When looking for visitors insurance for parents visiting the USA, many of our customers call to inquire about several aspects of the purchase, like the best time to purchase, who can do it, or what happens when they don’t. This article aims to clarify these type of questions to remove any uncertainties that could cause problems.
When I apply online for my parents, the application only asks for my father’s passport number, but I don't see where to enter my mother's passport number.
In many insurance plans, only one passport number per family is required.
My parents are not here. Can I buy visitors insurance for them?
Yes, you can. Anyone can purchase the insurance plans online as proxy for their family members or friends.
Can I buy the insurance after my parents arrive in the U.S.? Is there any disadvantage?
When you purchase the insurance, you can choose to start coverage as early as the next day or any future date you specify. While you can certainly buy the insurance after your parents arrive in the U.S., there are several disadvantages to waiting until they arrive. In the event of a medical problem that occurs during their travels, they would not be covered if you wait until they arrive to buy insurance. Many people become busy once their parents arrive and forget to purchase the insurance right away. Later they only remember about the insurance when their relative is sick or injured, but at this point, it would be too late to buy the insurance coverage as the sickness or injury is considered a pre-existing condition therefore not covered by any insurance plan, from any company. Insurance is not for people who are already sick or have been injured.
Both of my parents are planning to visit me. Should I buy one combined policy for them or a separate policy for each person? What are the advantages and disadvantages?
We recommend buying a separate policy for each person.
Whether you buy one combined policy or a separate policy, the total price paid will remain the same because in a combined policy the price is for each person and just added together to be paid once. The coverage of a combined policy is per person, including the policy maximum and deductible.
Combined plans will have the same policy maximum, the same deductible, and the same duration. If you want to have different plans, different policy maximums, different deductibles, or need different durations then the only way to achieve that is to buy a separate policy for each person. Choosing separate plans is very important if one of the persons is 70 years of age, if the other person is younger they can get better coverage in a separate plan; combining younger ages with someone 70 years and older may limit the coverage the younger person could have.
In addition to that, there are many other advantages to buying a separate policy for each person:
- Extending or Renewing the coverage – If one parent wants to return to their home early, you can renew only the other parent's policy when they have separate policies, but you can't do that if they are both put together on one policy.
- Claims - With separate policies if one parent files a claim, but the other parent does not make a claim and one or both of them are going home early, then you can get a refund for the parent that never claimed anything on their policy with the insurance products that provide a refund after the effective date.
In other words, you have more options or flexibility to do different things for each person.
The only disadvantage in having a separate policy is that, if you buy a renewable plan, and you want to renew for both persons, you may have to pay a renewal fee (let's say $5) per person, instead of $5 per policy. However, looking at the advantages described above, buying a separate policy for each person is worth it.
The only time a combined policy should be purchased is when the dependent child (under age 18) is to be included in the policy. Dependent child rates are lower than child alone rates.
My parents are quite healthy and coming to the USA to visit us. Do we really need visitor health insurance for them?
Health insurance is for future protection of medical problems. And as future medical problems or injuries/accidents can't be predicted, you never know what would happen in future. Medical treatment in the USA is very expensive; it is always advisable to buy medical insurance from a reputable company.
Will I get a discount or any price advantage if I buy for both my parents?
The price per person remains the same whether you buy for both parents together or one person at a time. Some insurance plans charge an application fee and/or renewal fee (typically $5 or $10, varies by plan). The only advantage to putting both parents in one application is that you don't have to pay the application fee and/or renewal fee per person. There is a potential disadvantage when you include both parents in one application, because you can't renew or cancel the insurance for just one person. Frequently one parent wants to leave early, perhaps your father is bored here or has some business to attend to and wants to return home early but your mother would like to continue enjoying her visit with you. If that sounds like a possible situation that could occur, consider completing separate applications for each person. If both parents are going to stay for different durations or you want a different policy maximum for each parent you need to complete separate applications.
Both my parents and in-laws are traveling to the U.S. together. Can I get a group insurance for them so that it is cheaper?
No, group health insurance plans require a minimum of 5 people. Moreover, many insurance plans are not available to purchase as a group purchase.