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Coming to the USA - advice on medical insurance, drivers licence and goods transport

Coming to the USA - advice on medical insurance, drivers licence and goods transport

Old May 16th 2011, 9:58 pm
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Default Coming to the USA - advice on medical insurance, drivers licence and goods transport

Hi everyone

Share my joy as i got approved for my B2 visa, so i'm now plotting and planning my invasion.

I'm planning on doing the whole tourist visit for the max 6-months (or until the money runs out ) and could do with advice from those who have already made this sacred pilgrimage to the birth place of Big Macs and the Evil Empire of Disney.

I've got my accommodation all sorted as i'm doing a mix of sleeping on friends sofas and the odd motel stay, so am ironing out the rest of my plans.

Does anyone have any recommendations on who to use for cheap, reliable (not sure the two words go hand in hand, but it's worth asking) international belongings transport? I just need to send a whole load of clothes, my surfing gear, guitar and so on out from the UK to Orlando, Florida ahead of me/behind my arrival - there's definitely too much for my airline luggage allowance - a crate or 2 should cover all my stuff. Any suggestions? Any cautionary tales?

Medical insurance: i was going to opt for an online supermarket travel insurance pack, unless anyone had any better suggestions on ways to cover myself against shark bites and broken legs for 6-months?

Drivers licence: apparantly i can apply via the UK for an international drivers licence that works in tandem with my full UK licence and lets me drive abroad. Has anyone used this facility? Had any problems? I was going to buy some beat down car wreck when I got out there to avoid horrible car hire charges.

Finance-wise i'm going to take a mix of USD, travellers cheques and also a friend is going to open a straightforward ATM bank a/c in his name and i'm going to paypal some of my money into it (cheaper than an international bank transfer) and he'll give me the card when he meets me at the airport - he's a family friend so no worries about his honesty - so i've got access to hole-in-wall funds as and when i need it.

Anything else worth thinking about/factoring in to my plans?

I can't see anything anywhere about needing vaccinations, but would any of you suggest otherwise?

Thanks all

Mark
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Old May 16th 2011, 10:21 pm
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Default Re: Coming to the USA - advice on medical insurance, drivers licence and goods transp

Welcome to BE.

Take a look through this thread about shipping belongings....http://britishexpats.com/forum/showthread.php?t=629133.

You will need to get travel insurance that covers healthcare before you leave the UK...make sure it's for several million $. Make sure you tell them about surfing and any similar activities.

As far as buying a car is concerned I don't know what the Florida regs are...in some states you have to auto insurance before you can buy. Take a look at the Florida DMV website...Google is your friend.

Forget travellers' cheques.

No shots required.

Last edited by Jerseygirl; May 16th 2011 at 10:24 pm.
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Old May 16th 2011, 10:32 pm
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Default Re: Coming to the USA - advice on medical insurance, drivers licence and goods transp

Originally Posted by markymarkUK View Post

Drivers licence: apparantly i can apply via the UK for an international drivers licence that works in tandem with my full UK licence and lets me drive abroad. Has anyone used this facility? Had any problems? I was going to buy some beat down car wreck when I got out there to avoid horrible car hire charges.
All an international license does is translate your existing one -- as yours is in English, there is no need to get one. I would suggest requesting long-term car rental rates from a few companies -- when you factor in what US auto insurance is going to cost you, and the hassles of obtaining it and registering a vehicle when you are only on a visitor's visa and have no fixed abode, you may find that the hire rate becomes a lot more attractive. If you have an AmEx card, that may have a perk that will save you money on the hire car insurance. And when you are totting up your expenses, don't forget that while gas may seem cheap here in comparison to the UK, you are going to use a lot more of it! Have fun on your trip.
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Old May 16th 2011, 10:34 pm
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Default Re: Coming to the USA - advice on medical insurance, drivers licence and goods transp

To confirm, several million dollars of health insurance is not a typo. For 6 months you probably want a policy that will cover prescriptions, Dr visits and illness as well as accidents.
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Old May 17th 2011, 1:07 am
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Default Re: Coming to the USA - advice on medical insurance, drivers licence and goods transp

If you've got the time, ship the stuff, about 10-16 weeks on the slow boat through the post office. You don't get that option on return though.

