After 68 Days Of Ridiculousness I Finally Got My Malaria Travel Insurance Money

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I Got My Allianz Travel Insurance Claim Money. Boy, Was It A Headache

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.

Quick Recap

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.

Say what?

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):

  1. Hospital documents and receipts
  2. “A copy of your complete round trip e-ticket itinerary, indicating your original departure and return dates”
  3. 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.

I Got My Allianz Travel Insurance Claim Money. Boy, Was It A Headache

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.

I Got My Allianz Travel Insurance Claim Money. Boy, Was It A Headache

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.

No…just no.

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.

Going Forward

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

Ryan S
Travel hacker in 2-player mode, intent on visiting every country in the world, and can say "hello" or "how much does this cost?" in a bunch of different languages.

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13 COMMENTS

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13 COMMENTS

    • Erik – not yet. I’m in some groups for off-the-beaten-path types of travelers and going to look for recommendations there when it’s time.

  1. If you have any health insurance at all, even if you absolutely know that it doesn’t cover you in the foreign country, submit the claim to them to get the Explanation of Benefits denying the claim, then you can submit it to the travel insurance. Just avoids problems.

      • You said “For number 3, I told them I don’t have any insurance but theirs that covers hospitalization in Tanzania”. That is NOT the same as NOT having any health insurance. The statement that you then wrote and talked about later in the article does say you had absolutely no health insurance anywhere in the world except theirs. I was just pointing out that even if you know the health insurance you have doesn’t apply at all to the situation, file the claim with them so that you get the Explanation of Benefits denying you coverage so that it makes things easier with the trip insurance (it is what I did with my claim many years ago). Heck, when I filed my claim with my health insurance company I even told them I was doing this to get the denial explicitly on the EoB.

  2. You never said the size of the claim or an idea of the size. I think that is important for an article like this. FYI they make you go through hoops because they hope you give up and forget about it. When I went to Africa I was careful and very aware of Malaria. Nothing is to be assumed. I went to an area that was 100% malaraia free, but I checked everything. No kidding. And I did not get a single bug bite in Africa on my safaris and I did one 3 hour hike on foot with some other people and got no bites.

  3. Sounds like Citi in disguise…

    How did you pay the original medical bills in Tanzania? They took cc? If so, nice outside the box thinking on the malaria MS.

    • Yes, luckily they took CC. My wife’s test that we got done in an outpatient area was cash only, as were the pharmacies for prescriptions. But my actual bill was paid by CC.

  4. They denied my losses when a cruise line cancelled, pre covid, leaving me with losses. I appealed and got no where.

    Good article. Glad it all worked out.

    I will be looking elsewhere too. Got 3 big trips planned over the next 9 months.

  5. We have used Geo Blue’s (Blue Shield) annual Trekker Choice policy for years and needed to use it twice: Once in Japan for an eye infection and once in Spain for food poisoning. In both cases, a call to their phone line referred us to qualified doctors in our area and opened the claim. As soon as we submitted our receipts they processed and paid the claim. The food poising case required an extra night at our hotel, and our Chase Sapphire Reserve card handled it. Again, just a phone call to the administrator opened the claim. Shortly after uploading our hotel and medical receipts, the credit was posted to our card. Ryan, the next time you have that many problems with an insurance company, file a complaint with your state’s Department of Insurance or Insurance Commissioner. They WILL require the insurance company to reply promptly and fully. You might also want to purchase a Medjet Assist global medical evacuation plan for the whole family. You can get up to 5 years coverage and a discount through AAA.

  6. Your first time claiming insurance? That’s a quick timeframe compared to my experiences with AIG and credit cards. AIG took 7 months to finally approve a simple doctors visit in Thailand. It wasn’t even a lot of money (under $1000). 60-90 days is fairly normal in this world as everything is outsourced and they try to deny, delay, and deny again. Ultimately you get reimbursed if you wait it out but it’s sucks.

  7. You say, way up near the top: “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, 2020. Thus, my policy was valid at the time of the events in my claim.”

    I am pretty sure from reading the whole ordeal that you meant February of 2021, right?

    This is a good article to tell how tough dealing with this stuff can be. I suspect it is on purpose as many folks might have given up and saved the company some bread!

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