Greetings from Mexico City, where I'm wrapping up my third visit to this sprawling capital in the last five months.
I'm no stranger to big Latin American cities, having lived in Medellin, Colombia, for three and a half years, however when it comes to personal safety, complacency can be just as dangerous as lack of awareness.
That's why I bought an annual travel insurance plan from Allianz this year and have the latest version of their mobile app on my iPhone.
In the last ten years since I quit my job to travel the world, I've experienced pickpockets twice, an armed robbery that resulted in my passport being stolen, and a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in my lungs, likely due to deep vein thrombosis from a long flight).
The pulmonary embolism in 2015 caused the cancellation of a flight to Peru, and I came down with an illness in early 2017, requiring me to cancel a flight to Mexico City.
On both occasions, I didn't have travel insurance. While I could recoup some of the value of these lots of flights in the form of airline credit, I lost money in the process.
Insurance claims would've allowed me to recoup my flight costs fully and had the flexibility to use that money in other ways.
I've learned my share of lessons the hard way between theft and canceled flights and now see travel insurance as a worthwhile investment.
Highlights from the latest version of the TravelSmart app include:
- Quick and easy access to your Allianz Travel Insurance policy. Check your coverage without having to log into their website or dig through emails.
- Contact customer service for immediate help 24 hours a day via phone or email.
- File a claim, including uploading supporting documents, and keep an eye on its status.
- Find the nearest pre-screened medical facilities, plus local doctors, pharmacies, police stations, and embassies.
- Use the medical translator to translate health-related words in case of injury or illness.
- Add your flights for real-time updates, including boarding gate changes.
I hope that I won't need to use my policy. However, I've had enough experience to know that may be wishful thinking.
Regardless, having coverage and the ability to call local authorities and Allianz for help should I need it gives me a greater sense of security while here in Mexico and wherever else I decide to go next.
I work as a travel insider for Allianz Global Assistance (AGA Service Company) and receive financial compensation. All opinions are my own.