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4 Reasons to Get Winter Travel Insurance When Traveling to The U.S. Thumbnail

4 Reasons to Get Winter Travel Insurance When Traveling to The U.S.

Although the West Coast of the United States seems to be almost immune to winter weather, this is not the case for much of the rest of the U.S. Much of the East Coast is already blanketed in several feet of snow with another blast of Arctic weather on the way. If you are planning to travel abroad to the U.S., winter travel insurance can ensure you are not stuck out in the cold if weather interrupts your travel plans. Here are 4 reasons to get winter travel insurance.

1. Reimbursements

Although you may be able to plan most aspects of your winter trip to the U.S., weather is often unpredictable. A winter travel insurance policy can help you cover any expenses incurred if your trip is delayed. This can cover reasonable travel expenses including accommodations, meals, and transportation until travel becomes possible.

2. Travel investment protection

Oftentimes when booking a vacation, you may be required to make a deposit to secure your room or buy non-refundable tickets. In the case that your vacation is delayed or cancelled at the departure point, winter travel insurance can help. A policy can provide coverage if your trip is cancelled due to a covered reason such as severe weather. You can receive reimbursement for any pre-paid, forfeited and non-refundable trip costs up to your selected limit of coverage.

heavy snow accumulations

3. Assistance

After all of the preliminary planning it took to get your vacation underway, it can be frustrating if something such as weather causes delays or cancellations. Most winter travel insurance policies include valuable assistance services. These services will work with airlines on your behalf to find and book a new flight to help get your U.S. vacation underway. This will help alleviate some of the stress of a delayed or cancelled trip.

4. Late purchase

If you have done your due diligence and checked weather forecasts for anywhere you are planning to travel on your vacation, you may think you don’t need winter travel insurance. While this may be the case, many of the severe winter storms that have been affecting the eastern and southern U.S. this winter, have been relatively quick forming.

plane on snow covered runway

Most winter travel insurance providers will allow you to purchase a policy up to 24 hours before a severe winter storm warning or watch is issued. This means if you have a vacation planned and it looks like a storm is forming where you are going, you can still purchase a policy as long is it is at least 24 hours in advance of any watches or warnings.

Even if a policy is purchased after the 24 hour watch and warning window, you will still be able to take advantage of most of the services offered by your policy provider.

 

The U.S. is a great place to visit in the winter, as long as you take measures to ensure severe winter weather doesn’t cause delays or interruptions. If you are interested in learning more about winter travel insurance or overseas health insurance, contact Insurance Services of America at (800) 647-4589 or 01 (480) 821-9052 today.

What Are Your Green Card Insurance Options? Thumbnail

What Are Your Green Card Insurance Options?

Although requirements will vary depending on your specific situation, most lawful residents and green card holders are required to have qualifying health insurance according to the Affordable Care Act. Depending on your current resident status, you will have a number of different option available to you. It is important to meet with a qualified insurance professional to determine what health insurance options are right for you.

Green Card Holders

Green card holders or lawful permanent residents are not much different than U.S. citizens when it comes to health insurance. Depending on your specific circumstances, you can get health coverage from your place of employment, through a public assistance program or through an individual plan purchased through the health insurance marketplace.

If you are a green card holder who travels frequently between your home country and the U.S. you may want to consider purchasing short term travel medical insurance to stay covered when you are in the U.S.

Green card holders and Medicare

Medicare is a need based federal health insurance program designed to provide coverage to those with little to no income. This may be available for green card holders who meet certain criteria. Lawful permanent residents may qualify for Medicare if they can prove they have worked in the country for 40 quarters (10 years).

Green card holders who are over the age of 65 and have lived here for 5 years, but don’t have the work history can either buy into Medicaid for a small monthly premium, or purchase an individual private plan from the health insurance marketplace. Those who purchase through the insurance market place and cannot afford the premium may qualify for federal subsidies to help cover the cost.

Health insurance and dependents

It is important to remember that for most current insurance plans in the U.S. you may only include qualified family members. This mean your spouse and dependent children can receive coverage under your plan, but your parents may not. Even if your parents are current green card holders as well, they will be responsible for finding their own health insurance coverage.

