This is one question I get asked a lot. Mostly by folks who are traveling from India to USA on visit visa (B2) and also folks who are bringing their parents over to USA on visits. Now, let me answer this question with the best of my knowledge. But first…
Why should you trust me?
I live in the USA on a H1 visa and have been here many a times on business/pleasure trips. During those times, I’ve brought my parents and families on visit visas as well and gone through this process pretty extensively. So I have first hand experience in this. I’ve also talked to some of the best travel insurance providers in the country and researched on who the plans work, what charges are involved etc thereby can pretty much confidently tell you how these insurance plans work. I am however not a licensed insurance broker or anything like that. I speak out of my experience – hope that helps. Read more about me here.
So, do you need travel insurance when traveling from India to USA?
Short answer is that it’s not necessary, but recommended. I flew once without it and it was totally ok. Travel insurance is pretty much optional. Authorities are not going to stop you from entering the US just because you don’t have a travel insurance. The Airlines too don’t need you to have a travel insurance plan.
So, if it’s not mandatory, why spend your hard earned money getting one?
Short answer is because stuff happens and if they do, you better have yourself covered. There are lot of uncertainties during travel and it’s always a good idea to have a travel insurance plan so you don’t have to shell out of your pocket.
Why do you need travel insurance?
Like I said – stuff happen. For example, say you lost your baggage during travel. Or you fell sick. Say you have a pre-existing condition and you need immediate treatment while in USA. If you know how insurance works in the USA, you know that it’s super-expensive to do out of pocket treatment (without insurance). Even simple treatments will cost you up to thousand dollars. Because, in USA most people are covered with insurance for the same reason. Treatment is expensive, you need an insurance plan to cover the costs.
How does travel insurance help during travel?
With a travel/visitor’s insurance plan you are pretty much covered against most popular odds. Like falling sick and the like. Your insurer will take care of the expenses (according to whatever plan you take) and you will have peace of mind. If you need to consult a Doctor of your choice, most plans will help you do it.
If you don’t have a travel insurance plan then, not only will you have to shell out a lot of money in such unfortunate situations.
Check out this article I wrote about the best travel insurance plans for US visitors.