Typically travel writers, like me tend to focus on the dreamy inspirational parts of travel; the gorgeous landscapes, amazing food, and colorful new cultures. Everyone wants to hear about the fun parts of travel. But there are some other sides of travel that you seldom hear about – the arduous side, the part when things don’t go as planned, and the bad travel stories of mishap and mayhem. I’ve had my share of all 3. I recently had a whole saga of mishaps simply trying to get to New Zealand. However, even with all of the travel that I do, the mayhem and things not going as planned are rare. On the other side, the arduous side is pretty common.
As I prepare for being on the road again for my upcoming Canadian Arctic Adventure, I am going through the motions of determining cold weather packing lists, making trips to my storage unit, preparing my camera gear, and getting travel insurance.
Ahhh – travel insurance, it’s the part that people rarely talk about because it reminds you that things could go wrong. But it’s necessary. I have been buying travel insurance for my travels for years now, primarily for medical reasons and less for delay/cancellation reasons. However, on my last trip to New Zealand I did have a major travel delay where I did have to use it! Even thought I sort of loathe insurance, it really is a good idea.
Buying Travel Insurance
Buying travel insurance is the easy part, most of the time you can just add it on when you purchase airfare or a tour. Or just buy it separately on your own like I do. It only took me 5 minutes to enter my travel dates, age, and state of residence and BOOM, I had Allianz Travel Insurance for my trip that covered trip delays, cancellation, and medical.
Whatever you do – make sure you read through my 8 things you should do before you purchase travel insurance!
On the flipside, using your travel insurance after you bought it, is not very easy. Finding medications when you are sick overseas, seeing a doctor, dealing with delayed flights or missed tours, and filing a claim is arduous. However, utilizing your travel insurance just got easier with the Allianz Travel Insurance TravelSmart phone app.
Travel Hardships Made Easy with TravelSmart App
I use my phone constantly as I travel, so the idea that all of my travel insurance and medical needs are also easily accessible on my phone is a big benefit to me. I’ve just started using the app and already I’m in love with a few of the features. The app is available on ITunes App Store or the Google Play Store.
Finding the Right Medications
The thing I encounter most often when I travel is trying to buy medications for an illness (cold, headache, motion sickness, pain reliever) while I’m in a foreign country. It’s not simply that I don’t speak the language, but all of the drug names are different too. Normally I lose precious fun travel time just googling and figuring out what the generic name of a drug is, finding a pharmacy, and then trying to explain to the pharmacists what I need by showing them Google Translate.
However the TravelSmart app has a way to store pictures and information of your current medications as well as a medication dictionary with the international terms. So when I type in Allegra, it tells me to ask for fexofenadine hydrochloridum and cuts my research time in half.
Finding a Doctor or Clinic
Normally if I come down with an illness on the road, I have to find my insurance provider information, call them, and try to get names of credible/recommended places where I can go nearby. Then I have to Google them on a map and figure out what is the easiest to get to in a foreign city.
The TravelSmart app has made this a much more efficient process. I can easily use the International Hospital Search feature and it will show me approved hospitals on the map near me immediately. Or you can simply hit the hotline button on the app and talk to a customer service agent asap. All of your policy details are stored right in the mobile app, so it’s really simple to have all of the necessary information right at your fingertips.
Filing a Travel Insurance Claim
One of the most frequent complaints about travel insurance involves the claims process. It is too cumbersome, rigid and time consuming and doesn’t meet the needs of today’s on-the-go traveler. Quite frankly, I normally just give up at filing a claim unless an expense is so incredibly expensive that it’s going to be worth my time to try to file and deal with all of the hassle.
In order to improve the claims filing process, Allianz Global Assistance USA, rolled out a suite of innovations to make filing travel insurance claims and receiving payment faster and easier. Yay! They redesigned claim forms making them easier to understand and use. You can even use the mobile app to file the claim and track it afterwards! No more printing forms and drawn out processes – it can all be done digitally!
Plus, you can get paid quicker too by selecting a direct deposit payment to your checking account or debit card (available in May) – all through the TravelSmart app. Selecting the direct deposit option reduces the time it takes to receive payment to as little as 1 or 2 days.
Until you’ve actually had to go through any of these processes while traveling, you don’t always understand how beneficial they are. However, I run into these issues frequently, and I’m excited that Allianz Travel Insurance is making my travels easier! Check out their TravelSmart app on your next trip – I’ll be taking it with me to the Canadian Arctic in a couple of weeks!
See a complete video tutorial of the app here.