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The Best USA Travel Insurance for Australians

Travel to the United States of America is a dream for many but for the unlucky few who experience a medical emergency, it can quickly turn into a nightmare. Travel insurance can make it easier to bear challenges like overseas hospital stays and stolen luggage.

Travel planning on a laptop

It’s not a question of whether you should get travel insurance for the USA but how much insurance you’ll need — and what the best travel insurance is to cover it.

Important: Travel insurance policies are always changing. Be sure to double-check all details and read the PDS before you take out a policy. While we’re unable to compare all travel insurance policies for Australians heading to the US, we do our best to cover as many as possible.

The Top Travel Insurance Policy for the USA coming from Australia

Fast Cover International Comprehensive

Best Features

  • Unlimited overseas medical cover (including for COVID-19)
  • Unlimited cover for overseas emergency evacuations
  • Automatic cover for 43 pre-existing medical conditions
  • Unlimited trip cancellation cover
  • Up to $50,000 for trip disruption
  • Up to $5,000 for out-of-pocket non-medical expenses during a hospital stay

Fast Cover Comprehensive offers some of the best medical coverage of all the policies we compared for visitors to the US. Not only does it include unlimited medical cover, but it also automatically covers 43 pre-existing medical conditions, as well as a generous $50,000 in case of a permanent disability.

While the policy includes unlimited trip cancellation cover, the benefit for cancellations caused by COVID-19 is capped at $5,000 — still one of the more generous benefits for this item of all policies we compared.

You also have the option to add on cover if you’re planning to undertake more adventurous activities on your journey or you’re travelling by motorcycle. Just beware that if you’re planning to ski or do any other snow sports, you will need to buy a separate, dedicated snow sports policy.

Finally, Fast Cover Comprehensive is also one of the more affordable policies we compared, making it the best value travel insurance for single trips to the US on our list.



The Best Medical Insurance for USA Travel

Australia Post International Basic Plan

Best Features

  • Unlimited overseas medical cover (including for COVID-19)
  • Unlimited cover for medical emergency evacuation
  • Unlimited cover for additional expenses if you’re unfit to continue travelling
  • Up to $2,000 emergency dental cover
  • Permanent disability and accidental death cover
  • $5 million for personal liability cover
  • Automatic cover for 37 pre-existing medical conditions
  • $2,500 for additional expenses if you test positive for COVID-19 and need to self-isolate
  • 24/7 Overseas medical and emergency assistance

If you’re looking to cut costs on your travel insurance, a medical plan may be the way to go. This covers you for most medical emergencies but not things like trip cancellations or stolen luggage.

Basic medical insurance for USA travel is almost identical across providers. There is usually unlimited cover for medical emergencies and evacuations.

However, Australia Post takes it a step further with $10,000 cover for permanent disability and accidental death — benefits that no other travel medical insurance we compared offered.

Cover is available for additional accommodation and transport expenses if you or your travelling companion are laid up because of a disabling injury or sickness (including COVID-19).

These additions make Australia Post the best travel health insurance for visitors to the USA that we’ve found in our comparison. However, there are a few things to watch out for.

A special excess of A$250 applies to any event caused by COVID-19, on top of the standard excess. For example, if your general policy excess is A$100, your total excess for a COVID-related event will be A$350.

If you want to cover snow sports, motorbike riding, or cruise trips, you will also need to specify this when you buy the policy or you won’t be insured if you are injured while undertaking these activities.



The Best Travel Insurance for the USA for Seniors

Qantas International Comprehensive Travel Insurance

Best Features

  • Unlimited overseas medical cover (including for COVID-19)
  • 40+ pre-existing medical conditions automatically covered
  • Unlimited overseas emergency dental expenses
  • Unlimited trip cancellation cover (and up to $2,500 for COVID-related trip cancellation or disruption)
  • Qantas points can be earned on policy purchase

It can be hard to figure out the best travel insurance for seniors visiting the USA. With Qantas Comprehensive Travel Insurance, you will receive unlimited cover for medical emergencies and emergency dental expenses.

In addition, 43 pre-existing medical conditions are automatically covered, including hypertension, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, and osteopenia.

Generous benefits are provided for travel mishaps, with cover including up to A$15,000 for lost, stolen or damaged luggage, A$1,500 for travel delays, and A$500 for delayed luggage.

