Visitors Insurance Frequently Asked Questions

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Buying visitors insurance almost certainly comes with many questions about coverage options, types of plans, costs, and even whether or not it is important to purchase before visiting the US. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to visitors health insurance to help guide you to make the right purchasing decision that is right for your needs.

Q Why Should I Buy Visitors Insurance?

A Medical care in the USA is extremely costly and as a result, traveling abroad without travel medical insurance could be very expensive should any illnesses, accidents or any other health related problems arise. Purchasing visitors insurance is the best way to protect yourself from financial burden as well as provide you with overall peace of mind throughout your travels.

Q I Do Not Live in the USA – Can I Still Buy a US-Based Visitors Insurance Plan?

Yes! You can buy a visitors insurance policy online from anywhere, regardless of where you reside.

Q How Soon Will My Insurance Policy Come Into Effect After Purchasing?

A A policy can start as early as the next day after purchasing, or any future date you may want. You choose your start and end date for the policy. The policy will only cover for conditions that occur after the policy effective date.

Q What Information Is Required to Purchase a Visitors Insurance Policy?

A You will need:

  • Name of insured
  • Date of birth of insured
  • Coverage dates
  • Home country
  • Destination country
  • Passport number

More: Purchase Your Visitors Insurance

Q Is a Medical Test Required Before I Can Buy My Visitors Insurance Policy?

A No, there is no medical testing required to purchase a visitors insurance policy online.

Q Can I Buy Visitors Insurance for My Parents/Relatives?

A Yes, you may purchase visitors insurance on behalf of your parents or relatives.

See: Visitors Insurance For Parents

Q Should I Purchase My Insurance Plan Before or After I Arrive in the USA?

A Visitors Insurance can be purchased either before the visitor embarks on their travels, or upon their arrival to their destination. If you are purchasing a plan that covers you during international travel, you should purchase the policy before you leave. You can choose the coverage start date to match the day you embark on your travels.

Q I Want to Buy Insurance for My Parents – Should I Buy Combined or Separate Policies?

A Your parents can either be on the same policy or separate policies. Depending on their age, if they fall under different age groups, they may have to be on separate policies.

Purchasing the policies separately, however, does tend to be easier to manage if any changes are needed to be made to travel plans or to the policy after purchasing.

Q What Will I Receive as Proof of My Policy?

A After purchasing your policy online, you will receive a confirmation email and an insurance ID card which you will use as proof of insurance. Print your insurance ID card and keep it on you all throughout your travels.

Q How Do I Use My Policy Once I’ve Purchased It?

A Upon visiting a doctor or hospital, you will provide them with your insurance ID card after any type of treatment/care. The provider will either bill the insurance company directly, or ask you to pay the bill up front for services received. Either way, you will need to go through the mandatory claims process in order to receive coverage or reimbursement for any applicable covered services as per the policy you purchased.

Q What Doctors/Hospital Can I Go To? Is There a Provider List?

A In general, you can go to any doctor or hospital of your choice. However, for maximum benefit, you should go to a doctor or hospital within the PPO Network if the plan you purchased participates in one (not all of them do). More information will be provided to you once you purchase your plan.

Q How Can I Renew My Insurance Policy?

A Not all visitors insurance policies are renewable, so you will want to check the policy documents of the specific plan you purchased to see if this is an option. If the policy you purchased is a renewable visitors insurance plan, you can do so online.

Q Can I Receive a Refund If I Cancel My Plan Before the Start Date?

A Many plans do issue refunds if canceled before the official start date. Some however, do not, so it is important to check the cancellation policy of the particular plan you purchase.

Q What Are Pre-existing Conditions and How Are They Defined?

A Generally, high blood pressure, diabetes, AIDS, pregnancy, and any such physical problems which can’t be considered to have occurred overnight would fall under pre-existing conditions. However, each insurance company has their own definition, hence it is advised to read more about your insurance plan’s policies before buying a particular plan.

What is Considered a Pre-Existing Condition?

A pre-existing condition is any injury, Illness or medical condition which meets any of the following criteria: a) a condition that would have caused a person to seek medical advice, diagnosis, care or treatment prior to the effective date of coverage under the insurance policy; b) condition for which manifestation, medical advice, diagnosis, care or treatment was recommended, received, or noticed prior to the effective date of coverage under the insurance policy. Conditions such as cancer, high blood pressure, a heart condition, pregnancy, and any other illnesses or injuries that existed prior to purchasing a policy is considered to be a pre-existing condition.

