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10 Best Travel Insurance For Parents Visiting USA

Ever since I moved to the USA, I always wanted to bring my parents over for visiting USA. I wanted them to see places, try the adventure rides, and enjoy the beauty of USA, that they might have only seen in movies.

That’s when I learned about the importance of getting travel insurance for visitors to USA. And boy I made some mistakes.

In this article, I’ll share with you my experience of buying a good travel insurance for visiting USA, the mistakes I made and what I learned from them (so that you can avoid them).

In this article, I’ll also compare, analyze and review popular travel insurance plans for visitors to the US, and help you find out which plan to buy. And more importantly, which ones to avoid.

Visiting USA needs a bit of planning well ahead. You need to decide on the travel dates early on and apply for the visa at least two months ahead. Submit a visa application online, attend the interview and finally get the visit visa stamped on your passport. You know the drill.

And, two months is a good time to prepare for US travel. However, many people miss out on the most important thing – travel insurance.

If you’re visiting the USA as a parent, student, or even a temporary worker (ex: H1B visa), you’d need temporary medical insurance, ideally.

Best Travel Insurance for US Visitors

1. Atlas America
2. Visitor Secure
3. Safe Travels USA Comprehensive
4. Safe Travels USA
5. Patriot America Plus
6. Atlas Premium America
7. Visitors Care
8. Safe Travels Cost Saver
9. Cover America Gold

Travel insurance for parents is different from regular travel insurance. Regular travel insurance comes with many features and benefits that are not usually required for parents.

Like for example, baggage loss, protection from injury during adventure rock climbing or adventure hiking. That is not very attractive to parents. For parents, health and medical costs involved are more important. Isn’t it?

Best travel insurance for parents

Best Travel Insurance for Parents Visiting USA

The best travel insurance plans for parents visiting USA are,

  1. Atlas America
  2. Safe Travels USA Comprehensive
  3. Visitor Secure
  4. Safe Travels USA
  5. Atlas Premium America
  6. Safe Travels Cost Saver
  7. Visitors Care
  8. CoverAmerica Gold and
  9. Patriot America Plus

When choosing a travel insurance plan, make sure to read the fine print for exclusions and inclusions.

Medical expense in USA is high. Treatment for even small events like common flu can cost up to few hundred dollars. Indian parents who visit USA are subject to many risks during their stay. Like change in weather conditions, physical injury, food poisoning etc.

So, it is very important to protect them against such risks with a travel medical insurance. Having said that, travel insurance is not mandatory for parents visiting USA.

Medical cost in US is alarmingly expensive compared to India. Don’t make the mistake of not buying travel insurance for your parents when visiting USA. If possible, buy the plan online, before your trip.

Like I mentioned earlier, regular travel insurance comes with more benefits and features than those catered for parents. Detailed review of each plan is given below. Please review each plan, their features, exclusions and comparisons before making a decision.

Popular travel insurance plans for USA

Which are the popular travel insurance plans for US visitors?

Patriot America PlusSafe Travels USA
IMG GlobalTrawick International
Up to $1,000,000 policy maximumUp to $1,000,000 policy maximum
Pays 100% within PPO network after deductiblePays 100% within PPO network after deductible
$500 for loss of checked baggage$1,000 for loss of checked baggage
Acute onset of pre-existing conditions coverage up to policy maximumUp to $1,000 for acute onset of pre-existing conditions
Best travel insurance for USA - Short Visits

What about short visits to USA?

Here are the best travel insurance plans for short visits to USA.

Patriot AmericaAtlas America
IMG GlobalHDD IMS
Coverage: Up to 2 yearsCoverage: Up to 364 days
No coverage for acute onset of pre-existing conditionsCovers up to $2,000,000 for acute onset of pre-existing conditions (under age of 70)
Pays 100% within PPO network after deductiblePays 100% after the deductible is satisfied
$300 for acute, unexpected dental pain$250 for acute, unexpected dental pain
Best Travel Insurance Plans for USA - Long Visits

What about long visits?

If you’re visiting USA for long duration (say more than 2 months) then these are the best plans.

Patriot PlatinumPatriot America
Coverage: 36 MonthsCoverage: Up to 2 years
$10,000 for trip interruption$10,000 for trip interruption
Pays 100% within PPO networkPays 100% within PPO network
$300 for acute, unexpected dental pain$300 for acute, unexpected dental pain
Best Travel Insurance for Pre Existing Conditions

Health insurance for visitors to USA with pre-existing conditions

If you have pre-existing conditions and are traveling to USA, here are the best travel insurance plans.

Patriot America PlusAtlas America
IMG GlobalHCC IMS
Coverage: Up to 2 YearsCoverage: Up to 364 Days
Acute onset of pre-existing conditions: Max limit for person under age 70Acute onset of pre-existing conditions: $2,000,000 for person under age 69. $100,000 for age 70-79.
Co-Pay: 100% within PPO network after deductibleCo-Pay: 100% within PPO network after deductible
$300 for acute, unexpected dental pain$250 for acute, unexpected dental pain

Also read: How to choose the best travel insurance online

What is acute onset of pre-existing conditions?
Any sudden and/or unexpected outbreak or recurrence of a Pre-Existing Condition (as listed by the insurance company) which occurs spontaneously and without advance warning is defined as acute on-set of a pre-existing condition. It usually occurs in short duration, is rapidly progressive, and requires immediate care.

