Diving insurance in 2023. A complete guide.
Scuba diving is a relatively safe sport these days, especially when practiced within the limits of your training and experience. Still, diving can be hazardous, and accidents can happen.
Having the right diving insurance is essential. Not only for your peace of mind, but it can ensure you're covered for the risks associated with your specific diving needs.
Overall, scuba diving insurance covers unforeseen accidents that aren't covered under health or travel insurance policies.
As a rule of thumb, the deeper you dive, the higher the chance that other insurance packages won't cover you.
Diving comes with its own set of risks. Specialized insurance for scuba diving is worth buying separately.
In this guide, we will cover all there is to know about choosing the right diving insurance for your driving trip.
Table of contents
- Scuba diving travel insurance
- Why won't most travel insurance policies cover diving?
- Do you need diving insurance?
- What are scuba diving insurance benefits?
- What type of diving insurance should I buy?
- Professional diving insurance
- Other types of insurance packages for scuba diving
- What is the best diving insurance?
- Diving insurance cost
Scuba diving travel insurance
Medical expenses resulting from scuba diving accidents are covered by scuba travel insurance.
The odds of a scuba diving accident are relatively low, but the costs are high.
For example, it can easily cost you thousands of dollars to get treated for decompression sickness (in a recompression chamber).
In addition to medical expenses, scuba diving travel insurance may also cover the following costs.
- Damaged or lost and stolen equipment
- Travel expenses following a diving accident
- The travel costs from the dive site to the hospital
- Permanent disability, such as the loss of limbs or eyesight
- Repatriation of remains
The details of coverage will vary among insurers and your needs. It's best to check all of the scuba diving insurance details and coverage limits before purchasing.
If your insurance is insufficient, you can ask to upgrade it and add on any necessary extra coverage.
Why won't most travel insurance policies cover diving?
Scuba diving is excluded from many travel medical insurance policies as it's deemed an "extreme" or "hazardous" sport.
However, you will find that some travel insurance policies will offer what's known as a sports rider. This addition allows you to pay extra for coverage of specific activities, such as diving.
If you're a regular diver, it might be worthwhile to compare riders on travel insurance policies against standalone scuba insurance policies. You have to weigh up the benefits of each.
Do you need diving insurance?
In short, diving insurance is required for your safety and financial protection. In addition to that, here are some of the key reasons to purchase diving insurance:
- In the event that you lose your scuba gear at any time during a dive trip.
- In case of any accidents while diving and needing medical treatment. This includes bites, stings, boat collisions, and decompression sickness (DCS, or "the bends").
- In the event that an accident takes place on a boat or in a resort. This includes slips, trips, falling equipment on the body, etc.
- Specialized cases such as camera gear flooding due to a fault or otherwise. Insurers that understand these issues will provide unexplained flood coverage.
If you have expensive diving equipment, consider getting a specialized scuba diving equipment insurance policy.
It's a good idea to have a policy that will cover each diving item specifically to get its replacement cost.
What are scuba diving insurance benefits?
When considering the benefits of having insurance for scuba diving, we can answer that by looking deeper at the unique ways it can cover you.
One of the most common and notoriously painful scuba diving injuries is a costly one: decompression sickness (DCS, for short) or "the bends" as it's more commonly known.
The bends causes excess nitrogen in a diver's body tissues to begin to expand and attempt to escape the body via the tissue.
The incidence of decompression sickness is estimated at only 3 cases per 10,000 dives. It's unlikely recreational divers following guidelines for no-decompression diving get bent.
Nevertheless, an "undeserved hit" can happen. That is, getting bent even when following all of the guidelines is possible, even though it is unlikely.
With that said, scuba diving limits are based on statistics and theoretical models. There is always a risk, even when diving rules are followed.
There are numerous other risks too, which define the benefits of having diving insurance. Other moderate to severe scuba diving risks are:
- Pulmonary barotrauma
- Arterial gas embolism
- Ear and sinus barotrauma
Even if the risk is low, the right insurance will protect you in the event of an unfortunate accident.
What type of diving insurance should I buy?
The answer to this question is largely dependent on what type of diving you're doing.
Also involved in the answer is whether you're bringing your own scuba diving equipment and other equipment, such as a camera.
There are additional policies you can get to cover all of your diving needs.
Underwater Camera Flooding Insurance
If you have an underwater camera or any video equipment, you'll know how expensive buying and maintaining them can be.
Underwater camera coverage is important to mitigate covering the replacement costs in the event of a loss, theft, or damage.
Scuba Diving Equipment Insurance
It's no secret that diving gear is expensive. A full set of scuba diving gear with a dive computer can cost thousands of dollars. This is why equipment insurance is essential.
Equipment coverage provides peace of mind if your scuba gear goes missing in transit, gets stolen, or gets damaged while diving.
Technical Diving Insurance
Generally, recreational scuba diving insurance will not cover you if you're a technical diver. As a general rule, that means if you're going below 40 meters in depth.
