USA travel health insurance:
There are many preparations before leaving for a trip to the United States : the luggage, the necessary forms, the booking of flights and hotels . Along with all of this, another element is equally fundamental, USA health insurance .
Well yes, if we want to spend a quiet holiday, and not get anxious about unexpected events of any kind, it will be better to buy a reliable and safe insurance policy , so as to feel covered and above all “treated” in case of some unfortunate accident or injury.
In this article I will try to deepen the topic, give some advice and, in particular, answer the main questions that come to us on the subject, for example: is USA travel insurance mandatory ? How much? How does a medical service work on American territory? How to find your way among the many policies available and how to choose the best one based on our needs? At the end of the article I have also included a FAQ with other more specific questions that we sometimes receive, if your question is not present please leave a comment at the bottom of the page.
Coronavirus: will I be covered? All the insurance companies mentioned in this article cover Covid-19 . To find out under what conditions you can read the following article: Which travel insurances cover Covid-19? Under what conditions?
Is US health insurance mandatory?
There is no law requiring health insurance for the United States of America, however it is highly recommended that you take out one. In fact, in the USA there is no real national health coverage (to learn more you can read our article on the US health system which also deals with the salient points of the reform wanted by Obama and the recent changes introduced by Trump), this means that if during the holidays you also have a small accident (yes I know, you are doing the spells, but as a famous advertisement said: “it is better to be safe than sorry”) you will find yourself paying for any visit and hospitalization .
And the prices for this type of intervention can be very high, so there is really no reason to risk it if we can secure ourselves with an overall acceptable expense , which will guarantee us a much more peaceful holiday. Furthermore, together with health insurance, we can opt for cumulative packages that also cover other types of unforeseen events (flight, baggage, advance money, telephone charges, cancellation, early return, etc.).
How much does USA travel insurance cost?
The costs of US travel insurance policies are quite reasonable, affecting only a small part of the entire cost of a trip to the United States, however the same cannot be said for the prices of healthcare services carried out in the United States. If you are not insured you may find yourself paying an exaggerated amount even for a routine medical service, let alone for a serious or emergency intervention … here is a small example:
An emergency room medical visit in the United States could cost you as little as a few hundred dollars to a few thousand (the cost can vary by states, hospitals, and the patient’s condition). Consequently, more serious or urgent interventions could cause tariffs to increase dramatically. If you want a more precise overview, you can consult the table of the most expensive hospital interventions in our in-depth analysis on the costs of US healthcare .
But what are the prices of US medical insurance for tourists? Well, these are much more affordable figures.
In the comparison table that you find just below I have selected a series of policies among the best known and most reliable on the market and, as you can see for yourself, the average prices fluctuate between 38 and 62 euros per week , a decidedly sustainable cost, above all. compared to what you can sustain without insurance coverage.
How to choose the best medical insurance – travel?
As you may have guessed, there are many insurance solutions and it is therefore important to know how to choose; many ask us which is the best US insurance , but in reality, the varied panorama of products in this field makes it rather difficult to give a single answer.
The best thing is to have in mind the criteria to choose , so as to easily understand if an insurance has the appropriate requirements to give us sufficient guarantees and protect us during our trip to America. Here are the criteria I suggest you take into consideration:
- Very high ceiling for medical expenses, exceeding € 500,000.
- The deductible (expenses to be paid by the insured) must be very low, possibly zero
- Active, reliable assistance service and, if you have any problems with English, in Italian
- Reliability of the reference company
- Exclusions (under which conditions coverage does not occur)
PS : Are you on maternity leave? If you want to know the coverage levels for a trip to the United States take a look at our article on USA pregnancy and insurance .
Which insurance to choose for my trip to America?
Given the delicacy of the matter, it will be good to choose the most reliable companies with the most history and tradition . Surely the following fall into the category; for each one you can click on the link indicated to instantly calculate a quote and thus make a comparison.
- Columbus , a company specialized in travel insurance founded in 1988. It takes out policies online and by phone in over 50 countries around the world and can boast an assistance center in Italy available 24 hours a day. Calculate your quote here (10% discount included in the link)
- Safe Travel , whose policies are distributed by PKC Associates Ltd (with twenty years of experience in the sector) and underwritten by the German giant ERV. It also has an important office in Italy and offers a health care service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This company, unlike others, allows you to extend the period of validity of the policy if you decide to extend your stay in the United States. Viaggi Sicuri has released a discount code ( CR10PY ) that will allow you to save 10% on the final price. Enter it in the space provided with your data. Calculate the quote with Safe Travel.
