After you have planned to go on a (scuba diving) holiday, the next step is to check whether you have a valid scuba diving insurance which is suitable with your diving profile. Most scuba divers know about the reasons why you should have a scuba diving insurance, but if you just got your first scuba diving certificate, it is good to know why it is important to have a scuba diving insurance. If you are already familiar with a scuba diving insurance, it is highly recommended to check whether your scuba diving insurance is still valid,and if so, whether your scuba diving insurance covers your needs.
In this article, we have outlined the reasons why you should have a scuba diving insurance, including a comparison of the different insurance providers.
We, as passionate scuba divers, prefer to have a scuba diving insurance from a specialized scuba diving insurance company like DAN or Dive Assure. In case you are considering to take out a scuba diving insurance, we highly recommend to check the prices, terms and conditions. Note that your situation/needs can differ from this blog post, and therefore, additional research is necessary.
In summary,we recommend to have a scuba diving insurance from DAN as this insurance policy comes closest to our needs. There are different policies available,but it is recommend to have at least the Silver package (the sport Bronze and Gold are also available). This covers the most important items with good coverage fora reasonable price (from USD 90). The silver coverage from DAN includes:
The scuba diving insurance from DiveAssure also covers the most important items. The price for this scuba diving insurance is comparable with the price of DAN (USD 80). The gold package includes the following items:
The scuba diving insurance from World Nomads also covers a few of the most important items, but in our opinion this scuba diving insurance does not cover the needs regarding a scuba diving accident. See below the most important items included in the scuba diving insurance of World Nomads (standard plan):
Besides the scuba diving insurance from World Nomads, you can also consider a travel insurance (which includes scuba diving) with a local insurance company, for example the ANWB in the Netherlands.
There are also scuba diving insurances available for professionals, for example with DiveAssure. and DAN provides ‘’pro’’ insurances which have a wider coverage compared with the recreational/silver policies. These insurances are not recommended for recreational divers, but for divers who are working in the diving industry.
In addition, DAN also provides insurances for teaching. Students of the scuba diving instructor will be covered by this insurance policy.
Comparable with other insurance such as a travel insurance, a scuba diving insurance covers unforeseen losses incurred while scuba diving. A scuba diving insurance usually includes coverage for medical expenses/treatments, assistance from an emergency call center and emergency evacuations related to scuba diving accidents.
Although scuba diving is considered a safe sport, scuba diving accidents can happen. According to the latest information available from Divers Alert Network(‘’DAN’’), one of the largest associations dedicated to scuba diving safety, a total of 228 fatalities were reported during 2017. Some of these fatalities were related to the age of the scuba diver, but for the most part the fatalities were related to panic, decompression sickness (DCS), loss of consciousness and out of gas at depth. While this sounds serious, most scuba diving accidents can be avoided.
If something happen during your scuba dive, it is necessary to take immediate action. For example, if you ascend to fast, it could be possible that dissolved gases will form bubbles into your body (i.e. the decompression sickness). In case it is determined that you have the DCS, it is necessary to go as fast as you can to a hyperbaric chamber (also called a recompression chamber or a decompression chamber). If the hyperbaric chamber is not nearby and you have to fly, remember that you cannot take the (commercial) airplane (due to the bubbles in your body, you cannot go to a high altitude). This means that, besides the medical treatment in the hospital, extra costs will be incurred for emergency evacuation.Below, we have described an example of the costs related to a scuba diving accident:
In summary, the costs for the emergency evacuation, medical treatment and other costs such as accommodation and rebooked flights can increase significantly. In case you have a valid scuba diving insurance, those costs will be covered by the insurance company.
A scuba diving insurance is highly recommended if you are diving, even when you planned to make just one dive a year during a holiday. Of course the risk that something will happen when you are dive more often is higher, but the costs related to the same dive accident are comparable. A dive accident can happen during every dive, so make sure that you are covered by a scuba diving insurance!
What should be covered by a scuba diving insurance really depends on your needs and your risk considerations. Below, we have outlined the most important elements of the scuba diving insurance and focus areas.