Now, let’s get on with in-depth review of each plan.

1. Atlas America

New immigrants to USA, business travelers to USA, students, short visits – whatever is the reason for your travel to USA, Atlas America will suit your need. It protects you from most potential disasters and even offers emergency medical evacuation, coverage for lost of baggage etc.

Atlas America Features & Benefits

Process to Getting Medical Treatment

  • Show your ID card to the medical attendant.
  • Pay the deductible or copay (if applicable).
  • The medical office may submit bills directly.
  • After the visit, you will need to submit a Claimant’s Statement and Authorization form.

Process to Filing a Medical Claim

  • Submit original, itemized bills, and any payment receipts, and claim form.
  • Claims must be filed within 60 days of the termination date of your plan.

Exclusions in Atlas America Plan

  • Coverage for pre-existing conditions is excluded from coverage.
  • Coverage for acute onset of a pre-existing condition is excluded when the pre-existing condition is a congenital or chronic condition.
  • Expenses related to cancer of any form are excluded.

Atlas America Cancellation Plan

  • Free to cancel before effective date.
  • $25 fee to cancel on or after effective date.
  • Prorated refund on unused days only.
  • No cancellations if a claim has been filed.

Atlas America Travel Insurance Plan Summary

Type of PlanComprehensive
Administered ByHCCMIS
UnderwriterLloyd's
Min. Coverage5 Days
Max. Coverage364 Days
Coverage AreasUSA, International
RenewableYes
RefundsYes
CancellationPossible
For Visa TypesB1/B2
Available forNon US Residents, US Visitors
ProviderFirst Health Network
Restricted StatesMaryland, Washington, New York
Acute On-Set of Pre-Existing ConditionsCovered

Atlas America Treatment Charges (For Sample Illustration Only)

Atlas_America_Benefits_Treatment_Charges

2. Safe Travels USA Comprehensive

Safe Travels USA administered by Trawick International, is a popular comprehensive plan that offers medical coverage for accident and sickness to visitors in the USA (Non US citizens).

It is popular with US visitors, especially among parents in the 70 – 89 age group since it provides the most coverage for acute onset of pre-existing conditions. Once you buy the plan, you’ll get a virtual ID card which is good to go.

Safe Travels USA Comprehensive Benefits

  • PPO Network (First health)
  • Deductible Options: In-network – $0, Out of Network – $0, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000, $2,500 or $5,000.
  • Urgent Care Co-Pay: $30 -If the $0 out of Network Deductible is chosen, there is no co-pay for Urgent Care.
  • Doctor visit: Pays up to $75 – One visit per person per plan period.
  • Emergency Room Illness with no direct Hospital Admission: $200 Co-pay
  • Trip Interruption: $5,000
  • Lost Baggage: $1,000
  • Accidental Death and Dismemberment: $25,000
  • Mental or Nervous Disorders: $2,500 per plan period
  • Physiotherapy/Physical Medicine/Chiropractic: $50 per visit per day; up to 10 visits per plan period
  • Dental Treatment: $250 per plan period

Safe Travels USA Comprehensive Plan Summary

Type of PlanComprehensive
Administered ByTrawick International
UnderwriterGBG Insurance Limited
Min. Coverage5 Days
Max. Coverage2 Years
Coverage AreasUSA
RenewableYes
RefundsYes
CancellationPossible
For Visa TypesB1/B2
Available forNon US Residents, US Visitors
ProviderFirst Health Network, Coventry
Restricted StatesMaryland, Washington, New York
Acute On-Set of Pre-Existing ConditionsCovered

3. Visitor Secure

VisitorSecure is a economical plan for people visiting USA for a short time. It offers basic coverage, is low cost and offers less benefits compared to the comprehensive plans. With no PPO network, you can visit any Doctor of your choice under this plan. (Which Doctor to visit with Travel Insurance)

It is underwritten by Lloyd’s and administered by Tokio Marine HCC Group.

There are some limits and restrictions you need to be mindful of. People from certain states and countries are not eligible for this plan. Check details here.

However, this remains as one of the most popular plans (in terms of number of policies sold) among travelers to USA.

Visitor Secure Features & Highlights

  • Coverage for pre-existing conditions is excluded from coverage.
  • Coverage for acute onset of a pre-existing condition is excluded when the pre-existing condition is a congenital or chronic condition.
  • Expenses related to cancer of any form are excluded.
  • Submit original, itemized bills, and any payment receipts, and claim form.
  • Claims must be filed within 60 days of the termination date of your plan. (Claim form & details).
  • Free to cancel before effective date.
  • $25 fee to cancel on or after effective date.
  • Prorated refund on unused days only.
  • No cancellations if a claim has been filed
  • Toll Free Contact Number : 1-800-605-2282

VisitorSecure Travel Insurance Plan Summary

Type of PlanLimited Coverage
Administered ByHCCMIS
UnderwriterLloyd's
Min. Coverage5 Days
Max. Coverage2 Years
Coverage AreasUSA, International
RenewableYes
RefundsYes
CancellationPossible
For Visa TypesB1/B2
Available forNon US Residents, US Visitors
ProviderAny
Restricted StatesMaryland, Washington, New York
Acute On-Set of Pre-Existing ConditionsCovered

Here is an example of in-patient treatment charges as covered under this plan. (For illustration purposes only, actual charges may vary, please check directly with company).