Terms and conditions apply and are different for those under 69 compared to those aged 70 and above so make sure you read the PDS fully to understand what you will be covered for.



The Best Travel Insurance for the USA for Pre-existing Medical Conditions

NIB Comprehensive Plan

Best Features

  • Automatic cover for 40+ pre-existing medical conditions
  • Apply for cover for any condition not automatically included
  • Unlimited medical cover (including for COVID-19)
  • Pregnancy included in standard medical cover
  • Up to $10,000 for COVID-related travel costs

The NIB Comprehensive Plan automatically covers 43 existing medical conditions, including diabetes, epilepsy, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure — as long as you satisfy the criteria listed in the PDS.

If you’d like to be covered for an existing medical condition outside the automatic coverage list, you will need to complete medical screening when you buy your policy. You will likely need to pay an additional premium to insure the condition.

NIB doesn’t consider pregnancy a pre-existing condition so its comprehensive USA travel insurance covers pregnancy automatically. However, if you have a pregnancy-related illness or existing pregnancy-related medical condition when you buy the policy, you will need to mention it at the time of purchase.

With its extensive list of included conditions, its unlimited medical cover, and its whopping $10,000 cover for COVID-related travel costs (the best cover we found for this item), we consider NIB Comprehensive to be the best travel insurance for the USA for those with a pre-existing health condition.

What You Need to Know About Travel Insurance for the USA

Is travel insurance mandatory for USA travel?

Having travel insurance isn’t a mandatory requirement for entry into the United States but it is strongly recommended.

Medical costs — even for a simple GP visit — can be substantially higher in the US compared to Australia. In other countries, we have reciprocal health care agreements (which means you’re covered under Medicare) but there’s no such agreement in the US.

This means that while you don’t technically need to have travel insurance to visit the US, you may end up in serious trouble without it. It’s common practice for American medical facilities to require proof of insurance or the ability to pay for any treatment before you receive it. If you have neither, you could be denied medical care.

Should I get travel insurance for the USA?
Australian travel advisory Smartraveller says that all Australian travellers to the US should get comprehensive travel insurance, given that hefty medical costs in the country need to be paid up-front. Even a simple doctor’s visit or medication can add up to hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars so you’re taking a huge risk if you travel to the US without medical insurance.
What travel insurance do I need for the USA?

At a minimum, you will need basic medical insurance for the USA but it is best to look out for comprehensive travel insurance that includes unlimited medical cover, including for medical evacuations.

How much travel insurance you need for the USA depends entirely on you. You will need to make sure you’re covered for:

  • Any medical emergency
  • The activities you want to undertake
  • Your age
  • Any pre-existing medical conditions
  • The full duration of your stay
How to get travel insurance for the USA

The best way to get travel insurance for the USA is to purchase it online directly from the provider you choose.

How much is travel insurance for the USA?

It’s hard to say how much your USA travel insurance will come to. It depends on a host of factors, including your age and health, the duration of the holiday, and the activities you have planned.

However, to give you a ballpark estimate, we compared a range of comprehensive travel insurance policies for a two-week trip to the States for a 35-year-old Australian traveller. The average cost of travel insurance for the USA with a $100 excess was about A$250 though premiums varied from just under A$200 to over A$400*.

*Based on a comparison of 17 policy quotes provided in April 2023.

Why is travel insurance to the USA so expensive?

Travel insurance to the United States of America has always been expensive. Policies that cover US travel are among the priciest in the market.

To make matters worse, the cost of travel insurance to the USA from Australia has more than doubled for many people since the start of the pandemic.

Let’s compare.

A two-week single trip to the UK for a 35-year-old woman with Fast Cover Comprehensive travel insurance costs A$162.99. The exact same policy for the US costs A$197.99. For Thailand, it's $141.99.

The main reason travel insurance in the USA is so expensive is that medical expenses in the States can be outrageously high. The average cost of a hospital visit is $2,873 per day, although it can be as high as $3,726 per day in California. Overnight stays average about $13,600.

How much travel medical insurance do I need for the USA?

While the choice is ultimately yours, it’s important to remember just how much medical costs can skyrocket in the US.

For this reason alone, it’s best to travel to the USA with comprehensive travel insurance that offers nothing less than unlimited medical cover.