Who Determines If An Illness/Injury is a Pre-existing Condition?

The diagnosis of a pre-existing condition is completely up to the doctor or hospital at the time of visit. If your condition is deemed to be pre-existing based on past medical history and the nature of the illness or injury, the insurance company will not cover any expenses in relation to that condition unless the policy specifically states that it covers pre-existing conditions.

Q Why Are Pre-existing Conditions Typically Not Covered By Insurance Plans?

A Travel medical and visitor insurance plans are short term plans and designed to cover new conditions that may occur during the limited time frame a visitor is outside of their home country. Pre-existing conditions tend to need continuous care and are typically not covered under visitors insurance due to the short nature of the coverage.

Q Why Should I Purchase Insurance If It Does Not Cover Pre-existing Conditions?

A Medical costs in the USA are very high and can be financially devastating, especially in the case of an unexpected illness or injury. Visitors insurance is a means to insure against such unanticipated medical emergencies and should not be viewed as a means to get medical treatment for existing medical problems.

Q Can I Use Visitors Insurance to Cover a Planned Surgery For My Mother or Father?

A No. Known treatment and services prior to having a travel insurance policy for pre-existing conditions will not be covered under any such visitors insurance policy.

Is a Full Physical or Check-up for a Parent Covered By Visitors Insurance?

No, routine medical visit/physicals are not covered under most standard visitors insurance policies due to the short term nature of the plans.

Q What is an AM Best Rating and What Does It Signify?

A AM Best is an independent third-party evaluation organization, providing a benchmark for comparing insurers. AM Best ratings are independent opinions, based on a comprehensive quantitative and qualitative evaluation, of a company’s balance sheet strength, operating performance and business profile.

They are not a warranty of a company’s financial strength and ability to meet either its obligations to policyholders or its financial obligations.

The rating you might have seen in a plan brochure is denoted as an alphabetical letter such as A, B, or C along with +/- signs. These indicate the AM Best’s Financial Strength Rating (FSR). The Financial Strength Rating (FSR) is an opinion of an insurer’s ability to meet its obligations to policyholders. Rating Modifiers and Affiliation Codes may also be associated with these ratings. The following list outlines an insurance rating scale and associated descriptions:

Secure (Trustworthy)

  • A++, A+ (Superior)
  • A, A- (Excellent)
  • B++, B+ (Very Good)

Lacking Trust

  • B, B- (Fair)
  • C++, C+ (Marginal)
  • C, C- (Weak)


Any plan with an A rating is considered good.

Q Can I Add My Visiting Parents or In-laws to My Existing Health Insurance Plan?

A No, you cannot add any of your visiting relatives to your existing domestic health insurance plan; however, you can purchase a visitors insurance plan for them.

Q Can I Add My Visiting Brother or Sister to My Existing Health Insurance Plan?

A No, you cannot add them to your existing domestic health insurance plan; however, you can purchase a visitors insurance plan for them.

Q Am I Legally Responsible For My Visiting Parent’s Hospital Bills?

A It is possible that you may be legally responsible for your parent’s hospital bills if as a visa sponsor, you submitted an affidavit for financial responsibilities.

Q I Want to Bring My Parents/Relatives to the US For Medical Treatment – Will Any Insurance Cover This?

A Unfortunately, visitors insurance will not cover this type of medical treatment.

Visitors’ health insurance policies are short term insurance policies and only cover conditions that start after the insurance policy becomes effective. Therefore, any existing condition that needs treatment is the insured’s responsibility.

Q I Have Travel Insurance From India – Can I Renew It In the US? Or Do I Need to Buy a New Policy?

A Insurance from India, or from your home country, can only be renewed by whom you purchased it from. Most of these types of policies are not renewable, and therefore you will likely need to purchase a new policy in the US before or after your arrival.

Q Will I Get Better Rates If I Buy Directly From the Insurance Provider or From an Agency?

A You typically will get the best rates purchasing from a reputable, online visitors health insurance company such as VisitorsCoverage rather than directly from an insurance provider. You also receive the added benefit of excellent customer support and clear, straightforward quotes as well as an easy-to-use website where you can purchase your policy anytime, anywhere.

Q Where Can I Ask Specific Insurance-Related Questions?

A For specific questions and inquiries that you would like to speak with a licensed agent about, feel free to email us at [email protected] or call our toll-free number at 1-866-384-9104.

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