VisitorSecure_Treatment-Charges-Covered

4. Safe Travels USA

Safe Travels USA is an excellent and very popular travel insurance plan for visitors to USA. It can be purchased for 5 days to 1 year and renewed for a total of 2 years.

Safe Travels USA Benefits & Features

  • Plan pays 80% of the first $5,000, then 100% upto the plan maximum
  • Covers doctor visits, X-rays, prescriptions, hospital, surgery and ambulance
  • Coverage for acute on-set of a pre-exisiting medical conditions
  • Emergency medical treatment of pregnancy up to $1,000
  • Mental or nervous disorders up to $2,500
  • Physiotherapy/Chiropractic $50 per visit per day up to 10 visits
  • Dental – For injury or emergency alleviation of pain $250

Safe Travels USA Travel Insurance Plan Summary

Type of PlanLimited Coverage
Administered ByTrawick International
UnderwriterGBG Insurance Limited
Min. Coverage5 Days
Max. Coverage1 Year
Coverage AreasUSA
RenewableYes
RefundsYes
CancellationPossible
For Visa TypesB1/B2
Available forNon US Residents, US Visitors
ProviderFirst Health Network, Coventry
Restricted StatesNone
Acute On-Set of Pre-Existing ConditionsCovered

5. Atlas Premium America

Atlas Premium America is a comprehensive, high end visitors insurance for USA. It participates in the United Healthcare or First Health PPO Network that provide cashless treatment in US.

After you pay the chosen deductible, when you visit providers under the PPO network, Atlas Premium America will pay 100% of the plan maximum for all the covered medical expenses.

6. Safe Travels Cost Saver

An economical plan for non US citizens who are visiting USA and US citizens whose home country is outside of US who needs up to 90 days of coverage. New injuries, accidents and new medical conditions that occur after the effective date of plan are covered under this plan.

However, expenses related to pre-existing conditions, preventive check-ups or maternity is generally not covered in this plan.

Safe Travels USA Cost Saver Plan Summary

Type of PlanLimited Coverage
Administered ByTrawick International
UnderwriterGBG Insurance Limited
Min. Coverage5 Days
Max. Coverage2 Years
Coverage AreasUSA
RenewableYes
RefundsYes
CancellationPossible
For Visa TypesB1/B2
Available forNon US Residents, US Visitors
ProviderFirst Health Network, Coventry
Restricted StatesNone
Acute On-Set of Pre-Existing ConditionsCovered

Also read: In-depth review of Patriot America Plus Travel Insurance

7. Visitors Care

Visitors Care administered by IMG Global and underwritten by Sirius International is a decent travel insurance for visitors to USA. It’s a basic coverage, low cost, less benefits plan that offers coverage from 5 days to 12 months.

With First Health PPO network, you can visit a Doctor under this network. There are some limits to it, as in people from certain states (Maryland) and countries are not eligible for this plan.

It is optional to cover pre-existing conditions under this plan (see details).

Visitors Care Travel Insurance Plan Summary

Type of PlanLimited Coverage
Administered ByIMG
UnderwriterSirius International
Min. Coverage5 Days
Max. Coverage1 Year
Coverage AreasUSA, International
RenewableYes
RefundsYes
CancellationPossible
For Visa TypesB1/B2
Available forUS Residents, Non US Residents, US Visitors
ProviderFirst Health Network
Restricted StatesMaryland
Acute On-Set of Pre-Existing ConditionsOptional

8. Patriot America Plus

Patriot America Plus plan from International Medical Group is a comprehensive travel medical insurance plan for non-U.S. citizens who are traveling abroad (to the USA included). 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.

It is underwritten by Sirius International and administered by IMG Global.

Patriot America Plus Features & Benefits

  • Maximum limits: $50,000 to $1,000,000
  • Deductible: $0 to $2,500
  • Extensions: Up to 24 continuous months
  • Emergency medical evacuation: $1 million
  • Coinsurance:
    • In-network: IMG pays 100%
    • Out-of-network: IMG pays 80% up to $5,000, then 100%
  • Acute onset of pre-existing conditions: Under 70 years of age, up to the maximum limit. $25,000 maximum limit for medical evacuation
  • Remote transportation: No coverage
  • Supplemental accident: No coverage
  • Offers comprehensive coverage. (See difference between comprehensive & limited coverage)
  • Affordable premium.
  • Acute onset of pre-existing conditions coverage available up to selected plan maximum.
  • Good PPO network.
  • Deductible should be satisfied only once per plan period.
  • Renew, cancel or refund online. (How to renew travel insurance)
  • For travelers over 80 years, there’s a maximum limit of $10,000.
  • Renewable is possible only after 30 days of purchase.
  • $50 Applicable for cancellation.

Patriot America Plus Travel Insurance Plan Summary

Type of PlanComprehensive
Administered ByIMG
UnderwriterSirius International
Min. Coverage5 Days
Max. Coverage2 Years
Coverage AreasUSA, International
RenewableYes
RefundsYes
CancellationPossible
For Visa TypesB1/B2
Available forNon US Residents, US Visitors
ProviderUnited Healthcare
Restricted StatesNone
Acute On-Set of Pre-Existing ConditionsCovered

Best travel insurance for parents visiting USA from India

The best travel insurance for parents visiting USA from India are TATA AIG, HDFC Ergo and ICICI Lombard. Here are in-depth reviews.

Apart from US companies (the ones mentioned above), there are a few Indian travel insurance companies as well, that provide travel insurance for visitors to USA from India. I personally wouldn’t recommend these companies because most of the time, they are only good on paper but won’t be of help in actual situations.

