We must travel under a small cloud of misfortune, because nearly every trip, someone ends up getting sick while traveling. Many times it is minor but still makes an impact, like getting strep throat on a ski trip.
Then there was the recent trip to Italy when we got a nail in our rental car’s tire just five minutes after picking it up in Naples, stranding us on the side of a busy road.
Or, when Glenn thought he lost his passport in Tuscany. And I wasn’t sure what to do if that donkey we nearly hit gave me a kick while I was trying to lead it out of the middle of the road.
A hotel concierge can be helpful in finding you a resource when you are having an emergency. But when you are independent travelers like we are, often staying in vacation rentals or Airbnbs, sometimes you just don’t know who to call.
Who speaks English, who has the right specialty, who makes house calls or is nearby (and open for office visits?) Where is the hospital? And most of all, what is going to be covered?
These are the questions racing through your mind while trying to squash down the panic rising up in your chest. In a true emergency, it can be even harder to know where to start looking for the information that you need.
TravelSmart App from Allianz Travel
This post is sponsored by Allianz Travel. However, I am an Allianz customer and have been very happy with all of my interactions and claim processing and can wholeheartedly recommend Allianz travel insurance.
Allianz, the company I use for my annual travel insurance plan, has a free mobile application called TravelSmart™, which is designed for these moments of need. The app can be used by Allianz Travel customers or anyone, as long as you create a log in.
To function best, you should also allow the app access to your location, so that the location-specific information you need is at your fingertips without any laborious searching. I would suggest registering BEFORE you leave on a trip and adding your flights so that the app is ready and waiting if you need it.
But I digress. There are a few features of the TravelSmart app that I think are very important and make it an app that all travelers should have on their smartphone.
1. Flight status
If you add your flight information to the TravelSmart app, you will get updates in real time for any delays, plus boarding gate information for all flights tracked by Allianz.
2. Quick access to emergency numbers
If you have enabled location services, the app senses where you are and will provide you with quick access to local emergency numbers for police, ambulance, and fire with one- touch calling.
In the US we know to dial 911, but how often do you memorize the local emergency numbers when traveling internationally? TravelSmart has you covered.
3. Phone or email assistance
The TravelSmart app will call up a map or list of nearby hospitals, doctors, pharmacies, police stations, or embassies. The list covers facilities that have been reviewed by Allianz Global Assistance so you know they have been vetted.
From the list you can get the address, phone number, website, or directions. When Glenn thought he lost his passport, the first thing I did was open up the app and look for the closest embassy (spoiler alert: he found it in his luggage.)
4. Medical translator
The first time I went to purchase an antibiotic cream in another country, I realized that the brands we know in the U.S., are not what we may find overseas. Sometimes you need a little help translating to find the right products or describe your symptoms.
The TravelSmart app includes both a medication dictionary, which will find the pharmaceutical equivalent to your drugs, and a translator for common first aid terms.
The app also translates over 60 commonly-used first aid terms into 18 foreign languages.
4. Manage policies
For Allianz customers, instead of trying to find where you filed your travel insurance policy information and dig up contact numbers, the TravelSmart app has a way to immediately call for assistance from inside and outside the United States, as well as send an email.
5. Track claims
If you do need to process a claim, the app is also an easy way to track the progress of your claims.
6. Proactive claim payments for flight delays
In June 2019, Allianz Global Assistance rolled out a suite of SmartBenefitsSM for customers of the OneTrip Prime and OneTrip Premier plans. Now if purchase one of those plans and experience a covered delay on a flight that is monitored by Allianz Global Assistance, you are eligible to receive an automatic claim payment of $100 per person, per day.
What a relief that as you are stressing out about a flight delay, you don’t have to worry about filing a claim. Allianz detects the delay and notifies you if you are eligible. Whew!
When you purchase a policy with a travel delay benefit, just add your flight information on the TravelSmart app or on the Allianz website and choose if you want notifications via text, email or both.
If the covered delay is detected on a monitored flight and the delay meets the length threshold specified in the insurance plan, you will get a message that you are eligible for an automatic claim payment. Just pick if you want payment via a debit card (nearly instantaneous reiumbursement), direct deposit (within 2-5 business days) or by check (within 5-10 days.)
Simple. As. That.
7. No-receipt claim payments for baggage delays
Under the SmartBenefits, no-receipt claim payments for baggage delays are also included for customers of the OneTrip Prime and OneTrip Premier plans from Allianz Global Assistance.
If you have one of those plans and experience a covered baggage delay of 12 hours or more, you can be eligible for a fixed, no receipts required claim payment of $100 per person, per day.
You still need to file a claim, but you don’t need to provide itemized receipts for expenses, just show the claim form from the airline and the delivery receipt. These payments can also be made via debit card, direct deposit, or a check.
And, if your covered expenses during a baggage delay exceeds $100, you can still submit a claim with receipts for the remaining expenses, up to the maximum benefit limit specified in your plan. SWEET!
Visit Allianz Travel to get a quote for your upcoming trip.
I truly hope you never need to use this app. I hope WE never need to use this app again. But it is there. In my pocket. Just waiting in case the unexpected and unwanted occurs and I need help and don’t know who to call.
Not every app is something we use every day. Some of them are there just for those “in case” moments, and TravelSmart should be one of them.