Most Brits can’t help but feel excited about the idea of travelling to the USA. After all, it’s one of the most iconic countries in the world and offers just about every type of geography known to man. From the Rocky Mountains of the western region, the Great Plains in the middle of the continent to the wetlands of the Atlantic Coastal Plain and the lush coral reefs of the Caribbean — there’s something for everyone!
Of course, let’s not forget that the US is a developed nation with one of the best healthcare systems in the world. As a result, many Brits tend to overlook (if not totally forego) getting travel insurance for the USA. However, is that a good idea?
Yes, getting USA travel insurance might seem like an unnecessary hassle for what is bound to be a smooth and unforgettable travel experience. That said, the same trip can turn out to be a financial nightmare without an insurance policy.
Flying to America is a big and expensive trip, and when you get there, you face the prospect of higher medical bills for any emergencies you encounter. This explains why travel insurance for the USA is generally more expensive because you are more likely to cost an insurer more in the event of a claim.
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USA Travel Insurance — We Got You Covered
Emerald Life prides itself in being one of the few full-service insurance companies in the UK that cater to the needs of the marginalised and underrepresented people in the community. This includes the LGBT, women and people from non-traditional families (foster, surrogate, adopted children, etc.)
Coverage includes the following:
- Screening for thousands of medical conditions
- 24/7 medical assistance
- Up to £5000 cancellation cover
- Medical cover of up to £10,000,000.
- Luggage cover of up to £2,000.
As you can see above, travel insurance also comes with a wide range of benefits like cancellation cover if you are unable to travel and protection for your possessions. Emerald Life even provides gadget cover as an optional feature along with Cruise (missed port departure and cabin confinement) and Winter sports cover (unable to ski for more than 24 hours).
The point of getting travel insurance for the USA is to give British citizens peace of mind knowing that they got help to fall back on should anything go wrong during their travel. If that’s something that you’ve been looking for in a travel insurance policy, then it’s safe to say that Emerald Life has you covered.
How Much Travel Insurance Do I Need For USA
Before you leave for your trip to the USA, you need to make sure that your policy has enough coverage to offset any eventuality. This begs the question — how much insurance do you really need? After all, British citizens can freely enter the US without insurance, and even without a visa (up to 90 days under the US Visa Waiver Programme). So is it indispensable in the first place?
Well, only you can decide if it’s worth getting travel insurance for the USA. Just keep in mind that if you do decide to push through your travel without it, you can end up paying for emergency medical expenses out-of-pocket and that’s not going to be cheap. As you may already know, the US healthcare system is heavily built around private insurance. You may have heard stories about the unusually high cost of medical treatment in the US for people with no health insurance.
As to how much coverage is needed in travel insurance for the USA, fortunately, most good travel insurance policies offer several million pounds as standard. With travel insurance, the point is to make sure you are covered for all eventualities, rather than only allowing you a specific budget. Regardless of what policy you choose, it’s essential to make sure that there’s enough coverage in case you fall ill require medical care during your travel to the US.
Emerald Life, in particular, covers up to £5 million worth of medical expenses as standard and up to £10 million for Premier Cover.
Travel Risks in the USA
More than 3.8 million British citizens travel to the USA every year, and most of them return to the UK without any incident. Of course, that’s no reason to be complacent and forego getting travel insurance to the USA.
As of this writing, travel to the USA is still subject to restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Brits who have been in the UK over the last two weeks are not allowed to enter. In addition, those who are eligible for entry must submit to a 14-day quarantine period immediately upon arrival. That said, these restrictions are expected to ease down in the next few months following Pfizer’s release of a working coronavirus vaccine and implementation of the Operation Warp Speed program.
The COVID-19 global pandemic aside, British citizens are advised to consider the following travel risks:
- There have been cases of massive wildfires affecting cities in the West Coast, including Washington, Oregon and California. Minor cases have also been reported in Alaska, Idaho and Montana. Brits travelling to these states are advised to keep track of local news and comply with government instructions to evacuate or remain indoors (for air quality concerns).
- There have been reports of massive protests around the country since May 2020, and some of them have devolved into violent clashes with local authorities. As a result, the National Guard has been mobilised to implement curfews in more than 25 cities across 16 states. British citizens are advised not to participate in these demonstrations and comply with the instructions provided by local government units.
- Although unlikely, indiscriminate terrorist attacks within the United States is always a potential safety issue. British citizens are advised to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities to local authorities.
- Although travel to the United States is generally safe, UK citizens need to be cautious and take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their property from petty crimes. For one thing, leave your passport and other valuables at the hotel and not inside rental cars, which can be targeted by thieves. Don’t travel alone, especially at night and avoid sparsely populated areas.
