Toy plane, globe, passport and stethoscope


June 21, 2016

What exactly is travel assistance? You know you have it, there’s a little blurb about it being included in your travel-insurance policy, but what would you use it for?

I’ll tell you: a lot of stuff.

Travel assistance can help with basically anything related to traveling – travel alerts, weather alerts, lost luggage, roadside assistance, lost or stolen documents, reservations, concierge services, and more. Honestly, if you’re traveling and you call with any sort of travel-related issue or question, travel assistance can help in some capacity.

Car break down while driving cross-country and need to get in contact with the nearest towing company? Travel assistance can help.

Can’t seem to find a hotel room for tonight? Tell travel assistance the city where you want to stay and they can find a place for you.

To really get a feel for travel assistance, I went to our own call center, which takes calls not only for BHTP customers but for a variety of other companies. I shadowed the ever-helpful Britney, who’s been with the company a couple of years, and she gave me the lowdown on not only travel assistance, but also what happens if you call to make a claim with BHTP.

While the two situations are different, they’re similar in the sense that you have to provide a lot of the same information.

Person working on laptop next to coffee mugPhoto credit: Parker Byrd via Unsplash.

When You Call Travel Assistance

When you call travel assistance, the person providing assistance is going to want to know the name on the account, your location, and what exactly you need help with – which leads to knowing what you want to do, where you want to go, and how many people would be involved. 

In the course of your conversation, the person providing travel assistance might ask if you want to file a claim. You can certainly call travel assistance if you want to file a claim as part of your request; however, just understand that the travel-assistance team will probably transfer you to someone in claims for that part of the conversation, after they’ve helped you.

Once you’ve been transferred to the claims team (and just a housekeeping note: our claims operation is open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Central Time Monday-Friday), they’ll want to know the policy number, who’s involved, where were you and the other people involved, and exactly what happened.

Provide all relevant information, but don’t feel like you have to give every tiny detail.

Claims people are probably going to want more information than travel assistants. In general, travel assistants don’t need to know that you left your hotel with a quarter-tank of gas and you would’ve been able to make it to Bismarck, N.D., had it not been for the fact that you got off the interstate to check out the Enchanted Highway and now you’re back on the interstate and your gas light went on so you called them.

Just tell them you’re on I-94 heading east and you need to know where the next gas station is.

Woman outside looking at phonePhoto credit: Luke Porter via Unsplash.

On the flip side, don’t get offended if they ask a lot of semi-private questions. The assistants can’t do their job unless they have the details they need.

If you’re looking to file a claim for trip interruption and you call travel assistance first, they have to make sure that your situation is covered under trip interruption. Maybe it’s in fact a trip-delay situation; questions have to be asked to be sure.

However, even if you don’t think you have a situation that would require filing a claim, traveler assistance may find the opposite. In fact, many’s the time a claim situation was found in the course of a travel-assistance call.

Points To Remember

The thing to remember about travel assistance is you’re talking to people like you. While you’re on the phone, don’t be rude, keep your temper in check, and don’t blame them for situations they can’t control.

Yeah, it’d be great to see the Adele concert tonight, but it’s not the travel assistant’s fault they can’t get you a ticket because it’s been sold out for five months.

Two lattes sitting on wood tablePhoto credit: Sabri Tuzcu via Unsplash.

And because travel assistants are people, they can get to know you.

Britney told me about customers that she knows by name because those customers have called enough that she’s gotten to know them on a more personal level. Imagine how nice that would be if you were frantically calling travel assistance because you lost your passport somewhere on Svalbard, and you found yourself talking to your old travel-assistance pal Britney.

One last note: Remember that travel assistance is a service, so you have to pay for it. Whether it’s included in your travel-insurance policy or you have a subscription, it’s a service – just like calling up the cable guy or seeing your personal trainer.

And if you think travel assistants won’t notice, they do. Britney told me a story about a customer who was always just getting around paying for his assistance. He was cut off.

Every ExactCare® Extra™ExactCare®, ExactCare® Value and AirCare® policy includes travel assistance. Always double-check your travel insurance policy before taking advantage of travel assistance.

And if you do have it, might as well take advantage.


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Questions About Travel Insurance?

Check out our online guide, "What Is Travel Insurance All About?" We've provided in-depth answers to all your travel insurance questions, starting with the basics.

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