While shopping for visitors insurance, you may be wondering: "How much travel medical insurance do I need for the United States?"
But there is more to consider than just the premium: You should also pay attention to plans' benefits, features and exclusions. There are many factors that affect the visitors insurance premium. The following tips will help you keep your visitors insurance costs low.
Types of Visitors Insurance Plans
There are primarily two types of visitors insurance plans:
- Fixed Coverage Plans: Cheaper, limited coverage
- Comprehensive Coverage Plans: More pricey, better coverage
Due to its lower costs, many people are tempted to purchase fixed coverage plans. However, fixed coverage plans aren't the best way to keep visitors insurance cost low. Carefully review the risks of purchasing a fixed coverage plan before falling to this common mistake.
We always encourage everyone to purchase comprehensive coverage plans only.
What are the Benefits of Travel Insurance for the U.S.?
The deductible is amount you must pay before the insurance company pays for subsequent eligible expenses. If you are able to bear a little more risk, choose a higher deductible to reduce the visitors insurance premium.
Urgent Care Copay
Certain visitors insurance plans waive the deductible so that you are only subject to the copay. For example, you may pay $25 or $50 as your copay for every visit to urgent care.
If you buy visitor health insurance that covers urgent care, you can choose a higher deductible to save on the premium. For any minor ailments, you can simply visit urgent care and avoid paying the deductible.
In the small possibility that you would need major treatment, you would still pay the larger deductible. However, if the coverage for major treatments will not be necessary for your trip, you can save money in upfront premium.
Cancelable and Refundable
Most visitors insurance plans are fully refundable before the effective date of the policy. Many visitor insurance plans are refundable even after the policy's effective date as long as no claims have been submitted since the original effective date.
Visitors medical insurance plans charge a $25 or $50 cancellation fee. Some visitor medical insurance plans may refund fully unused months while other plans may give you the pro-rated refund.
Before cancelling, look at all rules carefully. If you need to cancel with 1 month and 27 days left in the policy, a pro-rated refund, minus a $25 cancellation fee, would get you a much larger refund compared to a refund of fully unused months minus a $50 cancellation fee. In the latter scenario, you would get no money back for 27 days.
Buying a visitor insurance plan that is extendable has several advantages.
In an extendable plan, you don't have to pay the entire premium upfront.
If there is any chance that you may not stay on your trip for the entire planned duration, you can just buy a plan for a shorter duration and then extend your policy. Most plans have a $5 extension fee. Some plans have no extension fee as long as you extend for at least one month at a time.
All US based visitors insurance plans allow you to extend irrespective of whether there were any claims in the previous policy period.
Beware of some foreign based visitors insurance policies that allow you to extend only if you have no claims in the previous policy period. Also, make sure to understand the difference between extension and repurchase. When you extend the policy, the pre-existing condition exclusion is respective to the original effective date.
All major comprehensive coverage visitors insurance plans based in the US apply the deductible and the coinsurance only once, irrespective of how many times you extend the policy. Your per day premium is the same either way. So, other than potentially paying an extension fee when extending your policy (which is an easy online process), there are no disadvantages to purchasing an extendable plan.
In addition to the premium, some visitors insurance plans may charge an application fee, membership fee, extension fee or cancellation fees. Carefully examine all potential fees to calculate the overall cost of your visitors insurance.
Most Suitable Plan
Don't simply buy a visitors insurance plan just because your friend bought the same plan. Your friend's circumstances may not be the same as your own, even if they look similar at the surface. It's best to speak with a licensed, experienced visitors insurance broker to go over your specific situation so you can purchase the most suitable visitors insurance coverage at the lowest possible cost. Professional advice shouldn't cost any extra. In fact, consulting with a broker may save you a significant amount of money, not because the prices would be any different (as they are regulated by law), but because you'll be able to choose right combination of coverage for your needs. This web site has extensive information in an easy to understand format; however, there is no substitute for individualized professional advice.