For lawful permanent residents who are participating in a green card sponsorship program for their parents or other family members, it is important to be aware of your responsibilities when it comes to health coverage. You may be responsible for any medical expenses they incur while under your sponsorship.

 

Your options will vary depending on your specific circumstances, but it is important to make sure you are covered. If you are interested in learning more about what options are available to you or are a green card holder interested in purchasing travel medical insurance, visit Overseas Health online or call one of our insurance experts at (800) 647-4589 or 01 (480) 821-9052 today.

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The Process Of Studying In The United States

When it comes to studying in the United States, there are a few requirements that must be completed prior to entering the country. Most students from foreign nations will take two specific tests, which are called the TOEFL and the SAT.

The TOEFL is a test of English language proficiency. It’s specifically for non-English speakers looking to attend universities in the U.S. Meanwhile, the SAT is a widely known test that provides a basis for the academic abilities of the student. Most believe the SAT is harder than the TOEFL, but both are often required for those looking to study in the U.S.

Preparing for the tests

Before you start to prepare for these two tests, it’s important to understand what to expect. Both tests will have a heavy emphasis on English vocabulary terms and their use in conversations and applications. Even though the TOEFL won’t require as many words as the SAT, it’s important to work on your vocabulary.

Take the TOEFL first

This test is a great way to start, since it focuses primarily on language proficiency. If you understand the English language, you will be able to answer the questions correctly on this test.

Prepare for the tests separately

Trying to prepare for both the TOEFL and the SAT at the same time can become confusing and overwhelming. Instead, prepare for just one at a time to ensure you don’t create even more stress for yourself.

Be aware of the transition from the TOEFL to the SAT

While preparing for the TOEFL can help to build your vocabulary, transitioning into SAT preparation can be quite different. It may take some time to adjust to the preparation used for the SAT.

Many students struggle with the difference in learning styles for both tests. Often, students will retake the TOEFL test after they have taken the SAT and it will be much easier.

What else will you need to study in the United States?

Along with these two tests, students wishing to study in the United States may need a visa, travel insurance and other items in place before leaving their home country. Students may also need to have already been accepted by a school and may also require permission from their home nation.

Travel insurance is a very important part of the requirements necessary to study in the U.S. It will help the student if they become ill or have a medical issue, ensuring their protection in a foreign land.

When it comes to choosing the right travel insurance to the USA, it’s important to find a company willing to cater to your needs. The right specialists will be able to help walk you through the process and make sure you have the coverage you need to study in the United States.

Before you study in the US, make sure you take the right tests, get the proper visa and obtain the right travel insurance. These requirements will ensure you get to study in the US without any issues.

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Studying in the US vs the UK

If you’re a student in the United Kingdom, and you’ve ever considered studying abroad in the United States, it’s important to consider that there are many variations between the systems of education. Here are a few of the key differences that should be considered before making the decision to study overseas.

Time in school

In the United States, colleges are referred to as “4-year universities” for a reason. While the length of study varies depending on what choices a student makes (e.g. transferring, changing majors, taking AP courses in high school, workload), most students are expected to finish their undergraduate degree in about four years. If a student chooses to pursue further education, such as a master’s degree, they will be in school for another two years at the minimum. Some degrees can even add four or more years of education after the undergraduate degree has been obtained.

In the United Kingdom, time spent in school is compressed significantly. General education and elective courses are curtailed, if not entirely omitted from studies. As a result, students obtain their degrees in about three years. Also, graduate degrees are not always necessary to successfully practice in some fields, as qualifications can be obtained within the three-year undergraduate period.

Grades and coursework

While students in the United Kingdom are lucky enough to find themselves in school for a shorter period of time, they are often under much stricter scrutiny. On the surface, it may seem as if it’s easier to earn an “A” in the UK, as it is only necessary to obtain 65 percent or higher (in the United States, a 90 percent or higher is required). Although a lower percentage is required to get an “A” in the UK, only a few students in any given class will earn the grade, as grade inflation is not common.

