to any of their trip cancellation policies. You can’t buy it on its own but it gives you more flexibility with added to the coverage. However, the benefits are tiered in the way that they’re paid out.
The important thing to know is that if you purchase the cancel for any reason policy and if for any reason, up to seven days prior to departure, you cancel, you get 75% of your money back. If you cancel between six days and 48 hours prior to departure you get 75% of your money back but it’s capped at 1500 dollars.
However, if you cancel within 48 hours prior to departure, there’s actually no benefit paid out for the cancel for any reason. Typically, if somebody is canceling that close to the travel date, it’s not just because they change their mind, it must be for some other reason which is covered under the all-inclusive or trip cancellation and interruption policy, so you know that other insurance policy will take care of that situation.
Are you eligible to buy the insurance?
There are eligibility requirements but it is not a long list of criteria to meet in order to be eligible. It is actually quite short and includes a wide range of people as long as they fit into certain categories.
You always have to look at the exclusions which would apply to unstable pre-existing conditions. This would be explained so that you understand the decision you’re making.
For example, if you travel for over 61 days or if you’re over 74, you need to complete a medical questionnaire, to have an idea of your health conditions. Maybe you would not be eligible once you move forward with that process, as they learn more about your health. However, even if there is a condition that would be excluded based on the criteria that needs to be met, the insurance is still valuable because the reason you may need it could be something entirely different. For example, you may have a new medical diagnosis within a few weeks of travel, which would mean that particular condition would be excluded. However, if you have a slip and fall while away, you would be covered for that as it is unrelated.
Their policy depends on your age and status of any conditions. They have an exclusion for pre-existing conditions but there’s a stability period, which means that if your condition has been stable for a pre-determined period of time, it may not exclude you from being covered. Maybe you have a pre-existing condition but it’s been stable for two years and based on your age and the length of your trip that allows you to travel and have that pre-existing condition covered.
What should you do if you find yourself in a situation that requires a claim process in destination?
From a broken leg to something much more serious, many things can happen. It’s a stressful time so it’s a good idea to be well prepared for anything.
This is the procedure to follow:
- Call and connect to the Allianz emergency assistance team that is trained to help you during that time.
- They get your policy information, they need to understand what your plan is and what your coverage is.
- Then, they triage you depending on your needs.
Allianz has just launched their virtual care, for example, if you need to speak to a licensed physician on a video call in your home country, connecting with you in another country, then they would connect you with that line.
At the same time, it’s important that you make sure that you get receipts for everything, whether it’s the taxi or your out-of-pocket expenses and of course, your hospital bill. In case you need it, you can submit those and your claim will be paid when you get back home.
Allianz will guide you to a facility that they have already audited and worked with. This facility has met with their level of standardization and has agreed to direct billing. This makes things much smoother for you and so that you don’t have to worry about paying any money.
However, if there is an emergency and the closest facility is a place that they do not have an agreement with, you still go there. Allianz team will try to negotiate direct billing and their team will be there as your advocates to help you through that process.
Is your credit card coverage enough?
A lot of times people feel that they’re covered by a plan elsewhere or by credit cards plans. The problem is that it’s not always the same level of coverage for every different reason. Sometimes people make those assumptions and then the next thing they know they’re not covered adequately for an emergency situation while travelling outside the country.
Allianz actually created a document for you to help you understand the extent of coverage available with your credit card. They strongly recommend you to call your credit card company and ask a list of questions about the coverage included with your card, just to make sure they really have everything covered that you would want.
You may find out that your credit card covers you for three days out of the 14 or maybe it covers you for only fifteen hundred dollars for trip cancellation. It’s vital you don’t travel with the understanding that you have full coverage when you actually don’t have it.
If you purchase the insurance and when you call your credit card company, you find out that you’re completely covered, all you have to do is call your Allianz agent back. You have a 10-day free look and they can cancel that policy for you.
They try to give you as much information so that you can make those choices among the options. They’re not about trying to make sure you purchase a policy, it’s about knowing that you have the insurance needed in case of tragedy.
Will you take that travel insurance?
Surely, after reading all this useful information provided by Allianz, next time you travel you will recognize the value of a good travel insurance plan.
There’s nothing worse than being in crisis in a foreign country with no help at all. For that reason at Travel Time – TPI, we want you to avoid being in such a situation.
Our team of agents goes on dozens of trips each year (2020 excluded, because well, you know….) and we never travel without insurance. We give the same advice to our friends and family members that we live by.
When it comes to travelling abroad, it’s better safe than sorry!