Tata AIG – Travel Guard Travel Insurance

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.

More details here.

Geico Travel Insurance

GEICO is not an Indian company. GEICO’s travel insurance plans are divided into two categories: ExactCare and AirCare

Features of ExactCare traveler insurance:

– 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.

HDFC ERGO

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.

In-depth review hereOfficial website and details here.

ICICI Lombard Travel Insurance

Key benefits of this plan 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.

In-depth review hereOfficial 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 travelers
– Length of travel
– Type of coverage

I have written more in-depth articles on bringing your parents to USA. Here are a few that I strongly recommend reading.

Travel Insurance for CoronaVirus

As of today, there is a huge demand for travel insurance that covers CoronaVirus. Unfortunately, most of the travel insurance plans will not cover pandemics like CoronaVirus. Some do.

If you need an insurance that covers screening for Coronavirus, treatments and even trip cancellations due to CoronaVirus outbreak, you need to get a “Cancel For Any Reason” insurance plan.

Such plans can be expensive but will cover many aspects relating to Coronavirus outbreak like situations.

However, I strongly suggest you read the terms and conditions/fine print before buying the insurance plan to double-check whether it is covered in your country or country of travel.

Travel Insurance for CoronaVirus

Tips for parents visiting USA

Parents love visiting their kids, be it USA or UK. But in the excitement, we tend to forget about their safety and health.

A 24 hour plane journey can be painful. A common flu, a sprained ankle or even an upset stomach can spoil all the fun.

Accidents can happen anywhere, anytime. All we can do is to take necessary precautions to overcome the stress and limit the financial burden. That’s when medical insurance comes into the picture.

Here are some tips for parents visiting USA, for a plesant stay.

  • Avoid risky & adventures events.
  • Avoid exposure to extreme weather conditions.
  • Eat healthy, balanced food.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Stay connected, get a mobile phone.
  • Carry emergency cash with you always.
  • Take frequent breaks during travel.
  • Carry over-the-counter medications if needed.
  • Carry documents proving medical history.
  • Keep emergency contact with you always.
  • Memorize your local address.
  • Carry ID proof and documentation with you always.

Here are more tips for parents traveling to USA.

Before you read ahead, please also check this article on different types of travel insurance is available. (Also read: Best travel insurance for senior citizens)

Best Travel Insurance for USA

Is travel insurance compulsory for USA?

No. According to US laws, travel insurance is not mandatory for traveling to USA, if you are a tourist.

Travel insurance is intended to cover the following expenses while you are in a foreign land..

  • Trip cancellations
  • Medical expenses
  • Baggage loss
  • Flight cancellations

Having said that, not every travel insurance plan covers everything. Please check the exclusions and benefits of each plan before purchase.

I recommend buying travel insurance when traveling to USA because..

  • It covers medical expenses.
  • It covers contigencies like flight cancellations & lost baggage.
  • It gives you peace of mind.

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

Does travel insurance cover trip cancellation?

Let’s see what trip cancellation plans 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?

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.

Best Travel Insurance for USA

Does travel insurance cover medical insurance?

Travel insurance and medical insurance are two terms that are interchangeably used sometimes. Technically, they are different but in this context, they are very similar.

For US visitors, travel insurance is ideally a short term medical insurance. It offers protection against illness or injuries that occur during your visit to USA. Some of the eligible medical expenses in travel insuane are doctor’s visit, hospital charges, surgery, lab works, prescription drugs etc. Please check plan details for exclusions.

An important thing to note about travel insurance is that some of the plans do not cover existing illnesses or “pre-existing conditions”.

Recommended Plans

Who should get travel insurance

Travel insurance or short term medical insurance is availabe for all kinds of visitors to US such as..

– 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).

How to claim medical insurance while in USA

Claiming your medical insurance is a fairly straight forward process in the USA. Make sure you call the provider immediately or within the 24 hours of emergency. Follow the instructions they provide. Details here -How to get travel insurance claim approved.

How much does travel insurance to USA cost

Travel insurance to USA will cost anywhere from $100 upwards depending on your duration of stay and risks covered. To get an accurate estimate, try the online plan cost estimator here.

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

My friend’s mother faced this situation. 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 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. Ironically it totally depends on the credibility of the evidence.

Also read: Best medical insurance for pre-existing conditions

Getting deeper into this topic.

Where can you buy travel insurance

The best place to buy travel insurance is online. There are websites like insubuy.com that offer customer support and assistance to buy travel insurance.

Related: Where to buy travel insurance online?

Best travel insurance covering pre-existing conditions

Regular travel insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions. Here are the policies that cover pre-existing conditions. Please make sure that you read the exclusions and benefits throughly before purchase.

How is the travel insurance claim process?

One of the things many of us forget while buying travel insurance is the claim process. In a recent study, we did it was observed that most people who buy travel insurance does not use the claim process.

For the same reason, there are many stigmas and misconceptions associated with travel insurance claim process.

Here are some important things you need to know about travel insurance claim process.

  1. You might need a Doctor’s certificate to claim trip cancellations.
    And it’s best if you just don’t go about getting it randomly. But follow the standard template issued by the insurance company.
  2. Keep documentation of everything. Tickets, doctor visits etc. They will be useful during claim process.
  3. If something unfortunate happens, contact your insurance company immediately, rather than waiting.
  4. Provide proof of loss in case of any physical damage (ex: baggage loss).

