The US Government does not require you to have travel insurance while visiting the country on a tourist (B1 and B2) visa. However, candidates applying for J1, F1 and H1 visas are required to have United States health insurance cover.
Having said that, it is worth noting that the United States has the most expensive health care in the world, according to an article published in The Washington Post, in October 2016. Also, it stands at #44 on a crime index published by Numbeo.com.
Given the above facts and figures, even though insurance is not compulsory for tourists visiting the United States, getting one anyway is only wise.
Why Get Travel Insurance?
As stated above, unforeseen medical expenses in the United States can mean a big hit on your budget. A travel insurance policy can provide coverage for a wide range of expenses, from something as small as medication for first aid to as big as hospitalization in America.
Even if you are faced with a minor inconvenience, such as a cold or fever, getting medication over the counter is not very easy in the United States. You are required to consult a doctor and get a prescription to gain access to even basic drugs. And paying the doctor’s fee alone will take its toll on your travel budget. If you have an insurance policy with a cashless transaction feature, you will not have to dole out a single dollar to consult a doctor.
Keeping the worst case scenario in mind, if the need for an emergency evacuation or repatriation of remains arises, travel insurance will cover the cost for those too. Some insurance companies also have tie ups with hospitals and medical clinics and besides covering costs, they may be able to offer assistance during an emergency.
Along with covering for health care contingencies, a travel insurance plan can also takes care of various other travel related mishaps and emergencies.
For instance, if you lose your checked-in baggage, TATA AIG’s Travel Guard reimburses a maximum amount of 50% per bag, with the maximum value of 10% for each article contained. On the other hand, if you baggage is delayed, an insurance policy could provide reasonable compensation for emergency purchases made during that period. Losing your clothes and luggage can still be made up for, but imagine losing your passport in a foreign land! If you have insured your travel, you will not only be compensated for procuring a duplicate passport but also be assisted in obtaining it overseas. TATA AIG Travel Guard also provides distress allowances and reimbursements for situations such as hijack and flight delay or cancellation.
Visiting the United States is an expensive affair to say the least, and one would obviously want to enjoy every penny spent to the fullest. So, be sure to spend a few rupees on travel insurance so that you spend those precious dollars on more fun things than a hospital bill.