7 Tips for Buying Visitor Insurance
Last month I was shocked to read a post on Facebook. The mother of a friend had suffered a stroke during her visit to the USA! She had partial brain damage and was admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit. To make matters worse, her visitor insurance coverage ran out in just two days. Her family needed to raise money quickly to complete the treatment so that she could return to India. I was really sad to hear the news. According to her family, she had undergone pre-trip medical tests that were necessary for the insurance and was given clearance by the doctors to travel to the USA.
It was very stressful for the family having to cope with the medical emergency and also the unexpected financial burden. As the saying goes, when it rains, it pours! In hindsight, their visitor insurance policy proved inadequate during a real emergency. “Visitor insurance” refers to visitor medical coverage for non-USA residents traveling to the United States for a short-term stay. As a friend, I did my part to help the family and also shared the news across the social network to help raise funds for them. This incident piqued my curiosity in travel insurance and these are the recommendations I found:
1. First and foremost, do not hide any medical conditions while purchasing the visitor insurance. The medical conditions may make the policy more expensive but “better safe than sorry”.
2. Many non-USA insurance companies do not fully understand the medical situation in the United States which is dramatically more expensive than other countries. In order to have sufficient ground support, purchasing the coverage in the USA is the better choice.
3. Understand the insurance policy thoroughly. Read the fine print, like the notable exceptions, maximum coverage, deductibles, cost and payment terms, etc. Ensure that the medical coverage is sufficient for unexpected and expensive healthcare in the USA, read more “Why Buy American When Buying Travel Insurance?”
4. Consult with your friends and family about their prior experiences with travel insurance.
5. Ensure the insurance policy covers the air travel and any airport transits (e.g. Dubai, Frankfurt, Singapore, Tokyo, etc.) as well. This means the policy covers them from the start of the journey, their stay in the USA, until they arrive home.
6. Complete any pre-requisite medical tests in visitor’s home country. Verify with the insurance company that the examining doctor and the test results were satisfactory, and the insurance policy was in full effect.
7. Equally important is to review what the insurance policy covers (beyond medical issues) such as trip cancellation, trip interruption, trip delay, lost baggage, etc.
Use this Visitor Insurance cheat sheet to help choose the appropriate visitor insurance policy so no one has to worry about any medical emergencies while visiting the USA.
While your visiting relatives are under your roof, it is important to care for them appropriately and visitor medical insurance is one way to ensure protection for their health and your wallet. If your family member feels a lot of stress flying solo then consider hiring a flight companion through TripCompanion.com. After all you want them to have fond memories of the entire holiday so they will want to visit you again soon!
Fly confident with Tripcompanion.com!