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Best travel insurance for the USA*

Heading away to the US of A?

Compare travel insurance that covers medical, cancellation, luggage and more.

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Why get travel insurance for the USA?

The USA has long been a favourite destination for Aussies heading abroad. In fact, over one million Australian holidaymakers flocked to its shores in 2017 according to Overseas Arrivals and Departures data compiled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

While the United States is a great holiday destination, it can be very expensive ... especially if something goes wrong. Travel insurance can protect you from a range of costs including lost luggage, cancellations but most importantly, medical. And having medical cover in the USA is probably the most important component of your travel insurance. When you consider that it costs more than $750 to spend just one night in a US hospital, the importance of travel insurance becomes even more apparent.

Real claims from real people

  • Appendicitis. A woman in 2016 claimed $199,721 with TID for a severe case of appendicitis, where it became gangrenous. This meant time in intensive care, surgery and high level of post-operative care.
  • Cruise ship accident. Overseas emergency medical treatment, medical evacuation from a cruise ship and repatriation back to Australia would have cost one FastCover customer $81,735.95 in 2015 if they were uninsured.
  • Premature birth. In 2014, Columbus Direct paid a $630,000 claim after a woman went into labour early while travelling in the USA. It covered both the care of the mother and the newborn baby.

When you consider the high cost of healthcare in the US, having travel insurance with medical benefits is a smart move for your pocket. The difference between the cost of travel insurance policy ($98.51*) and the average cost of a hospital stay per night in the US ($751.06**) in the USA is a whopping $652.61 - not something to sneeze at.

Average costing policy vs the cost of a hospital per night

The average cost of a policy for a two week trip to the USA, is $57.29* for a 26-year-old. This policy includes cover for unlimited overseas medical and hospital expenses.

*Travel insurance prices last obtained on April 2018. Prices subject to change.

**Cost of hospital bed based on WHO Department of Health Systems Financing (2011) estimates.

What does travel insurance cover in the USA?

Travel insurance is worth considering no matter where you’re travelling. After all, an airline is just as likely to lose your baggage in New York as it is in New Delhi. However, there are some other more specific reasons why you might want to take out travel insurance for an American holiday before heading off.

  • Medical bills. While you may not find yourself in a horrific situation like those mentioned above, even a short trip to the doctor can be costly, with a visit to a GP costing between $150 and $200. Having a travel insurance policy can protect you against a range of medical costs including:
    • Ambulance transportation
    • Repatriation
    • Medical evacuation
    • Medical and hospital costs
    • Emergency dental expenses
  • Hospital cash allowance. Hospital cash allowance is different to overseas medical expenses protection. Hospital cash allowance provides you with a daily allowance so you can pay for things like phone calls home and food.
  • Personal liability. Your USA travel insurance covers your legal liability in situations where you are liable for bodily injury or property damage to a third party. Some basic policies end their level of cover there.
  • Lost cancellation fees and lost deposits. If unforeseen circumstances such as losing your job or the death of a family force you to cut your trip short or cancel it altogether, this type of cover can help you with cancellation fees or prepaid deposits which you are unable to recover. Most of the best travel insurance for USA policies have this feature.
  • Luggage delays. If a travel provider misplaces your luggage for an extended period of time, you’ll receive the funds you need to buy emergency clothing and toiletries.
  • Luggage and personal effects for lost and stolen luggage. If your luggage and personal belongings are lost, stolen or damaged, you’ll be reimbursed for the cost of their repair or replacement.
  • Delays. If your journey is disrupted due to circumstances beyond your control, you’ll receive a benefit payment to cover the costs of additional meals and accommodation expenses.
  • Accidental death benefit. Your loved ones will receive a benefit if you die as a result of an injury sustained during your journey.
  • Stolen credit cards. If your credit cards are lost or stolen on your holiday, you’ll be covered for the cost of their replacement and for any loss you suffer due to their fraudulent use.
  • Lost travel documents. If your passport or important travel documents are lost or stolen, you’ll be covered for the cost of their replacement.
  • Alternative transport expenses. If unforeseen circumstances delay your trip and mean you’re unable to arrive at a pre-arranged event (for example a wedding) on time, you’ll be covered for the cost of alternative transport expenses.
  • Rental vehicle excess. If your rental car is involved in an accident, stolen or damaged, your policy covers the cost of the rental company’s insurance excess.

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How much does travel insurance for the US cost?

How much you'll pay for travel insurance to the USA depends on a couple of factors including:

  • Where you're going (in this case the US). The location you're visiting plays a big factor in how your premiums are calculated. In fact, the US is one of the most expensive destinations to get travel insurance for due to its high medical costs.
  • Your age. The cost of travel insurance gets more expensive the older you get. Luckily, this doesn't really start to have a huge effect until later in life.
  • How long you're travelling. The longer you're away, the more you'll pay.
  • What you're getting up to. If you're planning on skiing, you'll probably need to look into getting additional snow cover.

