Your relatives are coming to visit which means there is a lot to do! While you’re busy cleaning out the spare room, patching leaks on the inflatable mattress, and asking your boss for time off to take your relatives to the nearest national park, you’re probably also scouring the web for deals on Visitor Health Insurance. With so many options, finding the right plan can be overwhelming. It’s like you need to be a specialist in visitors medical insurance pick the right one. To help ease this burden and make the task of purchasing less arduous, we asked G1G CEO, Zubair Jeewanjee, who often has relatives visiting from abroad, to provide his best tips. He outlined the top 5 insider tricks to make the process easy and affordable, while still protecting the ones you love.
1. Cheaper isn’t always better — neither is the most expensive
Insurance companies are much like Vegas in the sense that everything is calculated by risk. That being said, they need to make sure that they have the appropriate funds to payout in the event of a claim, so plans with comprehensive benefits are naturally more expensive.
Mr. Jeewanjee says that the key is to first look for major price differences, as this will indicate whether the plan is a fixed benefit (typically 60% lower premium than a comprehensive plan) or a comprehensive plan (more expensive but significantly better coverage). A good rule to follow for trips lasting longer than two weeks, and for travelers over the age of 40, is to steer away from fixed benefit plans. While fixed benefit plans may cost less upfront, in the event of a major claim, you WILL pay more — often times a lot more.
If, however, a fixed-benefit plan is the only type of policy that suits your budget, then get it! Some insurance is better than none. If you do, however, select a comprehensive coverage plan, keep in mind that the most expensive is not always the best, and you may be paying extra for benefits you don’t need or that may already be covered by your credit card and/or airline. In this case, it’s best to first address your primary coverage needs.
2. Reduce your costs and maximize your benefits by purchasing separate plans when expecting multiple relatives
Age is one of the two most important factors in determining cost and scope of coverage that insurance companies are willing to offer (the other being duration). Basically, the older the traveler, the more limited the scope of coverage and the higher the cost. While that may sound terrible, rest assured that it’s not so. Generally speaking, age categories for insurance companies operate on 10 year brackets, meaning, if one relative is 69 and the other is 70, it’s best to purchase their policies separately to ensure that the 69-year-old traveler receives the maximum benefits available. Lastly, one plan may not be best for each age group, so purchasing a plan better suited to the 70-79 demographic may be different from one designed for the 60-69 demographic. Following this method will help you choose the best U.S. visitors insurance and minimize costs since plans for older age groups are more expensive.
3. Lower your cost by opting for a higher deductible
Selecting a higher deductible may sound like a step in the wrong direction for someone trying to cut cost, but can save you money in the long run. Research has found that trips lasting longer than 30 days drastically increase the likelihood of a traveler filing a claim. By opting for a higher policy maximum, you ensure coverage against more costly claims, while offsetting the price of the plan by selecting a higher deductible. Paying a higher deductible is nothing compared to the potential cost incurred by not having enough coverage in the event of a major emergency. This will save you money and leave you feeling better about your purchase decision, should you experience a safe trip without claims.
4. Take advantage of in-flight and stop-over coverage by selecting travel dates that include the day before and after your trip
All travel insurance plans cover visitor’s in-flight and during stop-overs, so be sure to select a policy start and end date that begins the day they leave their home country and ends the day they arrive back home. By selecting travel dates relative to your US standard time, you safeguard against confusing time zone differences that may default a claim. In addition to medical coverage, comprehensive plans include some trip benefits such as trip delay, lost luggage, and common carrier AD&D, so take full advantage of your policies extensive benefits.
5. Reading the fine print isn’t just a safeguard, it will help your maximize a policy’s coverage
Reading the fine print is often a cautionary piece of advice given to ensure that travelers aren’t taken advantage of when purchasing medical insurance for visitors to the USA. While that is an apt reason for doing so, we suggest you read the fine print to fully capitalize on all the benefits offered. Most travelers skim the summary of details, which gives you a good idea of what major items are covered. Low and behold, the policy brochure contains details regarding benefits that you didn’t even know you had, such as lost/delayed luggage, flight delays and interruptions, as well as additional medical coverage. Remember that insurance companies usually aren’t going to help you determine lesser known benefits, so it’s up to you to maximize your protection.
When purchasing a U.S. Visitors Insurance plan, be sure to follow these tips to both lower costs, and capitalize on policy benefits. For more information and educational materials, we suggest you visit G1G.com.