Although its not required of travelers, health insurance is highly recommended. Unlike many European countries, the United States does not usually offer free or low-cost medical care to its citizens or visitors. Doctors and hospitals are expensive, and in most cases will require advance payment or proof of coverage before they render their services. Travel insurance policies can cover everything from the loss or theft of your baggage and trip cancellation to the guarantee of bail in case youre arrested. Good policies will also cover the costs of an accident, repatriation, or death. Packages such as Europ Assistance in Europe are sold by automobile clubs and travel agencies at attractive rates. Worldwide Assistance Services, Inc. (tel. 800/777-8710, ext. 409, or 703/204-1897; is the agent for Europe Assistance in the United States.
For British Travelers--Most big travel agents offer their own insurance and will probably try to sell you their package when you book a holiday. Think before you sign. Britains Consumers Association recommends that you insist on seeing the policy and reading the fine print before buying travel insurance. The Association of British Insurers (tel. 0171/600-3333) gives advice by phone and publishes the free Holiday Insurance, a guide to policy provisions and prices. You might also shop around for better deals: Try Columbus Direct (tel. 0171/375-0011;
For Canadian Travelers--Canadians should check with their provincial health plan offices or call HealthCanada (tel. 613/957-2991) to find out the extent of their coverage and what documentation and receipts they must take home in case they are treated in the United States.