India

10 Best Travel Insurance For US Visitors & Parents

Travel_Insurance_for_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.

Here’s what I learned.

  1. There is no one insurance plan that fits everyone.
  2. Figuring out what works for your travel plan is key.
  3. Listen to existing/old customers and reviews.
  4. Avoid cheap plans that offers no value.
  5. Consider the claim process more than plan features.
  6. Some plans look good on paper but are practically not useful.
  7. Don’t assume things. Read the fine print carefully.
  8. Contact support and ask questions based on an imaginary scenario. (Ex: What happens if, How do I, How much is, etc)

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.

Here are the best travel insurance for US visitors & parents visiting USA.

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

Best Travel Insurance for USA - Summary Show

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

Popular Travel Insurance Plans for USA

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

Best Travel Insurance 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

Best Travel Insurance for Long Visits to USA

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

Best Travel Insurance for Pre-Existing Conditions

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