How students are educated is also much different. In the US, students tend to receive more guidance, whereas students in the UK are expected to be more regulating. A course in the United States will meet for three or four hours a week, but a class in the United Kingdom will only meet for one to two hours. Students are expected to spend the additional time reading and doing work on their own.

Campus life

For better or for worse, American universities have a certain stigma surrounding them. Many may call to mind scenes from National Lampoon’s Animal House, where toga parties and binge drinking are the norm. While these hyperbolic narratives don’t ring true in the majority of cases, they aren’t entirely fictitious. Fraternities and sororities, with all of their partying and pledging, are not something you are likely to encounter anywhere else in the world. In fact, many students who travel to the United States are likely to testify that that have never encountered anything like Greek Life.

If you do decide to study abroad in the US, being prepared by having holiday travel insurance is in your best interest. For more information on travel insurance plans, get in touch with Insurance Services of America by calling (800) 647-4589.

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Medical Insurance For New Immigrants to USA

Making the decision to immigrate to the U.S. can be both exciting and overwhelming. It is important to keep in mind there are several requirements for the immigrant who has or is trying to obtain a green card. One of the most important aspects to consider is what kind of health insurance will be right for you specific situation.

american flag

Under the Affordable Care Act, most residents of the U.S. are required to obtain a health insurance policy. An immigrant can find themselves in one of four unique situations which will impact what policy is right for them.

Situations that impact medical insurance for new immigrants to USA

U.S. green card

1. Green card holders who frequently travel between the U.S. and their home country

Many green card holders don’t permanently reside in the U.S. Typically these immigrants travel to the U.S. every six months to a year. If this is your situation, you are required to obtain health insurance, but you have a few options to choose from. You would need to either purchase an immigrant or visitor’s plan which satisfies eligibility criteria.

2. Green card holders who permanently live in the U.S.

If you are a current green card holder and you have lived in the U.S for a long time or spend most of your time here, you may be required to obtain an insurance policy. If you are below 65 years of age, you can consider domestic insurance policies. If you are above 65 years of age you may be eligible for a U.S. state or federal supported health program such as Medicare.

3. New immigrant/ recent card holder

For those immigrants who have recently obtained their green card and will be going to the U.S. soon, you should consider short-term insurance plans. These are ideal because the provide temporary coverage while traveling and settling in. Temporary short term insurance plans are also the best option if you have your green card and have just arrived to the U.S.

health insurance form

4. In the process of getting green card

If you are visiting the U.S. on a visitor’s visa and your family has applied for a family sponsored card, you will be considered a visitor until your card is processed and issued. While you are waiting for processing, you are eligible for any number of visitor health insurance plans.

No matter what situation applies to you, it is important to make sure you are always covered. If you are interested in medical insurance for new immigrants to USA or want more information on international travel insurance, visit Overseas Health online or call one of our insurance experts at (800) 647-4589 or 01 (480) 821-9052 today.

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7 Things to do in America

If you are planning a trip to the United States anytime in the near future, you’re probably thinking of all of the sites you want to see. Here is a list to help you narrow your search down.

1) Walk the Las Vegas Strip

This world famous attraction is sure to be one of the most beautiful sights you will behold in your lifetime. Make your way down Las Vegas Boulevard while taking in the city lights and sipping a cocktail. And remember– what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!

2) See the Grand Canyon

Experience this gorgeous wonder of nature first hand in a variety of ways. You can see the mile deep crater via bus, helicopter, raft, kayak or mule. While travel medical insurance should be on your radar with any trip abroad, you want to make not to skip it if choosing one of the more extreme tour options.

3) Celebrate Mardis Gras

Fat Tuesday is an American carnival festivity, taking place in New Orleans before Ash Wednesday. Originally, this festival was meant to allow Christians one more night of eating rich foods before Lent. It has moved passed it’s religious roots, and is now a unique southern celebration for everyone to take part in.

4) Visit Walt Disney World

Located in beautiful Orlando, Florida, this family friendly attraction is perfect for any visitors looking for wholesome fun. See Mickey, Minnie, Snow White, the Seven Dwarves, and every other Disney character you grew up with!