Using gases like Trimix and special training gear also fall into this category. The riskier your dive, the more crucial it is to have technical diving insurance.
Pro Diver Insurance
This insurance type is essential if you are a professional diver. We will examine this insurance type in-depth.
See the following section below to find out more about pro diving insurance.
Professional diving insurance
If you are a professional diver (that is, working as a dive guide or an instructor with a registered dive operator), it is mandatory to get dive insurance.
The extent of this type of insurance coverage usually differs but comes with a higher premium payment.
DAN (Divers Alert Network) has several scuba diving insurance policies specifically made for professional divers, especially in terms of coverage for liability.
Both Divemaster Insurance and Divers Alert Network provide international coverage.
Other types of insurance packages for scuba diving
When looking for diving insurance, you will find various packages suited to your needs.
Various packages are being offered by insurance companies that specialize in scuba diving.
This insurance policy offers financial protection in the event you are in a dive-related medical emergency.
Further, comprehensive coverage for diving will also cover the replacement of lost or damaged diving equipment.
Dive-related medical accident coverage
This coverage will pay for any necessary medical services in the event of an accident and supplies.
It can cover surgical operations, treatment at a hyperbaric chamber, ambulatory service charges (air and ground), and physician's charges.
Extra coverage for transportation and accommodation
This coverage protects you if you are outside your home country on a dive vacation.
If you're being treated for a medical emergency, you may need to rebook your flight back home or extend your stay at your destination.
This insurance coverage will pay for transportation for your trip back home or extended accommodation.
Permanent and total disability
If you suffer a serious accident and are permanently disabled by a diving accident, your insurance company will compensate you.
Accidental death and dismemberment
If you lose your life from a diving accident, your finances will be covered and granted to your chosen beneficiary
What is the best diving insurance?
Here we will examine three of the most renowned diving insurance companies; Divers Alert Network (DAN), Dive Assure, and World Nomads.
If you are a casual diver or going on a few trips per year, **World Nomads **provides a comprehensive policy suited for you. This covers both scuba diving and general travel insurance.
With this option, you can buy policies that cover you for as long as you require. This is available to nationals of most countries in the world.
You can also find global comprehensive diving insurance policies at Divemaster Insurance, DAN (Divers Alert Network), and DiveAssure.
Divers Alert Network (DAN) offers policies tailored specifically to divers at a reasonable price.
DAN's insurance does not have gas or depth limitations, so diving with DAN is covered at all depths.
DAN offers three policy tiers: Master, Preferred, and Guardian. Each higher-tier policy offers an increased coverage limit as well as increased benefits.
Some components of coverage by DAN are subject to a $250 deductible.
Master - offers some coverage for non-dive related accidents when traveling internationally.
Preferred - as above.
Guardian - the only policy that covers search and rescue for diving accidents.
- Annual membership fee of $40 for an individual.
- $60 for a family.
- $100 for pro divers.
- No gas or depth limitations.
- Higher coverage limits with each tier.
- Master starts at $44 per year.
- Preferred starts at $79 per year.
- Guardian starts at $119 per year.
As its name suggests, Dive Assure exists as a dive insurance company foremost, but it also offers travel insurance.
Dive Assure also does not have depth or gas usage limits, making it attractive for both beginners and pro divers.
Another attractive feature of some Dive Assure policies is compensation for missed diving days due to weather events or health issues.
Dive Assure deductibles vary, starting at $75 for accident and acute illness and ranging to 20% of the cost of the liveaboard.
Gold Scuba - Annual and short-term coverage for recreational and pro divers.
Platinum Scuba - Annual coverage only, best for professional divers.
- No gas or depth limitations.
- Gold policy starts at $99 per year.
- Platinum starts at $129 per year.
This company's packages are well suited for those searching for travel insurance with dive coverage as an additional.
World Nomads offers travel insurance that includes over 200 activity coverages, including scuba diving.
Explorer also offers higher coverage limits across all categories. The longest period of coverage is 180 days.
This is a comparatively expensive option because dive insurance from World Nomads is built into travel insurance packages. These policies are not subject to a deductible.
Standard - suited for most recreational divers
Explorer - best for commercial and professional divers.
- Explorer policy has higher coverage limits.
- Standard starts at approx. $103 per month.
- Explorer starts at $183.
Diving insurance cost
There is no one-size-fits-all answer about the cost of diving insurance. Across the board, the deeper you dive, the riskier your dive is, and as a result, the more costly to insure you.
Each insurer will cover different limits of depth when it comes to diving, and getting coverage for the correct depth is critical.
As a general rule, prices vary depending on:
- Personal details and age
- Your home country
- Any underlying medical conditions
- Diving depth and experience level
- Your travel destinations.
Diving insurance quotes
Whether you're buying annual diving insurance or you need insurance for one scuba diving trip, you can find affordable coverage when comparing quotes.
You can compare policy limits, coverage options, and the excess you'll need to pay to make a claim.
Once you find the right insurance, it's time to finalize your purchase.