Travel Insurance For The USA: A Guide

Travel Insurance For The USA: A Guide
Travel Insurance For The USA: A Guide

When purchasing travel insurance for the US, keep the following in mind:

1. Know your cover limits. International travel insurance is typically designed to meet the needs of travellers visiting more than one specific country. Travellers to the US should, however, pay specific attention to the level of cover they’re purchasing.

“Medical treatment in the US is incredibly expensive, so understanding any limits of your cover is vital,” an SCTI spokesperson said. “If you do unfortunately experience a medical event, you may want to make sure that the limits available to you are sufficient enough to cover healthcare costs in the US.”

This includes making sure you are adequately covered for any pre-existing medical conditions (PECs). Insurers may have differing definitions of what they consider a PEC, and they may or may not be able to provide cover for all of them. Under many travel insurance policies, you won’t be covered for a PEC unless you tell the provider about the PEC and pay the additional premium.

If you don’t make sure you have cover for a PEC, and suffer from a medical event in the US that is directly or indirectly linked to that condition, then you may find yourself without the necessary cover. Southern Cross says so far this year, it has already received multiple claims from travellers to the US of more than $5,000, including several for more than $10,000.

2. Get the right cover. Insurers also recommend that travellers to the US upgrade from an ‘Essentials’ or ‘Medical Only’ policy to a ‘Comprehensive’ policy. “If you’re visiting the US, you may want to consider paying a little more upfront for comprehensive cover, so you’re not caught out later,” SCTI says.

For example, if you are taking internal US flights state-to-state, you may gain peace of mind from having cover for unexpected flight cancellations. Or from having rental vehicle excess if you’re hiring a car for a road trip.

The United States is also known for its cruise trips. So if, for example, you’re taking a New York to Niagara cruise, you may want an add-on cover for the cruise portion of your trip. Similarly, add-on covers are available for winter sports in the mountains or traveling by motorbike down Route 66.

3. Plan for the unexpected with cancellation cover. If you have already spent money booking a trip to the US, insurers recommend you buy your travel insurance well ahead of the trip dates, in case something unexpected happens before you leave that requires you to cancel your trip.

You will need to make sure your cancellation cover is adequate to cover the total cost of the trip including the costs for the flights, accommodation, as well as any pre-paid excursions you have booked and all activities you intend to undertake.


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