5) Watch American Football

This sport may not be 100 percent exclusive to the United States, but it’s called “American Football” for a reason. Only in the U.S. with you experience the level of enthusiasm and excitement fans have for the sport.

6) Visit a gun range

For better or worse, the United States has some of the loosest gun restrictions of any first world country. If you’re from a nation that does not allow its citizens access to firearms, visiting a gun range in the United States may allow you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fire a weapon.

7) Visit Alcatraz

Often referred to as “The Rock”, this infamous federal prison was in operation from 1934 to 1963. It developed a reputation for being “escape proof”, and housing some of America’s most notorious criminals.  Al Capone, George “Machine-Gun” Kelly, Alvin Karpis (the first “Public Enemy #1″), and Arthur “Doc” Barker all called Alcatraz home at some point in their lives.

At Insurance Services of America, we make health insurance as easy to obtain as as easy as ready, set, renew. Call (800) 647-4589 or 01 (480) 821-9052 to learn more.

 

Coming to Study in the US? What You Need to Know First Thumbnail

Coming to Study in the US? What You Need to Know First

The choice to study abroad in the United States is both exciting and nerve racking. Of course the best way to learn about a culture is to be fully immersed in it, including (but not limited to) food, transportation, fashion, and finances. As you’re probably aware, the United States is quite different from other countries in all of those aspects. To adjust a little quicker upon arrival, familiarize yourself with a few key pieces of information about American culture before leaving your home country.

Social Settings

Completely uprooting yourself from your friends and family will no doubt be difficult, but the friends you will make during your time abroad will last a lifetime. To make this process a little easier, brush up on your conversational English skills. Jumping out of your comfort zone and into a conversation is much less intimidating when you speak the language semi-fluently. Try first making friends with some of the other international students, then enlarging your circle of friends together.

Driving

The importance of driving a vehicle varies by country, and it is extremely important in the United States. Having the knowledge and ability to move freely on their own schedule is a facet of the American culture. Though the driving system in your home country will likely differ from that in the U.S., at least knowing how to operate and maintain a vehicle will be extremely useful during your time abroad. You never know what sort of situation you will be in — it’s best to be prepared for anything.

Cooking

Though there are a ton of dining options in any given area of the U.S., knowing how to cook a couple staple dishes from your home country is not a bad idea. Not only will it silence a bit of the homesickness you may experience, but it’ll also help in your venture to make new friends. Suggest a potluck in which everyone brings a dish from their home country!

Hopefully these tidbits of knowledge will help your transition to into American culture much smoother. Aside from the above factors, keep in mind that the medical system is also quite different and oftentimes confusing for citizens and visitors alike. Because you never know what you’ll encounter on your time away from home, being prepared by having travel medical insurance is your best bet for a flawless study period. For more information on travel insurance plans, get in touch with Insurance Services of America by calling (800) 647-4589.

Traveling to the States from Canada: What Canadian Citizens Should Do Before They Leave Thumbnail

Traveling to the States from Canada: What Canadian Citizens Should Do Before They Leave

While they may be a part of the same continent and share a border, Canada and the United States are completely different countries with unique entry requirements. It can be tricky to know all of the things that Canadian citizens need to do before entering the USA, which is why it is important to be aware of the following tips that can help make your time in America as efficient and stress free as possible. Here are some valuable things to keep in mind when heading south from Canada into the U.S.

Have your documents ready

If traveling to the United States by air, you will be required to show officials your Canadian passport or Air NEXUS card upon leaving the country. If entering the U.S. by land or sea, prepare to show your Canadian passport, NEXUS card, enhanced driver’s license or ID card, FAST/EXPRES or SENTRI card. These documents prove that you are legally allowed to enter the United States and will dictate how long you can stay in America, typically for up to six months.

Look into where you are visiting

Before embarking on your trip, look into the area where you will be visiting. With so many bad neighborhoods in most U.S. cities, it is important to be aware of your surroundings at all times. Since America has a much higher crime rate compared to Canada, it is wise to keep all doors locked and to ensure that the area where you are staying is located in a good neighborhood.

