7 Best Visitors Insurance Plans For Parents Visiting USA

Ever since I moved to the USA, I always wanted to bring my parents to this country. Imagine the feeling seeing your mom and dad enjoy like kids traveling in US and you overlooking them, just like how they would, when you played in your childhood! Amazing, isn’t it? Well I decided to bring my parents to US on a visitors visa.

Now bringing your parents is not easy (at least for the first time). I’ve heard from my friends that they have spent days and nights filling up the Visa application online, sorting between passport, documents etc. It was a painful experience going through all the process and finally getting a visitor’s visa. I will be writing a detailed post on how to bring your parents to USA. Meanwhile, wanted to mention a very important thing – Travel Insurance.

If your parents are visiting USA or if you’re coming to USA on a student or travel visa (or any other legal ways you are entering USA) you will need a traveler’s medical insurance. It’s not a must but very recommended (Here’s an article I wrote about why you need travel insurance). In this article, I’ll discuss about which travel insurance plans you need to buy for your parents when visiting USA.

Insurance Tips for parents travelling to the USA from India

It is always overwhelming with joy for our parents when their son or daughter working abroad plans a foreign visit for themselves. And having your parents visit you in the USA is definitely a rewarding experience. The one thing that strikes your mind when we have our parents geared up for the long flight is their safety and health. Any sort of medical emergencies or travel chaos can disrupt the entire trip and moreover, it makes the situation difficult to handle. Health and accident risks can happen anywhere, what we can do is to take necessary precautions to overcome the stress, limit the financial burden and make sure vital care is taken. That is when a right travel insurance plan comes into picture. Before you read ahead, please also check this article on different types of travel insurance is available.

Recommended Visitor Insurance

What is visitor’s travel insurance?

In my opinion, travel insurance is a must have to all the visitors from India to USA be it be a tourist, work visa holder or a student (Read this article on how to choose a good travel insurance). This insurance is intended to cover medical expenses while you are in a foreign land, trip cancellations, losing your luggage while the transit, flight accidents and other aspects like any sort of medical exigencies while traveling.

Travel insurance rightly falls into two categories: Comprehensive and Limited – Read this article to understand each.

Traveler’s insurance that covers trip cancellation

Travel Insurance for USA to India TravelNow let’s see what does trip cancellation plan cover.  In case you need to cancel your trip for valid reasons prior to your departure,  this plan will help you with the reimbursement of  your pre- paid nonrefundable  portion of  your trip cost. Additionally it covers many more aspects like

Trip interruptions – This is a situation wherein the traveler is constrained to return home from the trip early due to covered reasons like home is on fire or flood, or relatives passed away etc.

Emergency medical expenses & medical evacuation – This is the coverage given to the traveler if he/she falls sick while on travel and this is helpful in a way to reduce your expenses as your domestic medical insurance might end up making you pay a higher deductible or coinsurance. Why risk it?

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Repatriation of remains – If you were to pass away while on your trip, this benefits will pay for sending the remains back to the homeland.  Let such incidents never happen to any of us.

Baggage – There are policies which may cover things such as loss of checked luggage, baggage delay up to a maximum amount etc. Some may just pay you the additional expenses incurred due to the fact that you lost your luggage and ask the traveler to collect the payment from the travel providers which will be the airline because they are responsible for the loss.

Recommended Visitor Insurance

Traveler’s insurance that covers medical insurance

The travel medical insurance is ideally a short term medical coverage that would generally be covering the illness or injuries occurred after purchasing the medical plan or while the visitor is outside the homeland. Some of the eligible medical expenses are doctor’s visit, hospital charges, surgery, lab works, prescription drugs etc. An important thing to note here is that such plans do not cover the already existing illness known as pre-existing conditions and it is only eligible for the new ones that occur while you are in the US. The medical insurance plans are highly important to any type of visitors because generally the medical cost in the USA is considerably higher.

Of course, medical plan is of utmost value but do not assume that all types of situations/ conditions are covered.  There are some exclusions that are applicable to the travel insurance such as pre- existing conditions, HIV, suicide cases and illegal acts.

Let’s delve into details of various categories of visitors flowing into the USA:

– International Students ( F1/F2 Visa holders)

– Exchange Program Students ( J1 / J2 Visa holders): These are students who are travelling to the USA on an exchange program from their parent country for few business days.

– Visitors to US or tourists: Now this type can be your parents, siblings, cousins or friends who are visiting the USA as part of the leisure trip.

– Long term work visa holders: These are professional who migrate to the USA on H1 / H4 ( spouses or dependents of H1 visa holders).

– Short term work visa holders: Professional who migrate to the US for a shorter duration in L1/L2 ( spouse or dependents of L1 visa holders).

Another question that props up in our minds is if it is mandatory for all the travelers to buy an insurance before their travel or not. Like for instance, if a person is travelling on H1/H4 visa or L1/L2 visa they typically need not buy a travel insurance as the employer sponsoring the visa would provide coverage while on travel. But the following traveler should undoubtedly buy a travel insurance coverage while the travel and stay outside the homeland.

– Student travel cover: They provides coverage to students relocating to a new country for studying.

– Business travel cover: It covers business traveler who are visiting the USA for a conference/ onsite work.

– Holiday or leisure travel: This includes people travelling to the USA as part of the leisure trip.

Taking the visitors who are travelling as part of the leisure trip or if you are having your parents over, personally, I would  recommend purchasing the most comprehensive medical coverage plan for your parents because it keeps you at ease. Also, it is important to bring in a right balance between coverage Vs premium cost.

