Allianz Global Assistance - Review
Allianz Global Assistance offers Travel Insurance worldwide via hundreds of travel partners. If you buy Allianz Global Assistance Travel Insurance you are probably spending far more money than is necessary. Moreover, it is highly likely that you are receiving critical cover levels that are far less than are recommended by experts in the field, including Allianz itself.
That’s right, Allianz Global Assistance sells travel insurance through its partners that has less protection than Allianz recommends on its own site.
Allianz Global Assistance – Partners
It has become common for almost every travel provider to offer travel insurance during the check-out process. We think that this is fundamentally a good idea. We want to see that travelers have protection for various forms of cancellation, and are financially protected in the event of serious illness or accident.
But, what started as a service to customers has rapidly become a massive profit center for the travel companies. They need a partner to work with who can craft travel insurance policies, and Allianz Global Assistance is one of the major players in this market.
So, AAA Travel Insurance? – Allianz Global Assistance.
Delta Travel Insurance? – Allianz Global Assistance.
JetBlue Travel Insurance? – Allianz Global Assistance.
American Airlines Travel Insurance? – Allianz Global Assistance.
Allianz has literally hundreds of these business-to-business relationships in place helping to distribute trip insurance policies.
Is Allianz Travel Insurance Good?
We are going to spend some time in this article highlighting the many ways that Allianz Global Assistance fails its customers through its partner distribution model. But, be under no illusion – Allianz is a good insurance carrier. It has massive financial resources to protect your investment if you buy Allianz Travel Insurance. It has invested huge amounts in contact centers around the world. Allianz Global Assistance has a network of evacuation and medical services ready to help in time of desperate need.
But, this is the case for every major travel insurance carrier – this is what is expected of them all.
Allianz Travel Insurance will sell its own policies directly to consumers. We have highlighted them in previous articles. We find Allianz policies to be expensive and with less than ideal cover, but some of its policies are reasonable. Not brilliant by any stretch of the imagination, but it is possible to find an Allianz Global Assistance Travel Insurance policy that offers sufficient cover to protect a traveler. But only when that policy is bought directly from Allianz. The Allianz policy you see when you are offered travel insurance through the airline or travel company is much, much weaker. It will have substantially less protection, and be more expensive. Please be very careful.
Why Travel Insurance Cover Matters – Peace of Mind – Financial Security
The reason that the majority of us buy travel insurance is so that we are not subject to crippling financial loss in the event of tragedy whilst on a trip. We know that serious accidents or illness are possible, and we think it essential that we have financial protection in place should the worst happen. Peace of mind comes from knowing we have trip insurance cover, just in case.
Moreover, we want to have trip insurance for travel cancellation. Those of us who book a trip some time in advance are always a little nervous about cancellation. What if we or a traveling companion gets sick? What if we lose our job? What if we just change our minds? Strong travel cancellation protection steps in to help mitigate our financial loss.
Travel Medical Insurance
We have two types of travel to concern ourselves with – Domestic and International. We write this article from the perspective of a US resident, but the same lessons are probably relevant to those who reside in different countries. Most of us in the USA have comprehensive medical insurance that supports us in our home state. Invariably we have a specific set of doctors and hospitals that we can use in order to keep our co-payments low. When we travel within the USA, our health insurance will travel with us, but typically only for emergency care. We will expect to see co-payments and deductibles increase as we move away from our home state.-U
Domestic US Travel
Many US residents buy travel medical insurance as part of a regular travel insurance policy so as to enjoy medical cover when traveling in the USA. Now, this might sound a little odd, but stay with us for a few sentences. Travel Medical Insurance is often Primary, and with no co-pay. Why is this helpful? Well, Primary Medical Insurance means that your travel insurance will pay first, without you needing to get different insurance carriers to negotiate with one another. Your travel insurer will just get on with arranging payment with your hospital in the USA. Zero co-pay – it is as simple as it sounds. Your travel insurance medical cover ought not to have any co-pay.
Now you can probably see why many savvy US domestic travelers insist on buying travel insurance that includes domestic medical cover when they are on the road.
How do you think most travel insurance carriers respond to this? Well, every policy that we offer at AARDY, through some of the largest US Travel Insurers, includes Domestic Travel Medical Insurance. Think about that – each one of these Travel Insurance Carriers competes against one another on benefits, rates, service etc. And yet, each one of them insists on including travel medical insurance for domestic US travelers. It must be pretty important.
Now, bear all that in mind when you look at Domestic Travel Insurance sold by Allianz Global Assistance. Time and time again, when we review Allianz Global Assistance Domestic polices, we see a complete absence of medical insurance. Your airline is selling you the Allianz brand name, but not actually including the critical levels of insurance protection that we see in EVERY travel insurance policy on offer by EVERY travel insurance carrier we work with. Be very careful when you buy domestic travel insurance from an Allianz Global Assistance Travel Insurance partner.
International Travel for US Residents
Almost all medical insurance that we have at home offers zero protection once we leave the USA. The CDC and State Department have long talked about the necessity of having strong travel medical insurance in place when traveling overseas. The US Government will offer no financial support with medical costs when abroad.
Please understand that even if the foreign country you are visiting has public health care, you are almost certainly not entitled to use it. Many countries around the world have a mixture of public and private health care. ‘Free’ public health care is not available to non-residents (we have not found a country yet that provides free care to visitors). This means that a US resident, when traveling overseas, will find themselves paying full price for private health care in the event of sickness or injury.