Also read: Visa interview questions for parents visiting USA

What I learned from buying visitors insurance for parents visiting US!
  • Travel insurance is not a must, but highly recommend and useful.
  • It’s better if you buy/activate the plan before boarding flight.
  • It’s better to get an insurance plan from US company.
  • Cheapest plan is not always the best. Do your research well.
  • Buying online has its benefits. Use the comparison engines.
  • Comprehensive coverage plans are better than limited coverage ones.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it compulsory to get medical insurance for visitors to USA?

No. However it is recommended that you get medical insurance, as it will be a help more than anything. Here are some of the reasons why your parents visiting USA should get medical insurance.

Which is the best health insurance for parents visiting USA from India?

For parents traveling to USA from India, the best travel insurance plans are those that cover pre-existing conditions or/and offer a comprehensive coverage. I’d recommend these insurance plans.

Can a foreigner buy travel insurance in USA?

Yes. If you are a visitor and have a valid visitor visa, it is recommended that you buy the plan on or before the day of travel. Because once you reach US soil, it is difficult to get a plan that works for you.

Where should I buy travel insurance from?

You can buy travel insurance from online websites like Insubuy and Visitorscoverage. Here’s a guide on where to buy visitors insurance from.

Can parents older than 60 years get travel insurance?

Yes, there are a few insurance providers which provide specialized insurance plans to elder folks. They also cover pre-existing conditions. Here’s a guide on insurance plans for elder folks.

Can I enter USA without travel insurance?

Yes, you can. At the moment (as of 2019) travel insurance for parents isn’t mandatory by US laws. However it is recommended that you get one in order to protect yourself.

Which is the best travel insurance plan for aged parents (say 70+ years old)?

Is it better to buy travel insurance from USA or India?

There are plenty of insurance options in India which are cheaper than the ones in USA. But being cheap doesn’t mean good. You need to understand that insurance is useful only when you use it. My experience is that insurance from India is very limited or not useful at all in USA.

Don’t take my word for it. Just reach out to the insurance/claim department in a hospital nearby in USA and check if they accept the Indian insurance company. Chances are that they won’t.

Not trying to say that just getting any American insurance is better but when comparing buying insurance from USA or India, American insurance companies offer more useful and practical insurance coverage than Indian ones, which remain cheap and look good on paper.

Which is the best travel insurance for a 80 years old?

Two travel insurance plans that fit travelers who are 80+ are Patriot America Plus and Safe Travels USA Comprehensive.

What is the best time to buy travel insurance?

It is recommended to buy travel insurance plan before the travel, with the coverage starting from the date of journey. You’ll find it very difficult to get an insurance plan after arriving in USA (not impossible but there will be lot of questions asked).

Which is the best travel insurance for visitors to USA?

It is tough and unfair to suggest any one plan, because each plan is intended for a different context. The most popular travel insurance for USA is Patriot America Plus, Safe Travels, and Choice America. But I suggest you find a plan that fits your requirements. (See table above)

Is medical insurance a must for US visitors?

President Donald Trump has proposed a new rule (Nov 8th, 2019) which says that medical insurance is a must for new immigrants to USA. My understanding is that it means that new immigrants (H1B holders etc) need to prove that they have or can afford medical insurance when immigrating to USA.

However, it is not clear as to whether visitors to USA need to get medical insurance (as per the rule). My recommendation, however, is that you get temporary medical insurance when visiting USA, because it is a wise decision. Medical expenses are huge in USA and it is better to insure than to regret.

Related: Do you need travel insurance when traveling to USA

How did I come up with this list?

I’ve tried my best to create an unbiased opinion, talking to customers who bought travel insurance, through my NRI community.

I’ve brought my parents to USA many times on visit visa. During this process, I’ve made several mistakes and learned a lot. Insurnace is truly confusing and one has to read through the fine print to really understand what’s offered. I’ve studied the process and products in this industry probably more than an insurance agent.

Also, I run an online community for NRIs (Non Resident Indians) called BackToIndia.com. Many people there bring their parents on visit visa to USA and share their experience dealing with insurance providers. Usually, people complain about insurance plans.

For example, when they file a claim and get a cold reply from the provider. Just listening to those discussions itself can tell you which are the good and bad insurance plans.

Before buying a plan, I recommend you to check prices on a comparison site like this and check the prices offline with a travel agent. If you can get a cheaper rate with an agent, that’d be great. But my experience is that you get better prices when you buy insurance policies online.

Criteria for research

  • Complaints from users
    I researched about customer complaints on all the products listed here and got an idea about which are the most disliked plans/providers.
  • Insurance cost
    Cost was an important factor comparing these plans.
  • Insurance agency reputation
    I looked at user reviews online, before deciding on the good and bad insurance plans/providers.
  • Approval rates
    I looked at how easy or difficult it was to get approved for each plan mentioned here.
  • Network coverage
    I compared network coverage and access for different providers.

Disclosure: Some of the products mentioned here are linked to their product pages/websites with an affiliate link. If you make a purchase from the websites, this blog might earn a commission from the sale, without affecting the cost of the product or any other additional charges.

If you have any questions, please ask in comments and I’ll be happy to answer.