Travel insurance, just check to see that they will cover 6 month stay, often these long term travel plans are only good for 90 day stretches before a return is required. Also check that surfing and any other activities are covered, they often are not not.

Don't bother with buying a car, you won't save much, cost of registering it, plating it, inspection etc, plus insurance will be horrid...actually do they even do inspections in Florida?

Rent or borrow a car is your best option.

Don't need any vaccinations, but if you're coming up to 10 years since getting your last tetanus jab, it's worth getting it now in case you have an accident as it ain't cheap in the US and travel insurance might not cover it entirely, or be not much help if they will only reimburse you.
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Old May 17th 2011, 1:55 pm
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Default Re: Coming to the USA - advice on medical insurance, drivers licence and goods transp

Originally Posted by Nutmegger View Post
If you have an AmEx card, that may have a perk that will save you money on the hire car insurance.
A few years back, we rented a car in Germany. I checked with AmEx to make sure I had the "CDW" coverage. It turned out that I did NOT. It was an extra charge. That said, it was quite a bid cheaper that the CDW from the rental people. However, we found out that our USBank VISA had that perk.

Also, as a technical matter, one does not buy "insurance." The rental company has liability coverage. The "CDW" is a "collision damage waiver" which is simply a waiver by the company to seek reimbursement from you for physical damage to the car.
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Old May 17th 2011, 2:39 pm
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Default Re: Coming to the USA - advice on medical insurance, drivers licence and goods transp

Originally Posted by S Folinsky View Post
A few years back, we rented a car in Germany. I checked with AmEx to make sure I had the "CDW" coverage. It turned out that I did NOT. It was an extra charge. That said, it was quite a bid cheaper that the CDW from the rental people. However, we found out that our USBank VISA had that perk.

Also, as a technical matter, one does not buy "insurance." The rental company has liability coverage. The "CDW" is a "collision damage waiver" which is simply a waiver by the company to seek reimbursement from you for physical damage to the car.
This has been discussed in several threads over the last year or so...for a fee of approx $25 per car rental...AMEX provide additional auto insurance cover. I don't know if this is only for US AMEX members but quite a few of us on here use it when we rent cars worldwide.
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Old May 17th 2011, 2:52 pm
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Post Re: Coming to the USA - advice on medical insurance, drivers licence and goods transp

Originally Posted by Jerseygirl View Post

...AMEX provide additional auto insurance cover. I don't know if this is only for US AMEX members but quite a few of us on here use it when we rent cars worldwide.
I think it's only for US-issued Amex cards.

I have two Amex cards; one was issued in the US and the other in Singapore (I'm a secondary card-holder on my husband's platinum cards). The US-issued card offers far superior coverage for travel.

However I did take out the extra $25 cover when I rented a car for 3 weeks in England recently - then my spouse wanted to know why as he reckons he gets the same coverage through the platinum card already. I thought that peace of mind was worth it for a mere $25 tbh.
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Old May 17th 2011, 2:56 pm
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Default Re: Coming to the USA - advice on medical insurance, drivers licence and goods transp

Originally Posted by Englishmum View Post
I think it's only for US-issued Amex cards.

I have two Amex cards; one was issued in the US and the other in Singapore (I'm a secondary card-holder on my husband's platinum cards). The US-issued card offers far superior coverage for travel.

However I did take out the extra $25 cover when I rented a car for 3 weeks in England recently - then my spouse wanted to know why as he reckons he gets the same coverage through the platinum card already. I thought that peace of mind was worth it for a mere $25 tbh.
If you don't need the coverage cancel it or each time you rent a car using AMEX you will automatically be charged $25.
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