How Much Travel Medical Insurance Cover Should I Buy?
Our view is simple – trip insurance should protect us from likely worst-case scenarios. With medical insurance protection when traveling, we want to see no less than $100k of travel medical insurance cover. Serious accidents or injuries occur, and medical costs can be enormous. $3k-$4k per day is not uncommon at some private international hospitals. $100k is a sensible minimum level of cover for travel health insurance.
It is for this reason that we are always baffled when we look at the medical insurance protection cover amounts offered by Allianz Global Assistance. The standard, pitiful level of cover that we see in its Partner Travel Insurance is only $10k. This is truly awful. Absolutely woeful levels of protection that cannot offer any peace of mind. We simply cannot understand why respected airlines and travel companies would promote this level of medical insurance protection. Why Allianz Global Assistance would want to sell such policies is just baffling. Please check the medical insurance protection levels on any travel insurance you are offered by Allianz Global Assistance. Our advice, if it is less than $100k, and you have no other medical insurance that will travel with you, is do not buy.
Allianz Global Assistance – Different Partners, Different Deals
In the USA, customers get incredible protection when they purchase travel insurance. Strong anti-discriminatory law prevents one insurance agency offering the same travel insurance policy at a different price.
Let’s explain that in practical terms, then we'll show how Allianz Global Assistance and its partners (airlines, AAA etc.) work around these consumer protection rules.
First, this is how it is meant to be run – AARDY.
We are a Travel Insurance Marketplace. We run travel insurance quotes through our system, and return rates from each and every one of the major travel insurance carriers that we work with. The travel insurance plans, and their prices, are the exact same as if a customer had gone directly to the insurer themselves. These are the retail travel insurance plans that the travel insurance carrier produces. Arguably these are the best, most competitive, trip insurance plans on the market. Why is this? Because these plans are designed to compete against every other trip insurance plan in the marketplace.
Travel Insurance carriers work hard to ensure that these public-facing trip insurance plans are the best that they can offer. When a customer works through AARDY, they are seeing all the public travel insurance plans that we have selected from our carriers. We endeavor to offer 2-3 different plans from each insurer, so that on any given quote you have around 12 different trip insurance options to choose from. Each price, for each plan, is identical to the price offered by the trip insurance carrier if you had gone directly to them. We allow you to compare each carrier's plans against another, so you get the best value travel insurance that we can offer.
So, what does Allianz Global Assistance do when it offers travel insurance through its partners? Allianz creates different plans, for different partners, with different prices and different cover levels. This means that the price for a plan from JetBlue may be different than the price had it been bought from Spirit Airways. Customers get zero visibility of best pricing, because each travel insurance plan can be different, and will not be offered to the wider general public. Be very, very careful when buying any travel insurance plan sponsored by Allianz Global Assistance. Expect to see high prices and low cover levels. When we review, we typically note that Allianz Global Assistance Travel Insurance can be twice as expensive with 1/10 of the level of critical cover, when compared to the best policies in the market.
Cancel for Any Reason – Where is my Cover?
The world of travel insurance gets a little more confusing when it comes to some of the levels of protection available to a customer. There is a type of travel insurance cover called ‘Cancel for Any Reason.’ It allows a customer to cancel a trip without needing any reason at all, and still get a 75% refund of their trip costs. We love this particular piece of trip protection because it allows an airline customer to buy a non-refundable airline ticket, yet still enjoy almost all the benefits that would come with a fully refundable ticket. The benefit is that a non-refundable ticket can be bought for around 20% of the price of a fully refundable. We call this the Airline Ticket Hack. It’s certainly worth a read if you like airline booking-flexibility and money-saving.
Now, if you are an airline, the last thing that you want is to sell travel insurance that competes against your own lucrative refundable ticket business. So, airlines that sell Allianz Global Assistance Travel Insurance will NOT include Cancel for Any Reason cover in the travel insurance that they sell. That’s right – airline travel insurance polices that are created by Allianz have highly restricted cancellation benefits. They also have massively restricted benefits in the event of redundancy, and no protection in the event that an employee has his or her vacation cancelled by their boss. In other words, the travel insurance policies that are created for airlines by Allianz Global Assistance appear to have been built for the financial benefit of the airline, not for the protection of the customer.
Allianz Global Assistance Travel Insurance – Better Options
Do remember where we started. Allianz Global Assistance is a good company. Allianz builds travel insurance policies that are available through Allianz’s own site that is expensive, but with reasonable levels of cover. It also builds travel insurance policies that are only available through third parties. These policies are awful.
We think that travel insurance is important, and that getting protection for critical risk is a sensible thing to do. $100k of cover for Travel Medical Insurance is a minimum. $100k of Evacuation Protection is the minimum we would want when close to the USA, and $250k when traveling further away. We want to be reimbursed for cancellation if our employer cancels our vacation. We want to be able to have the choice of incorporating Cancel for Any Reason cover.
All of these objectives can be achieved when customers take the time to shop around the wider Travel Insurance market. The US has one of the most dynamic insurance markets on earth. Each year Americans spend more than $3bn on travel insurance. Amazing travel insurance carriers like AIG Travel Guard, Travel Insured International, iTravelInsured and RoamRight are available to you through AARDY. Spend one minute getting quotes from all of them, and then compare against Allianz Global Assistance Travel Insurance.