About the author

Mani Karthik

In my pursuit of happiness, I share everything I've learned, on this blog. From productivity to spirituality and everything in between. I quit my cozy job in the USA to pursue my passion - blogging. Today, I make five times what my US job paid. More than the money, I love the freedom it gives me to make my own choices. Come join me. Start blogging! :) WhatsApp : +0014084894785

82 Comments

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  • What an amazing resource! Thanks for putting this together MK.

    I was looking to buy travel insurance for my parents visiting US, and found it very useful. You should add more info about claims if possible.

    Thank you.

  • I am looking to take health insurance for my parents in India , Do you have any suggestions as there ages are 55 and 60 years old ?

    • Hi Bala, I’d recommend Atlas America, Patriot America Plus or Safe Travels. Please compare them. It’s usually unfair to be recommending anything without context but I’d let you be the judge. All the best! 🙂

  • Hi Mani,
    Thank you so much for your time and effort in compiling this information for us all! It is very much appreciated! This is such a complex topic, and there is no answer that fits everyone. Yet you have tried to provide information that can be used by so many people. All best wishes to you!

  • Hi Mani
    You are doing absolutely amazing work!
    Thankyou so much!

    I see great questions by everynoe as well about insurance plans in India
    I understand that its better to get coverage here

    However, do you have a post about folks who may have purchased insurance from India( ICICI, New India etc) in the last 2-3 years – just want to get perspective – thank you so much

    Best Regards
    Sneha

      • Are you referring to a group who are part of a forum or everyone who has moved back 🙂
        I have immense respect for people who have moved back and running cool startups and contributing to the Indian ecosystem!

        What I meant was, in my first note, the travel insurance purchased from India, how are they compared to the ones purchased in US?

  • My mother-in-law is visiting the US from Pakistan and is 84. She does not have any pre-existing conditions and will be visiting for 4 months. Last year she visited and we used Safe Travels USA Comprehensive, but I don’t see that on your list anymore. Which plan would you recommend?

  • Hi Karthik,

    Useful article. I’m curious if you know who took one of the above plans (ex: Atlas America) and actually visited a physician here. For new and/or pre-existing conditions. Bcz, I see that everyone is taking the plans but not sure how effective these plans are.

  • hi Mani,

    Firstly, thanks a lot for this information.
    I have some confusion between travel insurance and medical insurance. Is one a subset of other?

    My parents are planning at visit in May. My mother has no pre-existing conditions, but my father is a diabetic. But both are relatively healthy (they are aged 58 and 60 respectively). I am not sure which one provides a good coverage. Do you mind providing your suggestion here.

    Thanks,
    Uday

  • Dear Reader, cover america-gold have the undesired process of pre-Certification for inpatient treatment also (the main purpose of insurance is expense during a situation of being an inpatient).

    Coveramerica-gold is advertised highly in many review pages and the pre-certification for inpatient is not mentioned as disadvantage (even in this page, not even a single disadvantage for Coveramerica-gold). Beware !!

    In an emergency where you need an inpatient treatment would you wish to think about the recovery or the following list of activity as mentioned in the Coveramerica-gold insurance brochure ( https://www.visitorscoverage.com/brochure/coveramerica-gold-insurance-brochure.pdf ).

    Check 3rd point, will you ask a Doctor about recovery or will you ask a Doctor to FULLY cooperate with the insurance company at the emergency moment. According to insurance what does FULLY means, this one word is enough to reject your claim.

    To comply with the pre-certification requirements, you must do the following:
    1. Contact Seven Corners Assist at the telephone number on your ID card as soon as possible before the expense is incurred;
    2. Comply with Seven Corners Assist’s instructions and submit any information or documents they require;
    3. Notify all physicians, hospitals and other providers that this insurance contains pre-certification requirements and ask them to fully cooperate with Seven Corners Assist.

  • Hi Mani,
    What about coverage for new immigrants. My parents are traveling soon on an immigrant visa. Their green card is approved. What plans/options would you recommend for an extended coverage (~3-5 months) on their upcoming visit?

  • I saw the details. It provides information but could not find what I am looking for. Please suggest a plan for senior citizen age group 75-79 years with Pre existing condition covered. The coverage for pre existing condition should be sufficient for US condition.

    The plan premium should be economical.

  • These are Visitors Insurance NOT Travel Insurance. Although many use this term interchangebly I think there is a clear distinction. You should consider renaming this title – “Which Is The Best Travel Insurance For Parents Visiting USA?”

  • Hi karthik,

    My mother is visiting Calgary Canada for 6 months and we have plan to visit USA for a week or two.

    What would you suggest which insurance company based out of USA or Canada ?? Or any insurance company from india??
    I’m really confused, my mother is pretty healthy age 55 and don’t have any current issues or medication also did not had any major surgeries or illnesses

    Appreciate your response and help

    Thanks

  • Hi Mani,

    My name is Sandeep. My parents are visiting this week. Dad is 70 and mom is 59. Dad had a surgery in his leg 4 months back and he is now recovering. Currently, he is under physiotherapy but can walk slowly. Dad also had diabetes. Mom does not have any preexisting conditions. They are here in US for 6 months. Which insurance would you suggest?

    • Sandeep, in this case, I’d be very careful about what I choose. If I were you, I’d call up the customer care number to get a confirmation from the provider on whether or not his conditions will be covered. “Pre-existing conditions” is a grey area and I wouldn’t make any assumptions.

  • Hi Mani,

    I have a question my Mother-in-law had breast cancer in 2013 She is fine now but are you aware of any insurance which will cover it along with it my Father-in-law had put the stent in the chest so I want one insurance company which cover there pre-existing condition.