Secure health insurance

Nothing is worse than having a medical emergency while traveling overseas without health insurance. For any trip out of the country, it is imperative that you purchase health insurance to ensure that you are protected from any medical emergency away from home. Take the time to find the appropriate coverage for your needs to stay safe while spending time in a foreign country.

By keeping these helpful tips in mind, you can travel safely to the United States from Canada. For more information on overseas health insurance, contact Insurance Services of America today at (800) 647-4589.

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Things to Remember Before Traveling to the US

For many people visiting America for the first time, it can be difficult to learn all of the customs and traditions of U.S. life prior to your arrival. With so many different races, genders and personality types, it’s important to know a few vital pieces of information that could help you feel more comfortable in a foreign land. Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind when spending time in the United States, ensuring that you have a great stay and don’t offend anyone.

Expect to pay a little more

Two terms that begin with the letter “T” should be expected during nearly every monetary transaction you make in America. Don’t be caught off guard if you see tax or tip included in your bill, these are common additions that should be expected on every receipt or transaction you make.

TSA is no joke

While it isn’t smart to joke around at any airport, the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) does not tolerate any kind of funny business or game playing. Try to keep the bomb jokes to yourself, or if you have to tell somebody, wait until you have landed and are away from security to share your thoughts.

Be prepared for stares

Americans are typically very friendly, but many have never left the states and could have problems understanding your foreign accent. Try to be patient and enunciate everything, or do what many visitors do when they enter the United States: adopt an American accent.

Use your phone sparingly

When spending time in another country, a good tip for saving money on unnecessary expenses is to cut back on how frequently you use your phone. While free WiFi may be available at some locations, don’t rely on this for everything. Anticipate spending money on roaming fees anytime you make a call, so ease up on the browsing until you find a spot to do so safely and free of charge.

These travel tips will help you make the most of your next trip to the United States. For more information on international travel insurance, contact Insurance Services of America today at (800) 647-4589.

Why You Should Consider Holiday Travel Insurance for Your Cruise Thumbnail

Why You Should Consider Holiday Travel Insurance for Your Cruise

If you are taking a cruise anytime in the near future, you should consider making holiday travel insurance a part of your travel plans. Travel insurance can protect you from many of the unexpected events that can occur during your trip, and give you the peace of mind to relax during your vacation. Here are just a few reasons you should consider securing travel insurance before your next cruise.

Trip interruption

If an unexpected event such as bad weather or mechanical issues brings your cruise to an abrupt end, you may find yourself disembarking at the next port of call. While the cruise line may assist passengers during events such as this, travel insurance will reimburse you for out of pocket expenses that the cruise line doesn’t cover. You’ll avoid the hassle of being stuck waiting around for a cruise line to book hotels and flights home for thousands of passengers in the same position as you.

Trip cancellation

When unexpected events force you to cancel your vacation, the cruise line may not refund the cost of your trip depending on how close it is. Even if you are refunded some amount, there are typically cancellation penalties associated with doing so. Holiday travel insurance can cover you in cases such as this, ensuring that you receive near full reimbursement.

Trip delay/missed connection

There are many reasons a flight can get delayed, from harsh weather, to mechanical issues, to everything in between. You shouldn’t be penalized for delayed flights or missed connections that are out of your control. If you miss boarding you cruise liner because of travel delays, travel insurance will cover the expenses associated with either rescheduling or refunding your trip.

Medical expenses/emergency evacuation

It’s always a good idea to have some form of medical coverage when traveling outside of the country. Whether you wind up with something as simple as the flu or as serious as a broken bone, you don’t want to be saddled with the out of pockets costs associated with emergency medical treatments. With more serious health threats, such as heart attack or stroke, the ships sick bay may not be able to treat you. If the next port of call is too far away, a medevac may be the only means of preventing loss of life.

At Insurance Services of America, we put over 40 years of experience to good use by making holiday travel insurance easy to obtain. Call (800) 647-4589 or 01 (480) 821-9052 today to learn more.