How Assistance Services Can Help in Medical Travel Emergencies

How Assistance Services Can Help in Medical Travel Emergencies

Tips from Allianz Global Assistance, a Travel Brilliant preferred partner

Getting sick or injured thousands of miles from home is a terrible experience. You’re in pain. You’re worried. You may feel helpless and alone.

But if you have travel insurance from Allianz Global Assistance, you are not alone. Every travel protection plan we offer includes 24-7 access to our highly trained Assistance team of multilingual crisis management experts and medical consultants. Call our hotline, or use the free TravelSmart app, and your Assistance case manager can help you get the care you need.

Please note that only certain travel insurance plans include the Epidemic Coverage Endorsement, which adds covered reasons to select benefits for certain losses related to COVID-19 and any future epidemic. For more information, please see the Epidemic Coverage Endorsement page in your plan details, or read our COVID-19 Coverage Alert.

Here’s what Assistance can do when a medical emergency arises while traveling.

Referral to High-Quality Medical Care

A customer was traveling in Sweden and intending to fly to the United Kingdom when his flight was canceled. He first contacted Assistance for help finding a hotel during his travel delay. Then, the customer suffered a back injury that prevented him from continuing his trip. Our case managers provided a medical referral to a local healthcare provider and continued to check in until he recovered to a point where he could safely return home.

If you’re ever sick or injured while traveling, you don’t need to wonder, “What should I do?” Just contact Assistance. Allianz Global Assistance maintains a database of medical providers around the world, each one ranked for quality of care. No matter where you are, we can refer you to the closest appropriate provider.

Medical Monitoring and Communication

A travel agent informed Allianz Global Assistance that one of our customers had to disembark from his cruise ship in San Francisco after becoming ill with coronavirus. In critical condition, he had to be treated in the ICU. Our medical team closely monitored his care as his condition improved, and our case managers stayed in contact with his spouse and travel agent.

Our Assistance services include access to a team of medical experts including registered nurses and physician consultants. While our medical team can’t diagnose customers remotely, they review cases and communicate with customers’ medical teams to ensure they’re getting appropriate care. Our case managers stay in touch with customers’ designated emergency contacts to keep them informed.

Guarantee of Payment for Medical Care

While traveling in the Philippines with his spouse, a customer was hospitalized for pneumonia. Because the hospital, like many overseas, required cash up front for services, Assistance guaranteed payment of $30,000. Our medical team monitored his medical care, and our case managers stayed in touch with the spouse until the customer had recovered enough to travel home.

Many foreign medical facilities and providers do not accept U.S. insurance plans. Instead, they require cash payments before treatment. Medicare does not provide coverage outside of the United States.

That’s why it’s so important to have travel insurance with emergency medical and dental benefits. This coverage can reimburse the reasonable and customary costs of emergency medical or dental care (up to the limits stated in your plan) if, while traveling, you experience a covered illness or injury. If a healthcare provider asks for cash payment up front, contact Assistance right away. We can guarantee or advance payments, where accepted, if you’ll be hospitalized for more than 24 hours.

Emergency Medical Transportation

A customer traveling in Thailand suffered thrombosis (the blockage of a blood vessel by a clot) and sought treatment. However, he needed testing that the local hospital wasn’t able to perform. Our medical team recommended a medical evacuation, and his Assistance case manager arranged transportation to a hospital in Bangkok. We continued to monitor his medical care until his condition stabilized, and then Assistance arranged his travel home.

When you experience a medical emergency in a remote area or a developing nation, local medical facilities may not be able to provide medically appropriate care. That’s when Assistance can arrange emergency medical transportation, whether by an ambulance vehicle or air ambulance. Emergency Transportation benefits can be one of the most valuable parts of your travel insurance plan, because of the exorbitant — sometimes six-figure! — costs of emergency medical transportation overseas.

Please note that in order to receive emergency medical transportation benefits, you (or your representative) must contact Assistance to make transportation arrangements in advance.

Bringing a Family Member to Your Bedside/Returning Dependents to Your Home

Sometimes, you need a loved one by your side. If you find out you’ll be hospitalized for more than seven days during your trip, we can arrange and pay for transportation for a friend or family member to stay with you.

In medical emergencies, Assistance isn’t limited to just caring for the sick or injured traveler. We’ll look after the wellbeing of any children traveling with you, too. If you’re traveling with children under 18 or dependents who need your full-time supervision, and you’re hospitalized for more than 24 hours during your trip, contact Allianz Global Assistance. Your Assistance case manager can make arrangements to safely transport your dependents back to your home, or to a U.S. location of your choice.

What about pets? Assistance can help with that, too. In one instance, a customer fell ill while traveling by RV with their spouse and dog. Assistance found a well-regarded local kennel to board the dog while the traveler recovered. Please note, however, that travel insurance plans do not cover pets; the customer is responsible for the costs of any pet services that Assistance arranges on your behalf.


Feeling unwell, a customer had to disembark from her cruise ship in Florida. She was diagnosed with double pneumonia and possible COVID-19. Assistance notified our medical team and began to monitor her medical care, as case managers followed up with the customer to provide support. Once she was stable, Assistance arranged transportation home.

If you experience a covered serious illness or injury while on your trip and you are medically stable to travel, Assistance can arrange and pay for your transportation home, to a medical facility in the U.S., or to another U.S. location of your choice. We also can arrange and pay for a medical escort, if our medical team determines that one is necessary.

Following Up After Your Return Home

Once you’ve returned home, your Assistance case manager will reach out to check on you and offer assistance with filing a claim, if you need it. We care about your wellbeing, and we want to know that you’re doing OK! Know that we’re here 24-7 to serve you.