One of the biggest lessons the pandemic has taught us is that uncertainty is part of our lives, and it is in our best interest to prepare for the worse, with the hope of never having to experience it.
Traveling comes with a certain degree of uncertainty, which you have to take into consideration when you are planning a trip. And travel insurance is one such product that helps you prepare for the worse with the hope of never having to use it.
Travel Insurance is important because it is designed to provide you and your loved ones with a safety net from financial risks during your travels. Depending on your plan, travel insurance typically covers 3 types of risk:
Some plans provide coverage for short-term health insurance, trip cancellation for any reason whatsoever, medical evacuation, and even death.
In this guide, we are going to simplify visitors insurance to help you pick the best plan for yourself /and your family.
Visitors Insurance is short-term health insurance for visitors to the United States. Such insurance coverage can help protect you from notoriously exorbitant healthcare costs in the United States if you or your loved ones need medical assistance for an injury, illness (including COVID-19), or accident.
The price or the premium of the insurance will vary depending on the person being insured - age, pre-existing conditions, length, and cost of the trip, etc.
Medical Insurance Coverage
Healthcare in the United States is notoriously expensive. An ambulance to take you to a hospital will start at a minimum of $500, and if you end up needing care that will require you to spend a night at the hospital, you could be well over $5000.
Medical Insurance is important for everyone - whether you are a student, a parent visiting your children, or a couple traveling for a romantic holiday.
Types of Visitors Insurance Coverage
The type of coverage can be either fixed or a comprehensive coverage plan. Depending on the country and the insurance provider, there may be limitations to what kind you can opt for.
If you are buying health insurance for parents visiting the U.S., a comprehensive travel insurance plan is a good option - offers more extensive coverage and has more benefits than a fixed coverage policy.
The average cost of a comprehensive visitors insurance plan in the United States is about 4% to 8% of the cost of a trip, according to the U.S. Travel Insurance Association.
Prices will vary depending on the multiple factors and note that certain providers do not offer comprehensive coverage to persons above a certain age.
Pre-Existing Conditions for Visitors Insurance
Pre-existing conditions include all medical or physical conditions that do not occur before the Effective Date of Coverage, including diabetes and high blood pressure. Except for a few insurance providers such as INF Elite and CoverAmerica-Gold, most visitors insurance plans do not cover pre-existing conditions.
Some insurance policies offer Acute Onset of a Pre-Existing Condition, which covers a sudden and unexpected recurrence of a Pre-existing condition that is life-threatening or requires immediate medical treatment. For example, a person who has been clinically diagnosed to have high blood pressure suddenly suffers a cardiac arrest during the trip.
Such insurance plans are popular for elderly parents visiting the United States. It is important to note that every claim will be determined and subsequently processed by the insurance company based on the medical records and the healthcare provider's report available. We recommend paying attention to the fine print to understand what is covered, what is excluded, and the limits on coverage.
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) Network
PPO Network is a type of health plan that contracts with hospitals and doctors, to create a network of participating healthcare providers.
Depending on your plan, you pay less if you use providers that belong to the network. You can use doctors, hospitals, and healthcare providers outside of the network for an additional cost, which is usually expensive.
Renowned insurance providers participate in either First Health PPO Network or the United Healthcare PPO Network. While buying a visitors insurance, find out which PPO Network the plan belongs to.
Did you know visitors insurance is not just about protecting your health? It is also about protecting yourself from a major financial loss, like travel delays, cancellations and lost baggage! Here's how travel insurance can protect you from these financial risks as well.
The purpose of purchasing travel insurance is to offset the cost of uncertainty, which includes trips that do not have a confirmed return date. Deciding on an insurance plan can be a complex and tedious exercise, which is why we are trying to simplify it for you through this guide.
So why would you repeat the process of selecting a new policy when you have already found one that works for you?
Find a policy that allows you to easily renew.
The other advantage of renewing the policy is, that in the event of making a claim during the original terms of the policy if you choose to renew the policy, the medical condition that happened during the validity of your original policy cannot be considered as a pre-existing condition.
You should pay attention to the policy extension or renewable clause because it saves you time, hassle, and money.
Insurance Claims Servicing
Visitors insurance plans require you to file for a claim even if the healthcare provider has directly billed the insurance company. Filing a claim is a mandatory process - only after verification and approval, the insurance company will release the reimbursement. The time taken may vary depending on the case and the insurance provider.
While looking for visitors insurance make sure the provider has a good record of reducing this administrative roadblock and good customer support to resolve any complaint.
Buy Travel Insurance in India or the United States
The United States is a popular destination for many Indians. In 2019, approximately 1.47 million visitors from India visited the United States. Policies tend to be cheaper in India but there are multiple challenges with it.
For instance, if you are buying insurance from India or anywhere outside the U.S., generally they have to receive the claims from an underwriting insurance company first before you can receive the compensation. This is likely to take a much longer time, sometimes even months for the bill to be cleared.
Related Article: Why You Should Buy Visitors' Insurance From The U.S.
To conclude, it is normal to have reservations about uncertainty, but, if you were to fall anyway, you should be equipped with a parachute and jump knowing that there is a safety net to catch your fall.
Before narrowing down on any insurance plan, get quotes online, and compare multiple offers to select a plan that suits you and your loved ones the best. Read verified reviews, pay attention to the fine print to understand what is covered including COVID19, and talk to a licensed insurance specialist to be absolutely certain.