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Travel Insurance

Visiting the USA can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can become very unpleasant and challenging when sickness or injury occurs and medical services or medical evacuation is needed. Medical care is excellent in most parts of the US, but it can be very expensive and even astronomical for cases of critical illness. Many travelers purchase supplementary international medical insurance or travel insurance to avoid the staggering costs that might result from serious sickness or injury on their trip.

When you are planning your trip, it is a good idea to contact your primary healthcare provider or insurer in your home country to determine if you are covered and under what circumstances and to what extent while traveling abroad. You may be surprised to find that your health care provider offers little or no protection while traveling in the USA. If this is the case, it might be wise to purchase international travel insurance.

Types of Insurance

Many people are familiar with flight accident insurance, which pays you a large sum of money if you are killed or seriously injured in an air accident. This type of insurance policy normally does not cover any medical expenses resulting from illness or other types of accidents while traveling.

Travel agencies frequently offer travel protection plans or trip cancellation insurance. These usually cover the cost of travel expenses should you be forced to cancel your vacation due to accident, illness or certain other causes. They often cover travel assistance services, protection for lost or damaged baggage and limited medical coverage. There may or may not be a deductible or co-pay for covered medical expenses.

International Medical Insurance is short or long term insurance designed to reimburse you for medical expenses incurred while traveling or living in a foreign country. Maximum policy coverage is usually large enough to cover major medical expenses such as emergency surgery and extended hospital stays. "American Style" of international medical insurance coverage is usually subject to a specified deductible and co-insurance or co-pay. Plans may include emergency evacuation, reunion, and repatriation benefits as well as other travel assistance services. The plan coverage may be single trip, multi-trip or renewable.

Definition of terms

Maximum Policy Coverage: The maximum amount of money that the insurance provider will pay for covered expenses. It may be an overall maximum or an amount for each accident or illness.

Deductible: (also known as excess) This is the amount of medical costs that you must pay before the insurance provider starts paying. It may be an annual amount, an amount for the duration of the policy or an amount for each incident. Example: a $50 deductible would mean that you must pay the first $50 of medical expense before the insurer begins to pay.

Co-Insurance or Co-Pay: This is the percentage or amount of medical expense that you must pay after the deductible is paid. Example: a co-insurance of 20% or an 80/20 co-pay means that the insurance company will pay 80% of the charges and you will pay 20% of the charges after you have paid the deductible.

Exclusions: These are medical expenses that the insurance company will not pay. These usually include expenses arising from the illegal use of drugs, medical conditions that existed prior to the purchase of the insurance, and medical costs arising from participation in dangerous activities or high-risk sports.

Emergency Medical Evacuation: covering the expenses for sending an injured or ill person home or transporting him/her to a place where appropriate medical care can be obtained.

Emergency Reunion: covers the expenses of bringing a family member to the injured or ill person during a medical emergency.

Repatriation Benefits: cover the cost of returning a deceased traveler's body to the homeland.

Single Trip Plans: cover one trip.

Annual/Multi-Trip Plans: cover all trips taken within one year.

Individual Plans: cover one person.

Family Plans: cover all members of a family traveling together.

Travel Insurance Online

There are many websites that offer travel insurance online. Most sites offer only one type of coverage - either a travel protection plan or international medical insurance - or they offer coverage to citizens of a particular country. Only a few insurers offer a variety of plans for travelers from all countries.

USATourist.com has affiliated with Travel Insurance Center to bring you a wide selection of travel protection plans and International Medical Insurance. Look at their web pages and check their prices. You can purchase your travel insurance on-line from their web pages.

Squaremouth is another website where you can compare hundreds of travel insurance plans from top providers and buy immediately. Compare travel insurance or use their comprehensive research features. They also have insurance for visitors to the USA, immigrants, US visa workers, and foreign students who study inside the US. Click here to purchase travel insurance!

Written by: Mike Leco
Top Photo Credit: © Mike Leco / USATourist.com
Photo Description: Memphis, Tennessee