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Most frequently asked questions is “should each parent separately be included in the single application or it can be made one. I would opine that it is ideal to buy medical insurance for both the parents separately rather than combining them as a single policy. This will purely be a better option so that it creates a better control if either of them wants to return home early due to domestic exigencies.

What if your claim gets denied based on a pre- existing condition?

This was a situation which my friend’s mother faced. She landed in the US with a medical condition which was actually cured earlier and was never supposed to relapse. The climatic conditions triggered her illness and unfortunately it was not accounted as a new illness. The solution to this situation was to make an appeal on the matter by providing reinforcing evidence to contest the denial of the claim. The evidence can consist of a written statement from your family physician stating that the medical condition was cured and did not exist before the travel date or start date of the current insurance.  There are high chances that the claim will be paid and ironically it totally depends on the credibility of the evidence. Hope to hear from my friend soon on this claim.

Getting deeper into this topic.

Where can you buy travel insurance plans?

Can the host buy the insurance coverage for their parents? Can a student or a tourist buy them? The answer is “Yes”.
If you are having your parents over, definitely you can purchase the plan from the USA on their behalf and make payments using your credit card or they themselves can purchase it through the travel agent or other companies that offer the best travel insurance plans. Similar is the case with the tourist or students. Below are some of the best plans available in the USA which you can refer to while making a decision:

Recommended Visitor Insurance

1. Patriot America Plus Traveler’s Insurance

This plan from International Medical Group is a comprehensive travel medical insurance plan for non-U.S. citizens who are traveling abroad. The plan is intended to offer a complete package of international benefits available 24 hours a day to every individuals, families or groups of five or more travelers.

Official details here.

2. Liaison Continent International

Provides an extensive network of providers and 24 hours travel assistance.

Important highlights about this plan:

– Liaison continent gives a coverage up to 187 days
– Enhanced pre- existing condition coverage for non US residents travelling to US.

More details here.

3. Atlas America / India Traveler’s Insurance

I have heard a lot about this company and recently my friend had opted for Atlas America’s medical coverage plan for her parents who were visiting them. New immigrants, business travelers, students, short visits – whatever is the reason for your travel, they have an insurance plan for you. Atlas Travel helps  protect  you from most potential disasters and even offers emergency  medical evacuation, coverage for lost of baggage and a bunch of packages! Choose from the list wisely, what you need.

Details here.

4. Tata AIG – Travel Guard Travel Insurance – Available in the USA

Travel guard offers a plethora of plans starting from basic plan to the most comprehensive coverage called Platinum. PS: Any travel insurance plan can cost you between 4-8% of the total trip cost. My research is done under an assumption that the trip cost is between $4000-$4500.
Official website and details here.

5. Geico Travel Insurance: Available in the USA

GEICO’s travel insurance plans are divided into two categories: ExactCare and AirCare

Features of ExactCare traveler insurance:

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– Trip cancellation or interruption
– Emergency medical/dental coverage
– Baggage loss/delay
– Travel delay
– Missed connections
– Emergency medical transportation

Features of AirCare  includes

– Flight cancellation for domestic or international flights
– Missed connections for domestic flights
– Flight or tarmac delays
– Lost or delayed luggage

Official website and details here.

6. HDFC ERGO: Available in India

Advantages of choosing HDFC ERGO travel insurance:

– You can avail your insurance online and if you are a HDFC account holder, then the process even simpler with netbanking. There is no need for medical checkups or complicated documentation.
– You can avail travel insurance for a trip as short as 1-4 days.
Official website and details here.

7. ICICI Lombard Travel Insurance: Available in India

Key benefits of this policy is that no medical test is  required up to 85 years of age and cashless hospitalization facility is available worldwide. You may avail your insurance for 180 days but you can sure extend for another 180 days. ICICI Lombard’s travel insurance can give you coverage for total loss of checked in baggage including handbags.
Official website and details here.

Most of the airline industry also provides their own independent travel insurance coverage Most recently when my parents were travelling within India, the Jet Airways offered them their travel insurance coverage called Jet Protect for insuring their belongings and the domestic flight journey. Tata AIG’s Travel Guard is the plan through which Qatar and Emirates insure their traveler’s flight journey.

It is easy to list a number of companies that offer travel insurance, but the choice is always yours. You have to decide what makes you buy a particular plan and what are reasons to justify it. For this, you need to know what are the various factors that determines the travel insurance rates.

– Age of the traveler really matters
– Number of traveler
– Length of travel
– Type of coverage

I know, this is a never ending topic. My only suggestion with regards to the travel insurance is that it should not be the plan that you are buying but it should be the coverage that matters. Never blindly buy a plan thinking it is a costly plan and it should have all that you need or a low budget which will not even suffice your needs. You might be wrong! Thoroughly read through the plan and ask yourself this simple question – “Do we really need this plan?”. This will ensure you are finding the right travel insurance plan for your dear ones trip. Here are some tips on buying travel insurance for visitors.

Recommended Visitor Insurance

Disclaimer: Details mentioned above might have changed since the publication date. Please check with the company for current rates and specifications. I am not a certified insurance policy seller and the above information is only for research purposes and could have inaccuracies. Please use your judgement.

Hi, Mani Karthik here. Having lived in USA, India & Middle East, and worked for big MNC’s to startups, I have a lot to share with you. My aim is to help people, by sharing everything I’ve learned in life, through this blog. It’s read today by more than 150K people world over! I currently live in LA, California and visit India occasionally. Here’s my full story on who I am and why I blog. Connect with me on FBInstagram, Twitter or WhatsApp (+001-408-489-4785). Happy to help! 🙂

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