American Emergency Medical Insurance for International Visitors

If you’re planning on buying a car, RV, or motorcycle in the United States, you’ll need insurance.  But if you’re visiting from another country, American insurance can be confusing, so we’re breaking it down for you in a three part series on American auto liability insurance, American Property Damage Insurance, and American emergency medical insurance.

This articles focuses on American emergency medical insurance, which covers injuries you may suffer from an accident that you cause.  If you cause an accident in America, Auto Liability Insurance covers the medical bills of third party(ies) you injure, but it does not cover your own medical bills.  Similarly, Auto Property Damage Insurance only covers damage to your property, not to your person.

American Emergency Medical Insurance for International Visitors Overview

If you’re visiting from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, or anywhere else with universal healthcare, paying for healthcare or health insurance may never have crossed your mind.  We do not have universal healthcare in the United States, and medical costs can quickly add up if you’re in an accident.

Emergency medical insurance is likely the best solution to cover medical costs for international visitors. Most travel insurance packages will cover emergency medical expenses and/or costs to transport you back to your home country (where your medical costs are covered by your insurance).

There are four key components in an emergency medical insurance policy: the limit, exclusions, the deductible, and the premium.  Let’s go over them one by one.


The limit of an emergency medical insurance policy is the maximum the insurer will pay for your medical bills.  An emergency medical insurance policy will often pay your American medical bills or, if you’re in a condition to be transported, the cost to repatriate you to your home country (where, presumably, you have coverage.)


Your emergency medical insurance policy will list a number of activities that are excluded from coverage.  For instance, your policy may not cover you if you’re injured while drag racing, skydiving, or doing any other activities your insurer considers too risky to insure.

Your emergency medical insurance policy probably also won’t cover prescriptions, ongoing care, or preexisting conditions.


The deductible (referred to in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries as the excess) is the amount you pay before your insurance kicks in.

For example, if you have emergency medical insurance policy with a $1,000 deductible, and you cause an accident in which you suffer injuries that result in $5,000 of medical costs, you are responsible for the first $1,000 and your insurance will pay the remaining $4,000.


The final component in a travel health insurance policy is the premium, which is the amount you pay for the policy.

The higher the limits of your policy, the higher the premium you’ll pay, and the higher the deductible you agree to pay, the lower premium you’ll pay.

Putting it all together

If you’re planning a road trip around America, don’t overlook your own health.  Medical costs here can add up quickly, and we don’t have universal coverage. It may make sense to supplement your auto liability and property damage coverage with emergency medical insurance to cover any unexpected costs that might occur.

For more information on liability insurance, which covers you against damage you may cause to others, click here.  For more information on property damage insurance, which covers your own vehicle in the event of an accident that you may cause, click here.