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Travel insurance rules continue to change as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We’re working hard to keep up and make sure our guides are up to date, however some information may not be accurate during the pandemic. It’s even more important to double-check all details that matter to you before taking out cover. Please know that some policies may not be available through Finder at this time. Here are some helpful tips:
If you're buying a policy today, it's unlikely that you'll be covered for border closures
If your travel plans go against government advice, your policy will most likely be voided and you won't be covered
How to find the best travel insurance for USA from Australia
While there's no such thing as one travel insurance policy that's best for everyone going to the United States, it's always a good idea to look at what a policy covers, and to what degree. To make it easier for you, we looked at all the policies in our database, ranked them according to how much cover they offer and gave them a score from 1-10 called the Finder Rating (10 being the most comprehensive).
Here are the top 3 policies based on the Finder Rating.
Overseas medical expenses
Luggage and personal effects
Budget Direct Comprehensive
Fast Cover Comprehensive
Here are the individual policies that came out on top for a trip to the USA from 1-30 April 2019:
Budget Direct Comprehensive: 9.4 out of 10
Fast Cover Comprehensive: 9.1 out of 10
WorldCare Comprehensive: 9.0 out of 10
1Cover Comprehensive: 8.9 out of 10
Zoom Travel Insurance Comprehensive: 8.8 out of 10
Travel with Jane Comprehensive: 8.7 out of 10
Travel with Kit Comprehensive: 8.7 out of 10
Travel Insurance Saver Premium Plus: 8.2 out of 10
Online Travel Insurance Comprehensive: 8.2 out of 10
Qantas International Comprehensive: 8 out of 10
While these ratings are a good way to evaluate policies and what they offer, only you can decide which one is right for you.
Do I need travel insurance for the USA?
Definitely. You want to be prepared when the unexpected strikes. The USA is known to have expensive medical care, transport delays and sometimes even theft happens. Don't let this put you off going there, just make sure you travel smart and get your travel insurance sorted.
How to find cheap travel insurance to the USA
The cost of travel insurance for the United States varies based on lots of things like how old you are, what activities you'll be doing and what level of cover you choose.
Using the comparison tool above, you can enter your trip details and sort through live quotes based on price.
To give you some idea of cheap policies, we ran some real quotes using the profile of a 30-year-old Aussie going on a 14-day trip to the USA. Here are the cheapest we found amongst the brands on Finder:
Overseas medical expenses
Luggage and personal effects
Online Travel Insurance Basic
Fast Cover Basics
*Above are the cheapest brands when quoting a 30-year-old going on a trip the US for 14 days.
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Policy costs depend on a couple of factors including age, length of travel and any risky activities you might be planning, for example skiing, skydiving or going on a cruise.
The below graph shows the average cost of a hospital bed for a night in the US against the cost of travel insurance.
Medical expenses in the United States are amongst the highest in the world, so it's almost a no-brainer to get medical cover at the very least.
Average cost of a 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.
* Quotes are based on the average price of various ages travelling to the United States for 14 days, taken in October 2019
What does travel insurance cover in the USA?
Now that we've got your attention, let's talk about what's generally covered with travel insurance and what's not.
Medical bills. 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 the following:
Medical and hospital costs
Emergency dental expenses
Hospital cash allowance. This is not the same as overseas medical expenses protection. It provides you with a daily allowance to pay for things like phone calls home and hospital food.
Personal liability. Your 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 here.
Lost cancellation fees and lost deposits. If unforeseen circumstances, such as losing your job or a death in the family, force you to cut your trip short or cancel it altogether, this cover can help you recover cancellation fees or prepaid deposits which you otherwise wouldn't be able to recover. Most travel insurance for USA policies have this feature.
Luggage delays. If an airline or tour company 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 if lost or stolen. 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 other 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 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.
Do I need travel insurance when going to the United States?
The United States is a popular holiday destination for Australians, but it can also be an expensive one – especially if something goes wrong.
Travel insurance can protect you from a range of costs including lost luggage, cancellations and medical expenses. And when you consider that it costs $750+ for one night in a US hospital, but only $98.51* for a travel insurance policy, the difference of $652.61 is nothing to sneeze at.
Real claims from real people
$259,000 for a heart attack. A traveller in his 60s suffered a heart attack while travelling in the United States, had to undergo cardiac surgery and was flown back home with a non-medical escort (Southern Cross Travel Insurance, 2018).
$199,721 for appendicitis. A woman developed a severe case of appendicitis which became gangrenous. This meant time in intensive care, surgery and a high level of post-operative care (Travel Insurance Direct, 2016)
$81,735.95 for a cruise ship accident. Overseas emergency medical treatment, medical evacuation from a cruise ship and repatriation back to Australia would have cost over $80,000 if they didn't have travel insurance (Fast Cover, 2015).
$630,000 for a premature birth. A woman went into labour early while travelling in the USA. Because she had travel insurance and had declared her pregnancy, both she and her newborn baby were covered (Columbus Direct, 2014).
What type of cover and extras do I need?
Generally, travel insurance policies for the USA are either single or annual.
Single-trip travel insurance. This covers one trip and one trip only, generally up to a maximum of 180 days.
Annual travel insurance. If you head to the US or overseas regularly, annual travel insurance policies can cover your year's worth of travel. To make this policy worth it, you need to make roughly 3.5 overseas trips a year. While it's a money-saver for frequent travellers, the downside is that individual trips are capped at 30 and 90 days.
With all these options, you can get cover for singles, couples, families and groups.
Types of policies are then further broken down into basic, standard or comprehensive policies. These are on a tiered system in terms of cover and cost, with basic policies generally only covering medical expenses and being the cheapest options and comprehensive policies including lost luggage, personal effects and cancellation for a premium.
Who can you contact in an emergency?
If you find yourself in an emergency situation in the USA, some helpful contacts include the following:
National emergency hotline. You can reach this service by dialling 911.
Your travel insurer. Your travel insurance brand will have a 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.
Finally, some good news! Domestic travel is picking up, so some insurers have started offering cover again 🦘 Just remember, you won't be covered for any pandemic related claims if you do take out domestic travel insurance. International travel insurance is limited and sometimes unavailable at this point.
Yes, but it's not always the best idea. Travel agents can add hefty commissions to the price of the policies they sell. It doesn't hurt to compare your options. Get a quote from them and see how it compares to other brands online.
The exact treatment of pre-existing conditions differs between insurance providers. While some allow you to take out cover for certain conditions, others exclude all pre-existing medical problems from your policy. Speak to your insurer for more information.
Typically, policies cover you on any run within a ski resort that is deemed safe. However check the fine print of your PDS or speak to your insurer direct for confirmation before purchase.
*$3.96 per day is based on the cheapest policy available for a 26-year-old travelling to the USA for 14 days
Jessica Prasida is an associate publisher for Finder specialising in travel and home insurance. She loves travelling and is a wannabe dumplings master. Jess has a Bachelor of Business from the University of Technology Sydney and a Tier 1 General Insurance qualification. She is currently studying a Master of Marketing.
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