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3 Best Scuba Dive Insurance Options

Table of Contents

When you’re heading off on your next diving trip there’s something you don’t want to leave home without.

We’re not talking about your mask, your dive computer or even your first aid kit.

We’re talking about dive insurance.

Although it’s not specifically a dive insurance company, we love World Nomads.

As a well-established travel insurance company, they provide fantastic travel insurance policies that include surprisingly extensive (and affordable!) coverage for several sports, including scuba diving.

So it’s great value for money!

But if you’d like to learn a little more about your options, we’ve assembled this guide to help you better understand:

  • Why you need dive insurance 
  • How to choose the best option for you
  • And more!

Do I Need Dive Insurance?

Here’s the deal:

Diving is a very safe sport. According to PADI, there are just under 1,100 scuba-related ER visits per year.

Medical emergencies as a result of diving are extremely rare. But when they do happen, they get very expensive, very fast. We all like to think that it’ll never happen to us.

But what if it does?

If you’re not insured, you’ll have to pay upfront for any treatment you need, which for most of us would be a big problem.

Emergency evacuations and recompression therapy can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

We’re not just talking about the big accidents.

Even small accidents can add up quickly. Hospital bills, extended accommodation, and rebooked flights home can lead to a very big credit card bill.

With serious diving emergencies, fast and effective treatment can mean the difference between a temporary and permanent disability.

Or even life and death.

But to answer the question:

There are some diving charters and liveaboard operations that require diving insurance, but these aren’t super common.

So to answer the question, no, you do not need diving insurance.

That being said, let’s jump into our favorite diving insurance options.

WorldNomads

World Nomads is a general travel insurance company that also provides fantastic coverage for ‘riskier’ activities such as scuba diving.

They offer a variety of different plans depending on what you plan to do. It’s a great option for travelers looking to do some diving during their trip.

World Nomads general travel insurance with extended coverage plus gear protection provides great coverage for all scuba diving emergencies and equipment mishaps.

As with any insurance policy, there are specific requirements that must be met for the coverage to apply and depend on the plan you choose.

So double-check that you have added the extended coverage option and that you meet the requirements for your scuba diving activities to be covered.

Let’s dive into the coverage of their two plans, the Standard Plan and the Explorer Plan.

Standard Plan

  • Medical Expense Coverage: $100,000
  • Dental Expense Coverage: $750
  • Emergency Evacuation: $300,000
  • Repatriation of Remains: $300,000
  • Non-Medical Emergency Transportation: $25,000
  • Trip Cancellation: $2,500
  • Trap Interruption: $2,500
  • Trip Delay: $500
  • Lost Baggage: $1,000
  • Baggage Delay: $750
  • Accidental Death or Dismemberment: $5,000

Explorer Plan

  • Medical Expense Coverage: $100,000
  • Dental Expense Coverage: $750
  • Emergency Evacuation: $500,000
  • Repatriation of Remains: $300,000
  • Non-Medical Emergency Transportation: $25,000
  • Trip Cancellation: $10,000
  • Trap Interruption: $10,000
  • Trip Delay: $3000
  • Lost Baggage: $3,000
  • Baggage Delay: $750
  • Accidental Death or Dismemberment: $5,000

Now that you have a better idea of how the two plans stand side by side, here’s some main takeaways.

The Explorer Plan offers much higher coverage for emergency evacuation and repatriation of remains. For any trip-related issues that can come up like trip cancellation, interruption, and issues with delays and interruption, you’ll find some extra coverage there as well.

The major difference between these two plans are the type of scuba diving activities covered. If you’re planning on doing any sort of cave/cavern diving, instructor diving, or commercial diving, you’ll need the explorer plan for the policy to be valid.

 

Most other activities will fall just fine under the Standard plan. 50 Meters is more then enough depth for all recreational divers.

Scuba Coverage

What we love

  • Straightforward signup
  • Great pricing
  • Very well known

Downsides

  • Claim process can be a little slow
  • Does not support Europe at the moment
  • No dive specific medical hotline
  • Permanent residence needed for US customers

Dive Assure are experts in diving-related emergencies and hyperbaric medical procedures offering extensive dive and travel insurance worldwide. Their tiered packages provide options for every diver, with no gas or depth limits on any packages.

Higher tiered packages give you higher financial limits on emergency travel expenses, lost dive gear, etc.

Dive Assure provides direct payment to your treatment facility as well as 24/7 access to dive physicians via their emergency hotline.

Let’s take a closer look at both their plans side by side.