- CoverWise Travel Insurance , is an International Insurance Intermediary specializing in travel policies. It offers an unlimited ceiling for medical expenses (except those specified in the estimate) and the reliability of this company is given by the fact that its insurance is underwritten by an authoritative body such as Inter Partner Assistance SA, part of the AXA Assistance Group. Calculate the quote here
- Frontier Assicurazioni , an Italian brokerage company with policies underwritten by IMA Assistance, is a young product that is very competitive both for the services offered and for the prices. The assistance service is completely localized in Italian. Calculate the quote here (12% discount included in the link)
- AXA Assistance , a branch specialized in the travel sector of the AXA group, one of the best known companies in the world of insurance. They offer three types of products based on the level of protection required (including health coverage, trip cancellation, flight delay, civil liability, loss of baggage, etc.). A 10% discount code ( MAX10 ) is available, do not forget to enter it to check the price. Calculate the quote here
- TravelEasy , whose policies are managed directly by the IMA Italia Assistance group, an international company that manages over 2.2 million users a year, with a 24-hour assistance center and the possibility of purchasing a policy up to day of departure. The company has made available a discount code included directly in the following link: Calculate the quote here (10% discount included in the link)
- Allianz Global Assistance , formerly called Mondial Assistance, is part of the Allianz Group, one of the most widespread companies in the sector and which operates in all areas of the insurance world. The Italian office, founded in 2007, boasts over 7 million customers. Calculate the quote here (10% discount included in the link)
To better orientate among the various insurance proposals, we decided to create a comparative table to summarize in a synthetic way the strengths of each policy. Before using it, you can read the criteria with which we compiled it, which you find set out in the following paragraph.
Each policy usually has various types of coverage (usually 3), thought out in a progressive way: the basic one usually only covers medical expenses, in a subsequent step travel insurance is then included and then still other options, such as ” trip cancellation, civil liability, car assistance, flight delay compensation, repatriation, medical or home care, as well as some specific options such as the loss of a tablet, smartphone or camera.
At the same time, the higher the coverage level, the more often the ceilings or limits within which a given coverage occurs are also raised . Each company, as you can imagine, has its own particular formula that distinguishes it from the others; as a result, the US travel insurance landscape is as rich as it is complex.
In drawing up a table that would be of real help to orient yourself in this mare magnum, we decided to provide a comparison between the complete policies , those that include all the package of options made available by the various companies. This will allow you to quickly understand which services a company is actually able to provide and under what conditions.
At the same time we have also entered the respective prices by calculating the estimates for a week, in order to give an idea of the range of costs and allow you to understand under equal conditions which insurance costs less. Obviously, by opting for incomplete coverage, you can spend even less. I hope this table will help you clear your mind a bit!
Mini-Glossary of Terms
Many terms used in the US travel health insurance field may be a bit tricky or unclear. Here is a small explanation of the most common ones:
- Claim : the occurrence of the event for which the insurance is provided.
- Deductible : predetermined amount that is in any case charged to the insured in the event of a claim.
- Maximum : the maximum pre-established sum that the insurance company guarantees for the payment of the amount to the insured for a claim.
- Premium : the amount to be paid to the insured in the event of a claim covered by the policy.
- Civil Liability : protection from claims for compensation for causing bodily or material damage to third parties and protects against unjustified claims. Attention : The “Civil Liability” clause of the Travel Insurance does not cover travel by car, so it is possible to subscribe a special one for the rental of the car. For more information I recommend you take a look at our guide on how to rent a car in the USA .
How does it work? What should I do if I need a medical service?
First, before leaving for your trip to the USA, do not forget to bring your policy with you , where you will find all the information to make a report and contacts for emergencies. Whether you need a simple medical examination or hospitalization, the important thing to keep in mind is to always contact the insurance operations center before taking any personal steps . In this way the insurance company will be able to take charge of the practice and guarantee payment at the hospital.
The number of the control panel is shown on the insurance certificate (in some cases also on the company’s website) and, once contacted, they will be able to indicate the hospital or doctor’s office to go to to receive the treatment.
It is very important to follow this practice and not to act independently because otherwise you could be faced with problems that are difficult to solve. I also recommend that you always carry the insurance document with you, so that, in case you are not able to face the situation, whoever is with you can look up the number on the certificate and make the call.
If you are really unable to contact the control panel before receiving the treatment, do so as soon as possible, but keep in mind that if the medical record does not attest to a state of unconsciousness (or a problem that justifies the absence of the call) it could occur. some problems.
Regarding this aspect, however, keep in mind that not all companies follow the same line of conduct (for example some accept a call delay of up to 72 hours, others, if contacted after the invoice has been issued by the hospital, they can ask you to anticipate the expense and then reimburse you), so my advice is to sift through the information and consult the FAQs you find on the websites of the companies themselves.