Below is a map of the average cost of travel based on age and destination.

Disclaimer. Please note that the prices above are designed to provide an average of the cost of all policies available on finder.com.au for the destination. For a more accurate quote, please use the engine above. Enter your travel details to view all available prices and policies.

What type of cover do you need?

When taking out travel insurance for the USA, you can generally choose from single or annual travel insurance. You'll also be able to choose between no-frills policies and comprehensive policies. The best travel insurance for USA travel really depends on what you're looking for and your travel needs:

  • Single trip travel insurance. Single trip USA travel insurance covers one trip and one trip only. Single trip policies generally cover at their most basic level medical and you can generally cover for trips up to a max of 180 days.
  • Annual travel insurance. If you head to the US or overseas in general on a regular basis, you might want to look into an annual travel insurance policy. To make an annual policy worth the money, you generally need to make roughly 3.5 overseas trips a year. While these are a cheaper option for those who travel a lot there is a downside in that individual trips are capped at somewhere between 30 and 90 days.

With all these options you can get cover for singles, couples, families and groups.


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What else might you need cover for in the USA?

Getting the best travel insurance for USA really depends on the holiday you have planned. If you are planning on engaging in activities not normally covered by travel insurance USA, you may wish to add one or more optional covers to your policy for an extra cost. These cover options include:

  • Ski insurance. If you're planning to hit the slopes, you'll need ski insurance. Ski insurance offers a range of benefits including cover hire equipment if you ski gear is lost or damaged, loss or damage to your own or hired equipment and reimbursement for unused ski passes.
  • Cruise insurance. Cruise travel insurance covers you for both medical treatment and evacuation should you experience an illness or injury on the cruise.
  • Golf insurance. If you’re planning a golfing getaway to some of the top courses in the US, this could be the ideal cover for you. This includes cover for the loss, theft or damage of golf equipment that either own or decide to hire. If accidental injury or sickness means you are unable to play, the cost of your unused green fees are covered as well.

Do you need rental car insurance in America?

Cars If you rent a car in the USA, travel insurance can cover you in the following ways:

  1. Rental excess charges
  2. The cost of returning your rental vehicle to the company if you are unable to drive

Make sure your policy has rental excess cover if you're driving

While the company you're hiring the car from will offer you insurance for third-party and motor damage, you will be charged the cost of the excess if the car is damaged, stolen or involved in an accident. Make sure you compare travel insurance policies with rental excess cover.


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Is your credit card travel insurance enough?

Some credit cards offer complimentary travel insurance if you pay for your trip with the card. Although this may sound enticing, you should be aware of the limitations of free credit card travel insurance. Some of the drawbacks include:

  • A cap on some benefits including overseas medical cover. Adequate medical cover is vital in the USA, something which credit card travel insurance may not be able to meet.
  • Exclusions for some adventure activities. Skiing and snowboarding activities are usually excluded.
  • High excess charges. Some credit travel insurance policies can charge up to $500 in excess when you make a claim

Remember to declare your pre-existing medical conditions

When applying for travel insurance for your trip to the USA, it’s essential that you disclose any pre-existing medical conditions you have. If you fail to do so and a pre-existing condition results in a claim, your insurer will most likely refuse your claim.

Don’t assume your condition is covered

Every year, you'll hear cases of travellers who have piled up huge medical bills in the USA because they weren't covered for a pre-existing medical condition. Check with your insurer to determine whether or not cover is available. Some conditions, such as diabetes or allergies, are automatically covered, while others can be covered after assessing your individual circumstances. Certain pre-existing conditions will simply be excluded from cover. If you assume that your condition will be covered and you are hospitalised overseas, the cost to you could be substantial.


Who can you contact in an emergency?

If you find yourself in an emergency in the USA, some of helpful contacts include:

  • National emergency hotline. You can reach this service by dialing 911.
  • Your travel insurer. Your travel insurance brand will have an 24/7 helpline for claims and medical emergencies.
  • Australian Embassies and Consulates. You can find the contact details of Australian Embassies and Consulates in the USA below.

Still have questions about the USA and insurance?

Compare travel insurance for the United States

*Disclaimer: The offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of products finder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your personal financial circumstances when comparing products.
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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    SashOctober 2, 2016

    Looking for a quote for Fiji citizen travellers to USA

    • finder Customer Care
      RichardOctober 4, 2016Staff

      Hi Sash,

      Thanks for getting in touch. The travel insurance brands in the finder.com.au do offer travel insurance to some non-Australia residents depending on their circumstance. Please head over to our travel insurance for non-residents article to review these conditions.

      All the best,
      Richard

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