    Thanks
    Prashant

    • Prashant, I suggest you dire4ctly call up the provider to double check it. Reading any amount of documents online will not give you the accurate information. This is my experience.

    • Hi Prashant,

      My parents are planning to visit USA on june 2019.My father had also put stent on his chest,so i just wanted to know which insurance plan you had taken for them and is there any issue on plane during travelling.

      Thanks
      Puja

  • Atlas America has 1 star on yelp reviews (and people would have given it 0 stars if that was an option). What’s going on? You list them as a bestseller and those who purchased the plan had terrible experience. Any thoughts on this?

    • Lukan, Atlas America is still popular although there are mixed reviews about it. I think one of the factors that goes into this is that people buy insurance for different purposes and individual choices are many. It’s a good plan that caters to many situations and hence the popularity. However, I agree that there are mixed reviews. I think it is up to the buyer to figure out if it is suited for his personal choice and requirements. Unfortunately, you cannot have a one suit fits all kind of a solution in this space.

  • Hi Mani,
    I came across your blog and it gives a very good description about travel insurance for USA. But finally I am confused after reading so many plans and benefits.
    Myself aged 58 years and my husband aged 65 will be travelling to Florida this December. We may be doing many road trips in Florida. Please suggest us a good travel insurance which is not very expensive at the same time covering emergency doctor visit and accident emergency . We do not have any pre existing medical problems. We will be staying there for 5 months.
    Please clarify.

  • What would you suggest for parents aged 62 and 71; both in normal health, just want to buy something that takes care of emergency visits or a doctor’s visit if something comes up?

  • Hello Mr Mani,

    I am very happy to find your website with all the details pertaining to Visitor visa inquiries, which every child looking for their parents visiting them in US. Even my parents visiting US in November (during winters for 3 months) with mom aged 57 & dad 65. My mother is diabetic father as leg injury. As per your reference for the previous questions and based on the article, choice america is best option for aged parents with pre existing medical condition. I did read some article about about choice america but it indicates limited coverage of pre existing medical medical conditions. I dont want opt for the comprehensive plans coz only mom as high diabetic issue, I might/might not use the medical insurance. Considering winters (California) I am worried about her diabetic issues. Now I am totally confused, any suggestions from you is welcome

  • Hi Mani,
    First of all thank you for such a great article. My parents are 64, 65 and planning to visit U.S for 4 months from India. They both have preexisting conditions. Can you please suggest comprehensive insurance for them .

    thanks,
    hari.

  • More I am seeing and more confusing I am getting into as my parents are diabetic in there 58 and 53 and I don’t want to take a chance ,Could you suggest which coverage is best ?

  • This is so great. Thank you!
    I don’t suppose you could do a piece on health insurance options for parents while they are in India?

  • Hi Mani,

    First of all Kudos to you for writing such a brilliant piece that encourages discussion and provides such valuable information on various insurance plans for visitors coming to USA. Its so hard for someone who has never had to shop around for insurance to know what is good or not.
    I have been researching for good insurance plans for two of my aunts who are looking to travel to USA soon; one of them is 79 yrs old and the other is 81 yrs old.
    I read your blog and had done some of my preliminary research as well. What I am struggling with is getting a good comprehensive travellers insurance for my aunt who is 81 yrs old. They have pre-existing condition of diabetes mainly and touchwood they are in good health, however for my senior most aunt, I was looking for insurance that would pay the maximum should there be any issue and I am realizing that Safe Travels USA Comprehensive also just covers upto $25000 even if I would get a $100,000 worth of policy where pre-existing conditions were concerned. Now that wasnt making sense to me as if I am getting an insurance and paying a higher premium for getting a policy with pre-existing conditions, then is there a policy that you have come across that does better justice in terms of coverage for those over 80 with pre existing conditions. I know and have heard from my friends that Emergency Care in USA for visitors with just $25000 is barely anything.
    Any guidance and help from you will be appreciated. Thanks

  • I got patriot america two times when my parents visited us both the times they had medical emergencies here and both times Patriot America gave a very hard time for claim so much so that eventually I just gave up. Has anyone had a good experience with them? I would not recommend them to anyone

    • That is sad to hear Rajiv. For clarity, can you tell me what exactly was the medical emergency? (If you don’t mind that is). It’ll be useful for others who are interested in taking Patriot America what is covered and not. Also, what exactly did you mean by hard time for claim? Is it that they didn’t acknowledge your claim at all or did they take too much time? Finally, what happened?

  • Hi MK,

    Which would you say is the best travel insurance to cover (hassle free claim) a short term (~1 month) visit from USA to India. Traveler is an Indian citizen working in USA?

  • Hi! I just read very useful information about traveler’s insurance on your blog. My many relatives gets insurance from India before they come here. Does it work here? Please let me know.

  • Hi Mani,

    My mother will be traveling from India to USA, staying here for 6 months. She doesn’t have any pre-existing diseases. However, I don’t want to take any risk and want to take full coverage insurance which covers everything with a minimum deductible possible. Please suggest few companies or insurance plans which I opt for .

    Regards,
    NM

    • Hi Mahesh,

      Have you checked out the ones I listed here? I don’t think it’s fair to suggest any one plan as each have their own benefits. Check out CoverAmerica Gold, Atlas America, Patriot America and ChoiceAmerica.