The most important part of the scuba diving insurance is the coverage for the emergency evacuation and covering of medical expenses. As outlined above, a evacuation and treatment in a hyperbaric chamber can costs you a lot of money.
We recommend to compare the coverage for the emergency evacuation and medical expenses between the scuba diving insurance companies as there are a few differences. In some insurance policies, the amount covered is capped (e.g. up to and including USD 150,000) while others will reimburse all costs involved.
The duration of the scuba diving insurance can vary from a few months (e.g. 90 days) to one year. If you are diving throughout the year and have planned to make a lot of dives, we recommend to take a one year duration of the insurance.
A short duration of the scuba diving insurance would be sufficient if you only going to dive, for example, during a liveaboard once a year. However, we noticed that the full year insurance is not always a more expensive option. In this respect,we still recommend to take the full year duration of the scuba diving insurance.
You can imagine that, if you have to stay longer at your holiday destination for medical treatment, you have to book additional accommodation and rescheduling of your flight(s). In general, there will be costs involved in booking additional accommodation and new flights. Sometimes, airlines can arrange another flight for free or a small fee (e.g. with flex tickets), but in general, you have to pay the full price for a new flight.
A scuba diving insurance can also cover these additional costs. We recommend to check whether flights and/or accommodation is already covered by your travel insurance (if applicable), and if not, if you would like to cover this in your scuba diving insurance.
There are differences between the scuba diving insurance with respect to the maximum depth of diving. For example, with the Sport Bronze scuba diving insurance from DAN, the maximum depth is 40 meters and with the Sport Silver and Gold insurance, the maximum depth is unlimited (but permission is required if you go deeper than 130 meters). DiveAssure has no depth limited but reference is made to the diver’s certificate (this means that a PADI Open Water diver can dive to a maximum of 18 meters). Please note that if you dive below the maximum depth of the scuba diving insurance, you will probably not be covered.
It could happen that your scuba diving gear will be damaged or lost during the accident. For example, your mask, weight belt, diving computer, and fins (and maybe your BCD) can easily be lost if your rescuer drops all equipment in the deep blue. In addition, the scuba gear of your rescuer can also be damaged or lost.
You can cover these costs by the scuba diving insurance, but this is not a standard option. For this item, we recommend to check whether you have expensive scuba diving gear and if so, if you would like cover any damage/loss of your gear during an accident by the insurance.
We hope that this will not happen to anyone, but in case a diver dies or will be permanently disabled, you can receive a compensation depending on your insurance. The compensation can vary from 0 up to and including USD 100,000, depending on the insurance policy. Note that this can also be covered by other insurances, for example life or health insurances.
If your diving profile exceeds the limits of recreational diving, for example, with depth or diving with mixed gasses, it is recommended to check whether technical diving is covered by the scuba diving insurance. Even when a diving accident happens within the recreational diving limits (for example on 20 meters depth),but you are considered a technical diver, it could be possible that you are not covered by the diving insurance.
Repatriation of remains to your home country can be expensive as there are special procedures to transport remains. The first priority for your relatives should be repatriation of remains, no matter the costs involved. Some insurance policy, like DAN, covers all costs involved while DiveAssure only covers USD 5,000 or USD 10,000 depending on the policy.
Imagine that you have to pay upfront USD 20,000, related to an emergency evacuation, treatment in the hyperbaric chamber, medical treatments, flights and accommodation. Some insurance providers, such as DiveAssure, make direct payments to emergency and medical providers. In this case, it is not necessary to make any out-of-pocket expenses.
In principle, there are two main scuba diving insurance providers:
These insurance companies are specialized in providing scuba diving insurances. DAN is founded in 1980 and is considered the world biggest scuba diving insurance company. DiveAssure is founded in 1999.
Besides these two major scuba diving insurance providers, there are of course more insurance companies which provides scuba diving insurance, for example World Nomads. World Nomads aims to protect, connect and inspire independent travelers. It offers free destination guides, but also travel insurances and insurances covering activities (including scuba diving).
In addition, local (travel) insurance companies also provide scuba diving insurances. As there are many local travel insurances available,we recommend to check the policy with regard to scuba diving. As a guide, you can use our list of items which should be covered in the scuba diving insurance.