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Backed by the world’s largest insurance company with more than 100 years of history, travel insurance policies from Allianz definitely come from a place of strength. With a variety of plans including annual and rental car coverage, Allianz Global Assistance can cover the needs of any traveler.
Allianz Travel Insurance Summary
Allianz Global Assistance is a branch of Allianz AG, which was founded in Germany in 1890. Over the years it has grown to be among the largest companies in the world, ranked at #21 for 2015 by Forbes, with the majority of its holdings in the insurance industry. Allianz operates in more than 70 countries.
Allianz Global Assistance traces its roots back to 1950 with the birth of ELVIA Travel Insurance in Switzerland. The company came under the ownership of Allianz in 1995, merged with several companies and started operating as Mondial Assistance in 2007. In the U.S., travel policies were sold under the company name Access America. The name was changed to Allianz Global Assistance in 2012. The company has its U.S. headquarters in Virginia, and has a total of 33 offices in 28 countries around the world.
Travel Insurance plans are underwritten by two different companies in the U.S., BCS Insurance and Jefferson Insurance, depending on state of residence. Quotes are available online and policies can also be obtained through a network of agents. Multiple travel sites also offer Allianz coverage as an option when purchasing travel.
Allianz offers a range of plans with differing levels of coverage, and also has some stand-alone options that are less commonly available from travel insurance companies. Their options are fairly comprehensive without being complex.
Allianz offers four single-trip plans, 3 annual plans, and rental car coverage. These plans may vary by state. Some plans allow the addition of optional add-ons, but all policies can be purchased alone. It’s important to note that Allianz does not offer Cancel for Any Reason coverage and has a limited list of reasons for which cancellation or interruption are covered.
Single Trip Plans
Each of the single trip plans offers a variety of coverage, from the most basic to the most comprehensive.
The Essential Plan is the most basic and lowest priced option. It covers trip cancellation and interruption at 100% f trip cost, and provides 24-hour assistance. This plan does not include medical coverage or evacuation coverage, so it is only for those who seek very basic trip coverage.
The Basic Plan adds medical coverage and several other options to what the Essential Plan provides. In addition to the same trip cancellation and interruption coverage, their plan also has:
- $10,000 of emergency medical and dental coverage
- $50,000 emergency medical evacuation coverage
- $500 of lost baggage coverage and $100 of baggage delay coverage
- Trip Delay coverage of $500 with a $150/day limit
- Pre-existing condition coverage
The Classic Plan is more comprehensive, with increased limits and added benefits. In addition to 100% trip cost coverage for trip cancellation, the plan provides:
- Trip Interruption at 150%
- $25,000 of emergency medical and dental coverage
- $500,000 for emergency medical evacuation
- $1000 for lost baggage and $300 for baggage delay
- Trip Delay coverage at $800 with a $200/day limit, and $800 for missed connection
- $250 for change fees and $250 for loyalty program losses
- Coverage for pre-existing conditions
- Financial default coverage
- 24-hour Assistance Plus
The Classic Plan with Trip+ provides the highest level of protection. It provides all of the same coverage as the Classic Plan, but increases these limits:
- $50,000 for emergency medical and dental
- $1,000,000 for emergency medical evacuation
- $2000 for lost baggage and $600 for baggage delay
- Trip Delay coverage of $1600 with a $200/day limit, and $1600 for missed connections
Allianz annual plans are designed for those who travel frequently and need one plan to cover all of their trips. There are three different plans, two of which are comprehensive travel insurance packages, and a third option for those who only want medical evacuation coverage.
Medical Evacuation annual plans cover you for any medical transport needs throughout the year in which the plan is in force. This coverage is often part of a package, but for those who prefer to select only the coverage they want, this annual plan is a good choice. Coverage includes:
- $1,000,000 in medical evacuation coverage
- Accommodations for visitors while in the hospital
- Coverage for travel after the evacuation
- Concierge services
- 24-hour Assistance
The Annual Executive Plan is aimed at business travelers who take frequent trips throughout the year. The plan is in place for 365 days and provides a wide range of coverage, including some features aimed specifically at the business traveler.