- Be mindful of the hurricane seasons which might affect your city or state (June to November for the Atlantic hurricane season and mid-May to November for the Pacific hurricane season).
Healthcare for Brits in the USA
Like in the UK, Brits will find that healthcare is readily accessible in the US except for one crucial difference — it’s ridiculously expensive! So expensive that your NHS (National Health Service) alone won’t be enough to cover the cost of medical care in the country. For this reason, you need travel insurance to protect yourself (and your pocket) should you need medical treatment during your visit to the US.
What About Pre-Existing Medical Conditions?
Simply put, you must declare any pre-existing medical conditions when you apply for travel insurance. If you do not, then you will not be covered for any medical expenses associated with the treatment of the said condition.
While pre-existing medical conditions do add to the cost of getting USA travel insurance, any Brit who has found themselves in need of medical care during their stay would agree that the price is well worth it.
Emerald Life proudly covers and provides screening for thousands of medical conditions at no added cost.
Are there any pre-existing medical conditions that you don’t need to disclose?
As a rule of thumb, you would want to tell your policy provider about any pre-existing medical conditions when applying for travel insurance to the USA. Most policies are versatile enough to cover most conditions for an added fee. That said, there are a few exceptions.
For example, Emerald Life does not require its clients to discuss their HIV status. People can get travel insurance for their single trip to the US without screening provide that they met the following conditions:
- Undergone more than three months of antiviral treatment prior to the application with no change in their antiviral medication
- CDR level above 350. If the count is lower, then the client will need a doctor’s note stating that their patient is fit for travel to the US despite their CDC count.
- A viral load of fewer than 50mls (preferably undetectable).
What you need to look out for when shopping for travel insurance for the USA
Indeed, travel insurance cover is essential whether you’re planning for multiple trips or a single trip to the US. This begs the question — what should you know about choosing the right one?
You will find that the terms and features of a travel insurance cover will vary from one policy provider to another. That said, a good insurance policy ultimately boils down to three crucial factors:
Medical cover and repatriation
No one prepares for their travel to the US, thinking that they might fall sick or get injured. Nevertheless, it can happen, and it’s an eventuality that UK citizens would want to protect themselves from.
In the event of a serious injury, your policy should cover the cost of emergency evacuation and repatriation back to the UK.
Consider the following:
- The cost of repatriation from the US to the UK can be upwards of £9000.
- Emergency evacuation services in the US can cost up to £45,000 without insurance.
- The average out-of-pocket cost of doctor appointments in the US is between $300 to $600 (approximately £220 to £440).
Cancellation cover and curtailment
Another eventuality that you would want to account for when planning your trip to the US is the possibility that your flight might get cancelled or delayed. This is a problem, especially if you’ve already paid your deposits for transportation and hotel reservations in the US. In this case, it would be helpful to get a policy that covers even a portion of these expenses.
Emerald Life, in particular, offers a cancellation cover of up to £3000 (Core) or £5000 for clients under Premier cover.
While the odds of losing your luggage during your flight to the US is unlikely, there’s still a 1% chance that it might happen to you (according to a consumer report by the US Department of Transportation). So the real question is — what are you going to do if it does?
Once again, it’s one of those rare instances wherein travel insurance can prove incredibly helpful. In the case of Emerald Life, their policy covers up to £250 for delayed luggage. If your stuff has been missing for more than 21 days, then the luggage is considered lost, and their luggage cover entitles you to a sum of up to £1500 (Core Cover) or £2000 (Premier cover).
How Much Is Travel Insurance For USA?
To find the best travel insurance for the USA, be prepared to shop around and compare travel insurance quotes. Each travel insurance brand is likely to carry a different risk rating for the USA, meaning that their pricing may vary considerably. Hence it’s a good idea to look around instead of jumping in on the first insurance policy provider your find.
If you are making multiple trips to the USA then you may want to consider annual travel insurance. This is generally cheaper than buying various single-trip travel insurance policies in the same year. That said, this is not always true among travel insurance policy providers so we’ll revert to our earlier advice — shop around. Don’t just assume that the cost is similar to what you’ll find everywhere else.
Likewise, if you are travelling with family, then a family travel insurance policy may work out cheaper for you. Again, this is not always true, so you would do well to exercise due diligence and compare the cost between individual and family insurance.
In the case of Emerald Life, we take pride in providing affordable policies, especially for non-traditional families. This is in line with our continued commitment towards equality and diversity in the UK community.