  • Hi Karthik
    Fantastic work on the article! We have family visiting in the U.S with pre-existing asthma and mild hearing loss and plan to get specialist doctors advice in San Francisco bay area. Any recommendation on visitor insurance with comprehensive network and coverage within the U.S?

    Thanks
    Srinivas

    • Hi Sri,

      I suggest you check out comprehensive plans with pre-existing conditions coverage. Like CoverAmerica Gold, Atlas America, Patriot America etc. It’s tricky when it comes to pre-existing conditions, I usually recommend my friends to check with the provider first hand and not trust any other source.

  • Hi Karthik.
    My in-laws will be visiting the US in June. My father-in-law is 83 and has pre-existing conditions. Can you please recommend a plan which has good coverage for seniors over 80?
    Thanks

  • Thanks karthik , any guess how much could be premium under coverAmerica gold plan for one person? Knowing the range it varies would also help. They are planning to visit for a month

    Regards,

    Nitin

  • Dear Kartik
    Myself and my wife will be visiting SFO for 90days in first week of April We will be staying with our son and daughter who are Citizens
    I am 80 and my wife is 75
    We don’t have any prexiting problem No Heart Kidney Neuro Diabetes problems
    1 Which Insurance plan we should have 2 What proof we can we give If Companies say these were prexiting ??
    3 If apply and get Green card Will Obama care we can buy Premium for that and Advantage etc
    I am Internal Medicine Doctor MD from India

    • Hello Sir,

      1. I’d recommend Cover America Gold.
      2. Different companies work differently but previous health record would suffice. Although you might not need it at the time of buying the insurance.
      3. Yes, you can but it will take some time for you to get it. Meanwhile, I suggest you get temporary medical insurance.

      Please feel free to call up the corresponding insurance companies toll free number. Most of them are very well answered and will clear your doubts (with little nuances even).

      Wish you safe travels. Enjoy your stay! Feel free to ask if you have any doubts.

  • Hi Karthik

    First of all, truly outstanding effort on your web site. It is impressive & extremely useful. My mother-in-law, who is already 75 years old is visiting from India. I am looking at Patriot America Plus Traveler’s Insurance and Liaison Continent International. Patriot America looks better in terms of coverage, but their benefit details document has pages & pages filled with legal hoops and legal protection. Cumbersome process to appeal a claim, legal matters has to be in Indiana, etc. None of this matters if they have a good track record of settling claims without subjecting claimants to undue hardship. Have you heard anything from people who had to submit claims due to medical issues? Any idea what it is like to deal with Patriot America?

    The Liaison Continent benefits document on the other hand has a lot less legal verbiage and disclaimers. Downside is that it seems to have a lot less, maybe non-existent coverage regarding pre-existing conditions for people over 70. Reading their benefits documents, it sounds like they may be easier to deal with in case of a claim.

    Regards,

    Raj

  • hi Karhik,

    I live in LA too. Thanks for your Blog. Lots of useful information. My mother-in-law is visiting us in Jan 2018, her trip is for 5 months. She is diabetic, which insurance is likely good for her. Last time when she visited we took ICICI lombard, but we don’t have much knowledge that how to visit a doctor when she had problem with her sugar levels. Is all insurance cover the LA hospitals like PPO plans? is there any idea>
    Of the note, if she is visiting canada, is there any insurance plan that covers US and Canada trips?!

    Thanks
    Maruthi

    • Hi Maruthi,

      I suggest you take insurance from US companies since they are much easier to work with and offer better services. Yes, ChoiceAmerica and Liaison Continent are good plans suitable for elders with pre-existing conditions and cover US and Canada. I would suggest both of these plans.

      All the best, wishing them a safe trip! Let me know if you have any questions. 🙂

  • My parents are traveling from India to USA for 3 months. Which is the best insurance for them?
    Also, how reliable is Visitorscoverage v/s Insubuy? Which site is better?

    • Hi Anand,

      It would be very unfair for me to say which one plan is best for you. You have to find the right one that suits you, but I can help. The thing is, there are several plans available to pick from, based on your requirements. Like how long the stay is, what kind of coverage you need, the age of your parents etc.

      And as you rightly mentioned, there are these third part websites that lets you choose a good plan filtering from the big list. Both Visitorscoverage and Insubuy are good websites that gives a lot of insights on which plan to choose from. Visitorscoverage is more popular but Insubuy has been around for a longer time. Some plans are common between the two as well. I’ll let you make the choice.

  • MK, This is useful blog with good information! But the answer for the FAQ 2 is to b reviewed, as far as I know for a Permanent Resident/Green Card holder is NOT repeat NOT eligible to apply for any visa which will facilitate the parents to live permanently in US. Below is the extract from your link…..

    Bringing Parents to Live in the United States as Permanent Residents
    Eligibility

    To petition for your parents (mother or father) to live in the United States as green card holders, you must be a U.S. citizen and at least 21 years old. Green card holders (permanent residents) may not petition to bring parents to live permanently in the United States.

    • Hi Prasad,

      You just need your parents details like passport number etc. On the websites I mentioned, you can pretty much select and choose what insurance plan to buy and get it online, all in one go. You can then send the soft copies to your parents, who can carry it with them, taking a print out.

      All the best!

  • A very useful blog,especially for first time travellers to US.
    I appreciate the fund of information compiled by the blogger Mr.ManiKarthik
    with valuable inputs by Sruthi Menon.

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