Surviving a Life-Threatening Medical Emergency Abroad

Traveling abroad opens our eyes to diverse cultures and experiences, growing our appreciation of different ideas and lifestyles. Of course, travel brings its own adventures and challenges—and in some cases, it can be life-changing.

While traveling in a foreign country where language barriers exist, many Americans might not be prepared to handle medical emergencies on their own, and U.S. health insurance plans may not provide coverage. Not only can travel delay benefits, baggage protection and 24/7 global assistance help in navigating travel issues, but trip insurance can protect travelers’ finances by avoiding costly medical bills—or even help save their life.

Medical Air Evacuation

After losing two family members in close succession, a retired couple (going by the alias Mark and Sarah) decided they needed to get away on a rejuvenating vacation to lift their spirits. They embarked on a 21-day cruise to Central America during the holidays, eager for fresh air and adventure.

But after just three days at sea, Mark fell violently ill aboard the ship, which made an emergency docking on Mexico’s Pacific coast. For Sarah, the thought of losing her spouse now was unbearable.

Having bought travel insurance, the couple was able to access resources to get the quick emergency care Mark needed. Allianz Global Assistance arranged an air ambulance to airlift Mark and Sarah to a premier medical facility in Mexico City, where Mark underwent an intensive abdominal surgery.

We were able to guarantee payment up front and translate medical terms with the hospital staff for Mark’s treatment. We also helped with Sarah’s daily lodging and expenses, and constantly checked-up on the couple’s wellbeing during the two-week recovery period—after a successful surgery. When Mark was healthy enough to fly back commercially, we arranged an escort to facilitate his discharge and assist the couple during their safe journey home.

“Allianz got him to the hospital and saved his life. We couldn’t have managed that on our own,” Sarah said. “We’re very grateful to Allianz. We’ve told hundreds of people… always travel with travel insurance,” she added.

Navigating Surgery & Visas Abroad

Now let’s meet Linda (also an alias), a frequent international traveler to New Zealand who found herself in a similar situation. She makes an annual journey there to visit a dear friend from her time serving as a doctor in Central Asia. Two weeks before her return home, she felt severe abdominal pain and checked into a hospital in New Zealand, where she had to undergo emergency colon surgery.

Linda’s niece contacted Allianz Global Assistance about her policyOur assistance specialists were able to guarantee payment and called frequently to ensure Linda was getting the best medical care possible.

Your team “gave Allianz a human, caring touch that was most appreciated and totally not expected,” her niece commented.

During her four weeks of recovery, Linda’s visa expired.  We settled her hospital bill and assisted in expediting her visa extension through immigration, and soon Linda was flying home. Having practiced medicine for charity, Linda says she couldn’t have afforded the surgery on her own. “I won’t buy an airline ticket that doesn’t offer Allianz Travel Insurance,” she told us.

“This is the greatest customer service I’ve ever encountered. I’m hoping that I never have to deal with any other [insurance company] again,” Linda’s niece added. “I mean, kudos to a company that actually walks the talk.”


Terms, conditions and exclusions apply.
Insurance benefits underwritten by BCS Insurance Company or Jefferson Insurance Company, depending on your state of residence.  Plan(s) only available to U.S. residents and may not be available in all jurisdictions. Allianz Global Assistance and Allianz Travel Insurance are brands of AGA Service Company.  AGA Service Company is the licensed producer and administrator of these plans and an affiliate of Jefferson Insurance Company. The insured shall not receive any special benefit or advantage due to the affiliation between AGA Service Company and Jefferson Insurance Company. Non-insurance benefits/products are provided and serviced by AGA Service Company. Consumer may be responsible for charges incurred from outside vendors for assistance or concierge services. Contact AGA Service Company at 800-284-8300 or 9950 Mayland Drive, Richmond, VA 23233 or