Last updated August 26, 2021

When it comes to wildlife, there are few better places to visit than Alaska. Whether you want to visit Denali National Park for a chance to spot grizzly bears and caribou, or explore an icy glacier, a visit to the largest state in the U.S. won’t leave you disappointed. But, if you’re planning a trip to Alaska, you want to make sure you’re adequately prepared for anything. That’s where travel insurance comes in.

Is travel insurance mandatory in Alaska?

Although Alaska is separated from the other contiguous 48 states, it’s still part of America. This means that there aren’t distinctions between travel insurance requirements for the United States and travel insurance requirements for Alaska.

If you’re visiting the United States as a tourist or on a B1/B2 visa, purchasing travel insurance isn’t mandatory. If you’re a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, your domestic healthcare should cover your medical care. Although travel insurance isn’t required, it’s still a good idea. In fact, since visitors to Alaska take advantage of the amazing wilderness and participate in higher-risk outdoor activities, purchasing travel medical insurance is highly recommended.

Although travel medical insurance isn’t necessary for U.S. citizens, Americans should still consider opting for trip insurance, which protects the financial investment of your trip in case your trip is delayed or cancelled.

COVID-19 in Alaska

Compared to the rest of the United States, Alaska has had a relatively low number of Covid cases, and an even fewer number of Covid deaths. Still, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) classifies the U.S. as a whole, and is suggesting that travelers avoid travel to the U.S., or become fully vaccinated before making any travel arrangements. Here are other Covid safety precautions to take before traveling.

Likewise, as a measure to slow the spread of Covid, several U.S. presidential proclamations have issued entry restrictions to travelers from certain countries.

Non-citizens who were physically present in the following countries during the 14-day period preceding their entry attempt will not be allowed into the United States:

Additionally, all air passengers arriving in the United States will be required to show a negative Covid test result taken within 72 hours of boarding the U.S. bound flight regardless of their citizenship or vaccination status.

Health & safety

When traveling through Alaska, medical issues and emergencies are some of the more common safety issues you may encounter. Because Alaska is known for its wilderness adventures, visitors often take part in adventurous activities, such as hiking, glacier trekking, kayaking, and canoeing. Although these activities are fun, they also present greater risk. And if you’re visiting from out of the country, these specific activities are generally excluded from a traditional travel medical insurance policy.

Instead, consider adding adventure sports coverage to your policy. Not only will it ensure that you’re covered if you are injured while taking part in these activities, but also it will provide all the peace of mind you need to enjoy your vacation to the fullest.

Beyond adventurous activities, it’s more common for Americans to carry guns in rural areas. Open carry is legal in Alaska, meaning that individuals over 21 who are allowed to possess a firearm can do so in the open. Don’t be alarmed if you see someone with a gun, since this is legal. If someone seems particularly hot-headed or upset, it’s best to avoid them.

Finally, because you’ll be spending plenty of time outdoors, be sure to pack bug spray and mosquito repellent.

Necessary vaccinations

Make sure you are up-to-date on all routine vaccines before your trip. Here are some of the CDC’s most common vaccination recommendations for the United States.

  • Chickenpox (Varicella)
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis
  • Flu (influenza)
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)
  • Shingles
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Polio
  • Meningitis
  • Rabies
  • COVID-19

For the most up-to-date information on required vaccinations and other health requirements, visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.

Visas & documentation

If you’re traveling to the United States from Canada or Bermuda, you’ll only need your passport to visit (in addition to above Covid requirements).

If you’re traveling from any other country, or you’re planning to work or study while in the U.S., then you’ll need both a visa and your passport. The type of visa you’ll need to obtain depends on where you’re coming from and what your purpose for visiting the U.S. is. For example, there are student-specific visas, visas for spouses, or visas for certain teachers and professors, among many others. Most visas don’t require you to purchase travel insurance. However, it’s still a smart idea for anyone entering the U.S. to purchase travel medical insurance since medical costs are unusually high.