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When it comes to travel insurance claims, faster is better? I didn’t have time to ask that question after visiting a walk-in clinic on a recent visit to Spokane, Washington. I had a hint of conjunctivitis in my right eye. The clinic charged me less than $ 100 for the visit.
I made a claim online with my travel insurance company. I was stunned when it paid the claim in a matter of hours.
Immediate payouts are a major trend that can affect your next insurance claim. Travel insurers are using new payment technologies to process claims faster and differentiate themselves from the competition. But there are significant limits to instant cashouts.
Instant customer payouts give insurance companies an edge over competitors, says Ariel Paradis, a marketing manager for Payouts Network, a payment processing company for insurance companies. She says those with the fastest claim payouts are rated very highly by consumers.
A recent survey by the payment platform VPay found that nearly 60% of those surveyed said they had received their last claim payment by paper check. For most of those customers, the paper payment took four days or longer than a credit card or ACH payment. More than half of those surveyed (53%) said they would switch insurers to receive immediate benefits.
How do instant travel insurance payouts work?
Allianz Travel, one of the first companies to introduce an instant cashout system, started with a major investment in technology. The older payment systems weren’t built for speed and had minimal automation, so they had to be overhauled.
The Allianz Global Assistance Program, called SmartBenefits, works in two ways. It pays out claims faster, often within a day or less. And it checks customers’ flights for delays. If an airline delays your flight for three to five hours (depending on your policy benefit), the company automatically files your interruption claim and offers several fast payment options.
You can receive a flat fee of $ 100 per person per trip delay on your debit card within minutes of entering payment information. Payments via direct deposits take a little longer – between 24 and 48 hours. If you do not specify an option, you will receive a check in the mail.
What about the other claims? According to Allianz spokesman Daniel Durazo, they are also being accelerated.
“Many payments that don’t qualify for SmartBenefits are approved within a week,” he says. “Electronic payments can appear in minutes when the customer chooses to pay via their debit card.”
Do you remember how it used to be?
Getting paid in days – or hours – is notable for the travel insurance industry. Before immediate payouts, it was not uncommon for claims to take several months to complete. Some even stretched for years. Customers accepted these slow payments because all travel insurance companies were equally slow.
But the market pressure from other insurance companies and startups in the insurance world began to take away the status quo a few years ago. Consumer expectations have shifted. The idea of waiting weeks to receive a paper check suddenly seemed outdated as other insurance companies started processing claims faster.
With travel insurance, faster claims can make a difference. Having that money in your pocket when you’re on vacation or on a business trip can pay for emergency toiletries or clothing. It’s not just a convenience.
But some things still take time. More complicated claims regarding higher dollar amounts may still need to be assessed at multiple levels before a travel insurance company breaks a check.
Bailey Foster, a vice president at Trawick International, says “fast” for more complex claims is two weeks, and sometimes a little longer.
“Still, the customer must be able to provide all necessary documentation to limit back and forth between the insurance company and the customer. In my experience, resolving a claim is considered quick by handling the claim in less than 30 days. “
How To Find A Travel Insurance Company With Fast Claims Payout
Travel insurance companies have slowly started touting their claim rate. For example, Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection (BHTP) says it has the fastest travel claim payments in the industry.
A BHTP spokesperson says snail mail can typically take five to seven days and EFT payments can take 24 to 48 hours to deposit. BHTP offers that plus PayPal, which can only take a few minutes.
BHTP gets its speed by allowing customers to file claims by phone. “If you have a claim, you can be paid out the same day if you choose to pay electronically,” the company notes on its site. “Of course you can always opt for a traditional bank deposit or a paper check if you prefer.”
But how do you select a company based on its processing speeds? There is no objective payout rate rating system. Instead, you should read user-generated reviews about a travel insurance company, consult an expert agent, and read between the lines.
Consult the reviews. Many experienced travel insurance customers take a look Trustpilot before buying travel insurance. No user-generated rating system is perfect, but the star ratings can provide an overall picture of consumer satisfaction. If you see a lot of travelers complaining about slow payouts, move on.
Find a smart broker. You can consult an insurance agent or a travel advisor (look for a competent advisor on the American Society of Travel Advisors site). A knowledgeable expert can direct you to a travel insurance company that will handle claims quickly – and away from a company that gets underfoot.
Look for a “quick claim” promise. A travel insurance company that promises faster claims handling is more likely to cut you a check. And as more travel insurers add instant payout features, the speeds will only get better.