I Got My Allianz Travel Insurance Claim Money. Boy, Was It A Headache
I finally got reimbursed from my Allianz travel insurance claim earlier this year. Dealing with them was a headache. Big time. Here’s how it went, so others can learn from my experiences when deciding if they want to use this company. In all fairness, there were good elements, too, so I’ll highlight those to help you decide on possible trip insurance purchases for the future, if you choose to get it.
For those who haven’t seen the previous info, here’s a recap.
Why I buy separate travel insurance
I wrote about this in an article here. In sum: your travel insurance on credit cards usually requires you to pay for the whole trip with that card. It also doesn’t include things like medical evacuation in many cases, plus things like possibly getting COVID while traveling. If you pay with some other card, no insurance. It’s simpler for me to buy insurance for the extras and not worry about which card I pay with. That’s why I carry an annual plan.
Why I had a travel insurance claim
Back in January, I got stuck in Tanzania and spent a few days in the hospital after getting malaria. More about that here. After that was resolved, I submitted a travel insurance claim for hospital and medication costs, change of plan costs, and extra hotel costs.
Submitting The Claim
An Allianz travel insurance claim can be submitted in a few ways, which is nice. You can email, file online, or call. This part is convenient, but I found this to be really the only aspect that is clear and simple during the process.
I have submitted other claims previously for things I wasn’t sure if they were covered or not. Unfortunately, if you ask the customer service people, their response is always “not sure, submit and find out.” The 2 small things I submitted previously that they had denied were resolved quickly, and the explanations were simple.
I submitted my claim online on February 3, 2021. It included events from January 2021.
Immediately after submitting, I received a notification that it could take 10 days to go through my claim. The email included a confirmation number.
1 – They Reject My Claim Because They’re Confused
On February 10, I received a “claim rejected notification”. Their reason: you don’t have an active policy.
My policy originally ended October 30, 2020. However, they contacted all customers with annual policies during 2020 and offered to either extend the policy or offer a partial refund, due to reduced travel during the pandemic. I didn’t ask for this, it was their idea. I opted for the extension of my policy, taking it to February 1, 2021. Thus, my policy was valid at the time of the events in my claim.
I called and talked to someone, who needed to talk to someone else, who asked…yup, someone else. Luckily, I had demanded (it took 5 tries) something in writing to confirm the extension of my policy. I emailed that to them, and they re-initiated my claim.
2 – They Ask For More Documents
I originally submitted all of our receipts, credit card bills, doctor letters, hospital documents, etc. related to my hospital stay and also getting my wife tested for malaria after my diagnosis.
A day after re-opening the case, they asked for the following (February 11):
- Hospital documents and receipts
- “A copy of your complete round trip e-ticket itinerary, indicating your original departure and return dates”
- Explanation of benefits from my primary healthcare
In my reply, I indicated that they already had all of number 1. For number 3, I told them I don’t have any insurance but theirs that covers hospitalization in Tanzania. I attached our tickets to Tanzania (we arrived in Zanzibar first then went to the area where I wound up in the hospital 2nd), domestic flight, and flight leaving Tanzania to go to Kenya.
I received an email confirmation stating it could take 10 days to review my documents.
3 – They Ask For Documents Again
On February 20, I received an email saying documents were missing. It directed me to log into my customer portal and go to ‘claim status’ to submit these.
Unfortunately, it just said ‘attach missing documents here’. I had no idea what documents they wanted. I uploaded all of that same stuff again, plus a Word document explaining what happened and our trip itinerary (when we arrived/left Tanzania, hotels we stayed at).
I got the automated email saying “10 days to review”.
4 – They Ask For Documents Again!
A week later, I got the ‘more documents needed’ thing again, again not telling me what to submit.
I called their customer service line. After getting bounced around a bit, they told me that I needed to submit the ‘explanation of benefits’ and ‘itinerary’ items. I typed up a note saying I don’t have any other insurance applicable and submitted that.
For the itinerary, I made this dummy-proof. We’re talking “Barney style”. Remember that my wife and I were in a massive, 11-week trip. If they wanted my whole itinerary, that was complex, but I broke it down.
I created a multi-page PDF, in chronological order. It contained every flight with the screen shot of the booking reference, itinerary, and e-ticket number for flights. I also created images and saved them something like “1-Ryan flight to Mexico. 2-Ryan hotel Mexico. 3-Ryan flight to Turkey.” All you have to do is look at the numbers or dates or literally anything you’d think an adult should be able to do.
