In general, insurance plans provide coverage according to the terms and conditions described in its certificate wording. Just like every other type of insurance (car insurance, home insurance, life insurance, etc.), visitors insurance plans have their own set of restrictions and exclusions specific to visitors insurance. Visitors insurance plans have several commonly excluded benefits, there are many visitors insurance plans to choose from and each one is different. You should read the certificate wording of a plan you are considering carefully for complete details of its specific restrictions and exclusions as well as review for the commonly excluded benefits.
To learn more about common exclusions, read visitors insurance common exclusions.
The following are commonly excluded benefits in visitors insurance plans:
Trip cancellation insurance covers the cost of non-refundable trip costs in case you need to cancel your trip due to covered reasons.
There are not many travel insurance plans that provide trip cancellation coverage for visitors to USA, typically it is only available for US residents. The plans that provide coverage for US residents traveling outside the US are suitable for trip lengths up to 30 days. While many visitors traveling to the USA from half way around the world are likely to stay for a longer duration, perhaps 4 to 6 months or 1 year.
Loss of checked luggage is typically covered in visitors insurance but baggage delay is usually excluded.
Trip cancellation insurance plans typically include baggage delay coverage but it is not a popular coverage among plans for visitors to USA because they have longer trips. Trip cancellation plans may also exclude important coverages like acute onset of pre-existing conditions.
Loss of passport is typically not covered in visitors insurance plans.
Over the Counter Medicine
Over the counter medications are not covered by visitors insurance, or in fact, by any health insurance, even for US citizens and residents.
It is the best to bring over the counter medications from your home country for common or minor ailments. If you need to buy such medicines in the U.S., you can simply walk into any local pharmacy and pay out of your pocket.
If you are carrying expensive items such as laptop, tablet, jewelry, or clothing, and they are lost or damaged, they will not be covered by visitors insurance.
Visitors insurance plans are primarily travel medical insurance and not property insurance.
Some foreign travel insurance companies claim to cover random benefits such as hijack allowance, Golfer Hole-in-one, and so on. These are simply fluff coverages that almost no one ends up using. Therefore, they may look good on paper but provide no worthwhile coverage. On the other hand, their medical coverage may be severely limited and that is what you really need the most while traveling to USA as healthcare expenses are extremely high in the US.
Medical Maximum as Life Insurance
If you bought a plan with $100,000 policy maximum, it would cover medical expenses in case you became sick or injured while traveling outside your home country.
However, if you were to die due to a sickness while on your trip, the insurance company will not go ahead and pay $100,000 to your relative. In other words, the medical maximum limit is not the same as a death benefit and cannot be used like life insurance.
Not Following Rules
Some visitors insurance plans have precertification requirements for certain medical expenses. If you don't follow the requirements, your benefits may be reduced by 20% or even 50%.
Emergency medical evacuation and repatriation of remains expenses are covered only if all the arrangements are made through the insurance company or their emergency assistant department. If you make the arrangements yourself and pay out of your pocket, you can't file for reimbursement later.
After reading the commonly excluded benefits, you know it is very important to sensibly evaluate your needs and buy visitors insurance that would meet expectations.