Direct payment and advance expenses
Insurance companies agree to the direct payment of expenses only in cases of hospitalization; for medical examinations or purchase of drugs it is assumed that the expense is sustainable, so you will have to anticipate them and then be reimbursed upon your return to Italy. Obviously you will have to keep the receipts to certify the expense.
Trip cancellation: what it covers and how it works
All the insurance companies mentioned so far also have the possibility of adding the trip cancellation option , which in some cases is included in the complete policy, in others it can be simply added, or in others it requires a dedicated and independent insurance policy. . This is an option that must certainly be considered and which can be very useful in case you have to cancel your holiday due to force majeure. If you want to know more about what the reimbursement covers and under what conditions , I refer you to our dedicated in-depth analysis (button below):
Insurance after departure or for those leaving from another country
All the above insurance policies must be stipulated before departure and require that the insured person be resident in Italy. If you find yourself in one of these 2 cases, however, do not despair: there is a solution for you, we talked about it in our article on how to insure when you are already traveling, in case you do not have an Italian residence or in other extreme cases that sometimes they have been reported to us.
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
Read the answers to the most frequently asked questions we receive about health insurance in the USA
How long in advance do I have to take out the insurance?
The insurance policy can be taken out by midnight of the day prior to departure. If you have forgotten to do it, I suggest you read our guide on how to take out insurance after departure .
Where to do it? Is it worth buying it together on the fly?
I recommend booking insurance online, on the official websites of the companies also reported in this article. Compared to “physical” agencies, savings are significant.
Often a health / travel insurance is offered as a supplement to the purchase of the flight on the online portals. In general, however, I do not recommend choosing this option: we at Viaggi-USA, for our trips, always purchase the insurance separately from the flight, because often in the offers combined with flight some important details are not accurately reported and consequently do not it is very clear what are the conditions guaranteed by the policy that we are going to stipulate. The official websites of the companies are much clearer in this regard.
Flight delay: how and how much do i get reimbursed?
Flight delay is reimbursed within a maximum amount (usually between 50 and 200 euros depending on the airline) and calculated on the basis of the accumulated delay hours. Here is an example to clarify: Columbus reimburses 20 euros for every 10 hours of accumulated delay up to a maximum of 200 euros. In the comparison table above we have indicated which insurances cover the flight delay and within which limits.
One last point: if the flight delay causes you to exceed the insured travel period, the companies will extend the coverage period until the end of the trip, as the causes of the extension depend on external events not attributable to you; this is what Columbus confirmed to us , to whom we turned a question that we had been asked below in the comments. It is reasonable to assume that this line of common sense is common to all the companies mentioned in the article, but, in case you want to find out, you can contact the company of your interest by phone.
What is the best travel insurance for the USA?
There is no absolute answer, each travel insurance for the United States must be tailored to your specific needs, which is why we have created the comparison table you find above.
Is health insurance only for Italians?
As already mentioned, the insurances listed above can only be taken out by Italians, however, for those who do not fall into this category, it is obviously possible to insure themselves. A good product you can consider is World Nomads .
What policies are there for the elderly (over 75)?
Insurance companies usually don’t offer their products to travelers over 75 (some even have a limit of 65) so getting a policy can be a problem for older people. The only one, at the present time, that allows it is Allianz .
Are previous illnesses covered?
It is not very common for insurance companies to cover previous illnesses. There is an Allianz product that offers this type of coverage, it is called Globy Rosso. However, I invite you to contact the various companies mentioned in this article via the toll-free number, to understand if the terms of the offers have changed in the meantime: they are all very helpful and will give you the information you need.
Does US insurance also cover Canada?
US insurance also covers Canadian territory. So, if your trip includes both destinations, you won’t need to take out 2 separate policies. In some insurance company sites it will be sufficient to write in the destination field “USA” or simply select the “Whole world” option.
Where to find policy discounts?
Insurance companies often issue discounts for the purchase of their policies. These discounts usually range from 10% to 15% and more rarely even up to 20%. We periodically update this page with the available discounts, which you can find in the list of recommended insurances above.
USA insurance without deductible: how important is it?
The deductible is the amount that you would still be charged in the event of an accident, so it is important that it is either zero or that it still corresponds to a very low figure. The insurance products reported in this article have a deductible that varies from a minimum of zero (for example Columbus ) to a maximum of 80 euros (for example Safe Travel , even if in reality the same company allows you to reduce it to zero with a small surcharge. ).
Unlimited ceiling: how important is it?
That the ceilings are unlimited is actually not strictly necessary, the important thing is that it is a high figure. In the comparison table we have reported products that start from a minimum of 3 million up to unlimited ceilings, but I would not base my choice on this criterion, in this range any product can be fine.
Which insurance did you rely on? Let us know your experiences below in the comments and send us your advice and opinions, in this way this page will be a useful tool for everyone … below all our other articles dedicated to the topic.