Last Updated on April 20, 2020 by Michael J. Branco
The United States is a favorite destination for most people around the world. In fact, several Indians visit the States for short periods to be with their families or for other personal or business engagements.
Traveling to the US as a visitor requires proper planning since you need to set the travel date and get the necessary documents ready in good time. Most people do this but always tend to forget one important thing – travel insurance.
This article provides you with all the information you need when looking for travel insurance from India. It outlines the benefits of such insurance and gives you a list of some of the factors you need to consider when choosing the right travel insurance for visitors to the USA from India.
Is Travel Insurance Mandatory for Visitors?
In 2019, the US government made it compulsory for all Visa applicants to provide proof of having insurance while in the country. This decision was reached as a way of minimizing the burden immigrants and locals place on the US health care systems. Getting your visitor insurance is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from huge medical expenses when traveling overseas.
Statistics indicate that over 1.3 million travelers from India visited the United States in 2018. The numbers keep going up and comprise of professionals, students, and family members of Indians living in the US. The rise in numbers over the years is as indicated below:
Some of the major benefits of getting travel insurance as a visitor from India to the US include:
- Medical aid
- Cancelation of trips
- Compensation due to delayed flights or lost baggage
- Reimbursement of bounced hotel and airline booking
- Replacement of passports in the event of loss
- Automatic extension of travel policy for a number of days
- Reimbursement of emergency expenses spent on transportation and medication
What to Consider When Choosing Your Visitors Insurance Provider
When traveling to the US from India as a visitor, you might not be sure whether to get your insurance from your destination or from India. Indian-based insurance agencies may offer more cost-friendly packages. However, you need to put into consideration several other factors before you make a choice. These are:
Visitor insurance limits vary from one provider to the other. When selecting an insurance plan that works for you, check the available limits to ensure that they meet your needs. Some companies will offer only one limit while others may have several options that can give you the necessary travel comfort and assurance as you travel to the United States.
Coverage for Pre-existing Medical Conditions
Most companies that provide travel insurance for visitors to the US from India don’t cater to pre-existing conditions. This means that any medical problem that requires special attention during your trip will not be catered to. Some insurance providers will check your medical history for certain conditions and will not provide coverage for them in case they arise.
To get the best insurance cover, find out how far back in the records the company is willing to go when preparing your package.
You may wish to visit the US several times, yet some companies won’t offer you any renewal plans. If you overstay your trip, it will be impossible for you to renew your insurance or for the process to be completed, you may need to meet certain requirements. Ask about these requirements in advance so that you don’t get stranded should your package expire in the course of your visit.
Services on Offer
Standard travel insurance to the US covers baggage loss and trip interruption. Packages that offer more services are a bit expensive. When comparing available plans, make sure that you go through the list of benefits for each plan. Choose the plan that offers you maximum benefits in terms of travel and medical coverage.
Top Insurance Providers for Indian Visitors to the USA
Everyone that goes to the US on a short-term basis should have a visitor’s insurance package at the time of travel. This has to be produced during a Visa application. That said, some of the popular insurance companies with good packages for visitors from India include:
Patriot America Plus
This is an insurance plan offered by the International Medical Group. The travel plan is available for all non-US citizens traveling to the USA and other countries abroad. It offers international benefits to its subscribers that are available to individuals, groups, as well as families. Some of the features of the plan include:
- Affordable insurance premiums
- Extension of up to 24 months
- Rich maximum limits and emergency evacuation package
- Coverage for pre-existing conditions
- Affordable cancelation charges
- Renewable after purchase
This is one of the economical options available for Indians visiting the US on a short-term basis. It has a basic package that features fewer benefits than other more comprehensive plans. Some of the features of this plan include:
- Free cancellation before the expiry date
- Refund on unused days
- Excludes coverage for pre-existing conditions and terminal illness
Safe Travels USA
This is a package offered by Trawick International. It is one of the popular plans that offer sickness and accident protection for non-US citizens. Most visitors that use the package are aged between 70 and 89 years due to its coverage for acute pre-existing medical conditions. Features include:
- Emergency room illness cover
- Reimbursement for lost baggage
- Accidental death reimbursement
- Coverage for mental disorders, dental treatment, and physiotherapy
- Reimbursement for trip interruption
- Emergency pregnancy-related care
Atlas America covers students, business travelers, and any other person making a short visit to the US. It offers protection against any potential disasters and emergency medical conditions. It features a cancelation plan that only refunds cash based on unused days.
Why Get a US-Based Insurance Provider
When choosing travel insurance for visitors to the USA from India, you must note that using a home-based insurance provider can create a lot of unnecessary inconveniences. In case a disputed claim is filed in the course of your travel, Indian insurance providers may not recognize the dispute.
This means that you may not be paid any arising costs. US-based insurers, on the other hand, are well-regulated and can process your disputes faster.
While in the US, you may visit a health facility that requires you to make an upfront payment. This mostly happens when the facility you check in can’t validate your insurance. If your insurance provider back in India offers reimbursement, you can file a claim with them and request for a refund.
Sometimes, you may need immediate insurance assistance, yet getting through the customer support of your Indian-based insurance company becomes difficult due to time zone differences. This can result in the delayed provision of assistance, and your claims may not be treated as valid.
A good number of Indian insurance providers won’t allow you to renew your package. In case you decide to get one, make sure that you read and understand all the terms and conditions involved before committing yourself.
Some insurance regulations in India may not be applicable in the United States. As a result, you may be limited, and such a package may not completely defend your rights while abroad. US-based insurance companies are regulated by US regulations and are thus capable of providing you with the kind of support you need.
Frequently Asked Questions
When should I buy my travel insurance coverage for visitors?
You need to buy your travel insurance coverage as soon as your travel plans have been confirmed. Start the process way before you travel so that you get maximum support from the insurance company in case of delays, baggage loss, and trip cancelation.
What is the difference between a fixed plan and a comprehensive coverage plan?
A fixed coverage plan features a number of limits in terms of the benefits associated with each package. For instance, a policy that has a maximum limit on its benefits can have up to a maximum of $1000 for surgery, $400 for scans, and so forth. A comprehensive plan doesn’t feature limits on medical expenses. The expenses are allowed to escalate up to the policy maximum regardless of the type of treatment you receive.
Am I free to visit any hospital, or does the insurance limit me to certain health facilities?
This depends on your insurance provider. Some companies will allow you to get assistance from any medical facility while others work with a specific network of hospitals. You can always get this information from your ideal insurance provider before making a purchase decision.
Travel insurance ensures that you don’t get stranded due to unexpected medical and travel expenses that arise along the way. Different plans always offer different levels of coverage. You can always choose a package that meets your requirements.
Fixed benefit plans are less costly, but they do limit the type of services you receive when away from your home. Comprehensive plans may be a bit expensive, but they are better since they do not feature any sub-limits on their benefits. You can purchase your plans before or after your travel depending on your preference and duration of stay in the US.
Alix johnson Romi is the head Product Marketing Manager of Easy Trip Guides. She researches one of the best products from Amazon.com with good customer feedback and writes authentic reviews of those products.