“10 days to review” email, this is now February 27.
5 – They’re Just Lost Now
I decided to be pro-active. March 3, I emailed their claims email address and asked if they still needed anything.
Amazingly, they said they still needed tickets showing when I left and returned to my primary residence. They also asked for my “other insurance” info, once again.
I replied that same day stating that I’d already clearly indicated a lack of other insurance and once again attached my itinerary documents.
6 – They Confused Themselves Via Assumptions
March 17, I emailed asking for an update. They replied on March 22 saying they’re still missing stuff, which shocked me.
They said that if I have no other insurance, I could simply reply with the following: “I (insured) have no primary medical insurance providing coverage for me during the dates of 12/27/2020-1/16/2021.” Why hadn’t they mentioned that before?? Fixed!
They also said they needed my ticket from when I left my home December 27 and returned to my home on January 16. What?? I didn’t leave my home or return to my home on those dates…
Those were the dates I entered and left Tanzania.
7 – You Can’t Contact Them
I figured out that they’d made some assumption from my claim form and now were confused by their own assumptions that didn’t match the facts. Trying to explain that to them is where the headaches really kicked in.
You can’t contact anyone working on your case!
Options include calling the general customer service number or emailing customer service. You can email the claims office, also. Can you contact the person who is working on your claim? Nope!
I called and spent almost an hour explaining the itinerary, having the phone rep pull up my documents, etc. and the result was them telling my claim agent to call me the next day.
The next day, March 22, the agent called me from a blocked number. I was driving, and we had a bad connection. As he was telling me that he needs my ‘other insurance’ and my tickets from/to home on those not-correct dates, we got disconnected. He didn’t try calling me back.
My only option was to send all of my info again, to the claims email address, stating why they were confused and attaching all of my documents again. Plus, I included their suggested statement about not having other insurance. I also called their customer service number and explained why they are confused / I can’t send documents that don’t exist.
8 – They Ask…Again…
They replied to me via email on March 25, stating they were missing my insurance documents still. And they’re still missing those flights that don’t exist.
I emailed explaining their errors, told them they could reference my many phone calls and emails stating this over and over, and that their items are resolved if they can drop their assumptions to rely on the facts I’ve presented.
I also called and spoke to someone at customer service explaining all of this again and asking her to please talk to these people to explain that those dates aren’t when I left/returned home. Even she couldn’t call my claim agent, just sent him an internal email. Weird.
9 – Approved!
April 7, I got an email that my claim was approved. They covered the full amount of our extra expenses and included a letter stating that a check was in the mail.
I received the check on April 12.
February 3 to April 12 is more than 2 months. It shouldn’t take that long for an Allianz travel insurance claim to be resolved.
The Good Parts
The coverage works. They covered what my policy says and paid out the full amount. The check arrived in fair time after the approval email.
The phone agents are really friendly and polite. I never waited very long on hold when calling, even when calling from other countries at odd hours.
The Bad Parts
Not being able to contact anyone with decision powers or working on your Allianz travel insurance claim is maddening. It must be the easiest job in the world to not allow customers to email or call you while you work on their stuff. Heaven!
The fact emails always come from a generic “claims” email, not signed by anyone, is ridiculous. Getting a call from my claim evaluator on a blocked number is ridiculous. Not calling me back or giving me any way to contact him for discussion is super ridiculous. Come to think of it, I don’t think he ever said his name during our short phone call.
In 2021, not being able to contact the person who is asking for documents and is confused means you can’t really help un-confuse that person. Not being able to talk to anyone in claims with any type of “real time” conversation is barbaric.
I’m pretty sure I will switch insurance companies next year. I already renewed my policy, before I knew how crazy that process would be. Thus, I’m all set until February 2022.
Does the product work as advertised? Yup, I submitted a claim for a covered reason, and they reimbursed me.
Is there room for improvement? So much so that I’ll look elsewhere.
My Allianz travel insurance claim should NOT have taken this long or been so convoluted. Attempting to clear up their assumption-based confusion is like talking to a brick wall, unfortunately. In the end, I was reimbursed. I’m fortunate that I came away healed, healthy & whole, with my expenses covered. There’s a lot of room for improvement with their communication, though, and that left a bad taste in my mouth.
If you consider travel insurance for upcoming trips, I recommend finding out what the company’s communication is like. How (if possible) can you contact them during the process to resolve issues? That’s at the top of my list for a provider.