Why Travel Insurance Is Such A Good Idea

Forbes Lifestyle 0 month ago

If you ask me, travel insurance is a travel hack on its own. It can help get you from Point A to Point B, protect your travel investment, and pack you the peace of mind that if something goes awry, you’re never alone. Personally, as I get older, I think more and more about “what if” situations, and not just if I get sick before a trip. I worry about things like – what if I slip and fall in a hotel lobby? Or what if I need a medi-vac to take me off a cruise ship?

But can you hack the hack? In other words, are there tips to get travel insurance to work even harder for you?

Yes and yes. I spoke with Daniel Durazo, Director of Marketing and Communications for Allianz Global Assistance, and he discussed with me some of the great ways that Allianz can be of assistance to travelers, from his office in Richmond, Va.  Read on – I promise that this story on insurance won’t be the usual snore.

The Annual Plan Insurance Hack

When you opt for a travel insurance plan, there are a number of options to consider, from specific benefits to coverage levels. But before you make decisions around these variables, you should first ask yourself if you’ll be embarking on one trip or multiple trips in the following year. If the answer is multiple trips, choosing an annual travel insurance plan can save you time and money. Here’s the main reason: The potential cost savings. When you look at the pricing of Allianz Global Assistance travel insurance plans — for example, the single-trip One Trip Basic plan (based on your age and the cost of your trip) vs. the multi-trip All Trips Basic plan — you can reach a break-even point on the multi-trip plan after just two or three trips.  “A One Trip Basic plan for someone who is young and has an inexpensive trip, can get that plan for as little as $23. One Trip Prime, the most popular plan, costs $30. The One Trip premiere, with the best coverage can cost as little as $51,”  says Mr. Durazo.

Insurance app
Having an Allianz insurance app on your cellphone can be one of the smartest things you do in your ... [+] travels.

He adds, “The multi-trip plans are very economical for the frequent traveler and cost about $135 for the year. The middle plan, All Trips Prime, is $275 for the year. The top All Trips Executive Plan is $500 a year but you can select how much cancellation coverage you want, up to $10,000. Yes, there are a lot of variables to take into account here, but this hack essentially means that if you’re going on at least two or three trips in a given year, you should at least consider an annual or multi-trip plan for cost-saving purposes.”

On the fence? Allianz’s annual policies also include rental car damage and theft protection in many of their products. Another added value for annual plans: Allianz’s AllTrips Prime policy covers kids up to 17 years old for free, making it a great choice for parents or grandparents.

The Concierge Hack

Do you ever wish you were “that traveler” — you know, the savvy jetsetter who’s connected and always one call away from finding the ideal answer to any travel quandary? With Allianz Global Assistance, you can be that traveler. That’s because by purchasing a travel insurance plan with concierge benefits, you can receive help from a special Allianz team of concierge specialists  “just as if you walked up to the concierge at a luxury hotel and need a doctor or a tee time or theater tickets,”  explained Mr. Durazo. You can snag a dining reservation,  find the best (and closest) spot to exchange dollars for the local currency, and see if there’s a bike tour they can recommend for your multi-generational family. Knowing you’re always a call away from good help can eliminate some of the planning and stress that comes with getting away. It is included with all of the annual plans that Allianz offers, as well as with One Trip Prime and One Trip Premiere.  It also includes 24-hour travel assistance – delays or missed connections, and “We will do our best to assist you.” Sounds like a great deal to me. “It’s a great service, but we are someone you can call if something unexpected happens. You can just pick up the phone and say, “Johnny has a cold and where can I take him to the doctor…..or where can I find something fun to do where we are on short notice?”

The TravelSmart App Hack

How many apps on your smartphone actually make your life easier — and more specifically, your travel? Here’s the rare app that can make life, travel, and even travel insurance more convenient: Allianz Global Assistance’s TravelSmart app. The app’s primary function is to provide an intuitive means of accessing and reviewing your plan so you can check benefits or limit amounts on the go. A few touchscreen swipes when you’re connecting to your flights is much faster and easier than finding and poring over your travel insurance plan documents. But this isn’t the only user-friendly feature that TravelSmart brings to the (tray) table.   “You can easily access your levels of coverage.” You can also check in on a claim, access the 24/7 hotline for travel assistance, monitor your flight status, and access local emergency phone numbers (i.e., police, ambulance and fire) with a click. Best of all, TravelSmart has something else in common with the savviest travel hacks: It’s free. “You don’t need to carry all that paperwork with you, and that’s a great benefit,’ explained Mr. Durazo.

The SmartBenefits Travel Hacks

Some travel hacks require a lot of legwork. Take the travel rewards chasers who spend countless hours researching and organizing the points and miles needed for this first-class upgrade or that comped breakfast. It’s nice to get something for free, but it requires discipline and an investment of time.

Then there is the SmartBenefits program, a hack that requires so little of travelers that you can execute it while waiting for a delayed flight’s new departure time from a comfy stool at a terminal café. A service provided by Allianz Global Assistance, SmartBenefits provides travelers enrolled with the program automatic payments for covered travel delays – as outlined in your travel insurance plan. “When you purchase a policy from us, you can enter your flight information and submit it to us and we will automatically track your flights. If you experience a significant delay, you will get a text message asking if you would like $100 for the delay. We will send it right away to your MasterCard debit card and you can access it on the trip,”  said Mr. Durazo.  This is only available if you purchase your Allianz policy directly from Allianztravelinsurance.com or any of its travel-agent partners.

Behind the scenes there is a truly dynamic process at work: After the traveler submits their flight information, Allianz Global Assistance monitors their flight for any delays. If the travel insurance plan’s minimum for covered travel delay is met, a fixed payment is sent to the traveler’s payment method of choice (if payment method is not selected, a check is sent in the mail).

“No receipts required,” said Mr. Durazo.

But, “Save your receipts if your expenses are more than $100pp and we will process that claim for you.”

Without any receipts or flight monitoring, the traveler can still receive a fixed reimbursement if they provide proof of a covered travel or baggage delay. With receipts and proof of a covered travel or baggage delay, the traveler may receive a larger reimbursement after they file all appropriate documents for their claim. If approved, they will receive payment to their method of choice.

Just imagine kicking back in the lounge, catching up on spreadsheets or a good book during your delayed layover, and knowing that you’ll be receiving $100 on your debit card in the next few days. That $35 for a salmon niçoise salad and glass of Sauvignon Blanc doesn’t seem so pricey anymore, does it?

Of course, this is just one possible upshot. Different payment methods and the decision to go “receipt-less” vs. uploading documents can impact payment amounts and turnaround times. But any way you look at it, this is a travel insurance hack that asks very little of the traveler.

And there you have it. You’re not snoozing yet, are you? Truth be told, travel insurance is a really smart idea, and whether you are embarking on that trip-of-a-lifetime, or just taking that much-needed three-day spa resort vacation.

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