- $5000 of trip cancellation and the same for trip interruption coverage
- $50,000 for emergency medical and dental coverage
- $250,000 for medical evacuation/transportation
- Baggage loss and delay coverage at $1000 each
- Trip Delay coverage of $1500 with a $150/day maximum
- $250 in change fee protection
- Travel Accident coverage of $100,000
- $1000 for business equipment and another $1000 for rental business equipment
- Rental car coverage for collision/loss at $45,000
- 24-hour assistance and concierge service
The Annual Deluxe Plan is aimed at individuals and families with a large number of trips planned throughout the year. It covers 365 days of travel plans in several basic areas.
- Trip cancellation and interruption are both covered for $2000
- Emergency medical and dental coverage in the amount of $20,000
- $100,000 for medical evacuation/transportation
- $1000 baggage loss and $200 baggage delay
- Trip Delay coverage at $1000 and $150/day
- Rental car collision/loss coverage of $25,000
- 24-hour assistance and concierge services
Rental Car Coverage
Allianz offers rental car loss and collision protection that can be added on to any of the single trip package plans at $9 per day. This coverage will protect you from the cost of an accident or other incident involving a rental car. Coverage is provided at $40,000 with 24-hour assistance. Rental car coverage is included in both the executive and the family annual plans without an additional fee. This policy can also be purchased as a stand-alone option.
Allianz offers plans with relatively low limits compared to other travel insurance companies, but they also offer rates that are much more affordable on their more comprehensive plans. The test quote was for a 2-week trip, insuring a 30-year old from California with a $5000 trip cost. The rates that were returned in line with other travel insurance packages, which is a bit surprising considering the limited amount of medical coverage available.
The Essential Plan came back at $129, which seems a bit high for such an incredibly basic plan lacking many of the features of higher-end plans. The Basic Plan, one step up, came in at $151, and the Classic at $171. The Classic Plus plan came in at $231, which is very low for a relatively comprehensive plan.
With the same quote sample, the rates for the annual plans came back at $185 for the medical evacuation plan, $249 for the Annual Deluxe Plan, and $459 for the Annual Executive Plan. These rates are all yearly premiums for a total of 365 days of coverage.
Overall the quoting system online was very straightforward and easy to use, and allowed quick comparison of multiple plan options on one screen. This makes it easy to see the features and price of each plan side-by-side to determine which is the best value and fits your needs.
Allianz offers online claims filing as well as instructional videos to help customers through the claims process. The same online system on the website allows you to check on the status of a claim and follow up on any documentation that might be needed. The Claim Form and document checklist on the website are readily available to assist with the process.
In addition to the online claims system, claims can be submitted via mail by downloading the claims form and following the printed directions. Assistance with the claims process is available by phone or by email.
There is no clear statement on the website, but it does appear that Allianz handles its own claims rather than having another company administrate them. There is no information on how long claims take on average, but the company’s FAQ page states that they require up to ten days to review a claim. It may take longer after this time to complete the actual settlement.
Allianz Global Assistance has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, based on its multi-factor rating system. There are a total of 474 complaints recorded with the BBB in the past three years, with 157 of them closed in the past 12 months. That is on the high side for travel insurance companies in general, but it is important to remember that Allianz is a large company, which always means more complaints due to a large number of policies sold.
Reviews both on the BBB site and from other sources cite the same complaint repeatedly – that the company does not pay claims. This is a common complaint with insurance companies, but is especially common when it comes to travel insurance. It’s difficult to tell from reviews whether the claim denial was the result of customers misunderstanding policies, as this is common as well, but when there are a large number of such claims it is definitely a matter for concern.
Yelp reviews of the company are particularly concerning, with multiple stories of slow claims service and denials of claims. A common thread with these complaints seems to be that the coverage was purchased via online travel sites while buying tickets or vacation packages, particularly Hotwire. While it shouldn’t matter where a policy is purchased, there does seem to be a connection between the two in this case.
Another common thread in the complaints against the company is that the customer service people were rude or lacked empathy, something that would be expected from a travel insurance company routinely dealing with people who have been through accidents, illnesses, and even fatalities.
The company does get a mention (under the previous name, Access America) in Frommer’s list of the top 8 travel insurance companies in the country – however the customer reviews disagree.
Allianz Travel Insurance is part of an enormous global insurance company, and is relatively large even at the U.S. level. With that, there is some expectation of stability and good customer service. Allianz rates are on the low side for comprehensive plans, but higher for their entry level plan given the level of coverage.
There are a large number of negative reviews for the claims service with the company, citing slow processing and denied claims. Allianz does offer annual plans as well as stand-alone rental car and medical evacuation coverage, something not all companies provide.
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