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If you’re a regular reader then you know that I was recommending travel insurance long before I started working with Allianz Travel Insurance. The two biggest reasons are for peace of mind when you travel and for someone to have your back financially if, God forbid, you get hurt or sick while away.

Since I travel so often, I have one of Allianz’s annual plans, which renews automatically so I don’t have to keep remembering to buy travel insurance every time I travel (or spend the time reading and re-reading the fine print or filling out forms). However, I realize that most Americans don’t travel as often but with the pandemic, there’s been a huge surge in the purchase of travel insurance, according to AAA.

There are multiple companies and travel insurance policies to choose from, which is why you always need to read the fine print. I know, boring, but it’s something you really need to do to fully understand the coverage offered. I choose Allianz not just because I work with them but because they have people on the ground in 33 countries and six continents and offer 24/7 support.

One portion of Allianz’s travel insurance that’s particularly appealing is their SmartBenefits, which come with some of their OneTrip Premier policies. With so many flight delays (according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, on average, about 20 percent of domestic flights are delayed) and cancelations lately, SmartBenefits is a great way to offset the disappointment of being stuck in an airport.

With the thousands of canceled and delayed flights that happened recently coupled with the approaching holidays season, travelers should definitely be prepared. Allianz Global Assistance customers can now opt to receive a payment of $100 per insured person, per day, after they confirm a covered delay on a monitored flight. Here’s how it works directly from their website:

• When you purchase your travel insurance plan, submit your flight information on allianztravelinsurance.com (or through AgentMax, if you’re using a travel agent).

• We’ll monitor your flights, and if the airline announces a covered delay, then we’ll send you an email, text message or both (whichever you prefer). The message will tell you that you’re eligible for an automatic claim payment of $100, sent by check within 5-10 business days. If you want the money faster, just click the link in the message and tell us how to send it:

-Debit card (we’ll send the payment right away, once your claim has been approved, but your bank may take longer to process the transaction)
-Direct deposit (you should receive payment within 2-5 business days)

• Please note that if your flight is cancelled, you are not eligible for proactive payments. You still can file a no-receipts claim, if a flight cancellation results in an eligible covered travel delay.”

I know what you’re thinking: What if your expenses during a travel delay — such as a hotel stay or meals — exceed $100? The good news is that you still can submit a claim with receipts for the remaining expenses (up to the maximum benefit limit specified in your plan, another reason you need to read the fine print). Just make sure you provide proof of expenses incurred over the $100 fixed payment. TIP: Take photos of all your receipts immediately, just in case you lose them.

If you’re a paperless kind of person like me then, good news. Allianz Global Assistance now offers another option: no-receipts claims for covered travel delays. Instead of submitting all those receipts, you can choose to receive a fixed-amount inconvenience payment of $100 per insured person, per day. All you need is proof of a covered delay.

This is different from the automatic claim payments for monitored flight delays because a) you’re not required to enter your flight information ahead of time and b) while quick, it takes a little longer. No-receipts claims are typically processed within 7 days. You can choose how you’d like to receive your payment, once your claim has been approved: on your debit card; by direct deposit, or via a mailed check.

Allianz also offers a no-receipts claims for covered baggage delays so when an airline “misplaces” your luggage, all you need to do is submit proof of a covered baggage delay to receive a fixed-amount inconvenience payment (typically $100 per insured person, per day). No receipts needed. Now, if you have to purchase more than $100 worth of essential items (um, my wife) because your baggage was delayed, you can choose to file a claim with receipts for the remaining expenses, up to the maximum benefit limit specified in your plan. As with the other SmartBenefits, you’ll need to provide proof that your expenses exceeded the $100 fixed payment.

Need one more reason to purchase travel insurance before you travel? If your destination issues a mandatory evacuation, or a hurricane warning (available on select plans), that can be considered a covered reason for cancelling or interrupting your trip. Allianz has also redesigned their travel delay benefit to help you reach your destination sooner by alternative means, such as when severe weather causes an extended covered travel delay. Here’s more information, including a helpful infographic and video that demonstrate how SmartBenefits work.

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