Standard Plan

  • Medical Expense: $150,000
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation: $150,000
  • Accidental Death & Disability: $10,000
  • Loss of Diving Equipment: $2,000
  • Repatriation of Remains: $5,000
  • Flight & Accommodation Extra Expense: $3,000

Explorer Plan

  • Medical Expense: $250,000
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation: $250,000
  • Accidental Death & Disability: $25,000
  • Loss of Diving Equipment: $4,000
  • Repatriation of Remains: $10,000
  • Flight & Accommodation Extra Expense: $5,000

The main things to point out between the two plans are the massively increased limits on medical expenses, evacuation, and accidental death. Other categories have some increased limits as well, but the importance of these categories is not as high.

What we love

  • Specific to Divers
  • Very fair pricing, great coverage

Downsides

  • Not the most well established
  • The website can act a bit silly

With over 30 years of experience in diving accidents, DAN is probably the most famous provider of dive insurance.

They also offer a wealth of diving medical resources and educational opportunities. Endorsed by PADI, Divers Alert Network is a popular choice amongst both recreational and professional divers.

DAN offers 3 different tiered plans with a range of add-ons available including; equipment cover, public liability, and general travel insurance.

There are no mileage restrictions on any plans and the upper-tiers offer unlimited medical and hyperbaric expenses.

A 24/7 emergency hotline with trained dive physicians is available to all DAN members.

DAN Regular Plan

  • Medical Expense: $150,000
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation: $150,000
  • Repatriation of Remains: $150,000
  • Repatriation For Additional Care: $150,000
  • Visit of Family Member: $1,000
  • Return of Dependent Children: $150,000
  • Return of Traveling Companion: $150,000
  • Return of Vehicle: $1000

DAN Enhanced Plan

  • Medical Expense: $500,000
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation: $500,000
  • Repatriation of Remains: $500,000
  • Repatriation For Additional Care: $500,000
  • Search and Rescue: $50,000
  • Visit of Family Member: $5,000
  • Return of Dependent Children: $500,000
  • Return of Traveling Companion: $500,000
  • Return of Vehicle: $1000

What we love

  • The yearly Plan starts at just $40
  • Most established and well-known provider

Downsides

  • Only supports USA & Canada

Dive Insurance Buying Guide

Picking a dive insurance policy is not the most exciting part of planning your dive trip.

Or the simplest.

There’s a lot of jargon and fine print to wade your way through.

But, because we care about you, we’ve put together a guide to help you pick your dive insurance.

Let’s look at the criteria you need to consider when comparing dive insurance policies.

Is My Country Covered?

One of the most important things to check for when picking a dive insurance policy is whether the country you live in, and the country you are potentially living in are covered by the provider. 

For example, WorldNomads, an option on our list of dive insurance providers, is not currently providing coverage to European countries. DAN only provides insurance to the USA and Canada.

So it doesn’t really matter how great their coverage is or what activities are supported if you can’t even use them!

Read the Fine Print

Next up, you’ll want to look at the exclusions and the fine print.

There are a lot of variations between what is and what isn’t covered, and to what extent.

For example, this user on ScubaBoard told a story where a liveaboard was canceled due to a category 5 hurricane but was not covered by the dive insurance provider.

If there is a specific scenario you’re insuring against, specifically look for this in the policy details.

You’ll also want to make sure that the coverage is high enough for the more expensive outcomes like emergency evacuations and recompression chambers.

Diving insurance is best for preventing medical bankruptcy, not for a missed flight or a broken camera.

These can be the most expensive part of a diving accident. Make sure these are unlimited or very large sums (think several hundred thousand dollars).

Check that your dive insurance covers any extra accommodation or travel you may need due to your accident.

It’s not unusual for an injured diver to need to spend a week or more recovering abroad before being fit to travel home.

Does the Policy Have Depth, Type, or Gas Limits?

Double-check that the specific type of diving you plan to do is covered.

Many basic dive insurance policies will only cover you when diving on air up to a depth of 30m. 

But what if you’re planning to dive with nitrox?

Or explore deeper than 30m?

Or go wreck or cave diving?

Remember your insurance will only cover you for diving activities that you’re trained in, and that the policy explicitly says it covers. 

If you exceed your certification limits or fail to follow safety standards, you may find that your policy will not cover you in an
emergency.

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Are There Any Travel Time Restrictions?

It’s quite common for an insurance policy to cover you for a year, but only for trips of 90 days or less.

So, if you’re heading off on a world round trip you may find yourself out of cover.

Some have other restrictions on the number of diving days covered. If you’re only planning a one-off dive trip, you can also get short term coverage.

Does my Course Cover Me?

Some dive centers bake the cost of diving insurance into the cost of your course or fun dives. Or others have it as an add-on. Talk with your dive shop and see if you’re covered, but it’s not super common. 

What Extras Do You Want To Be Included With Your Dive Insurance?

Travel Insurance

Most dive insurance companies will offer the option to add travel insurance to your package. This means you’ll be covered for any other non-diving emergencies that can occur during your trip.

Trip Disruptions

Some insurance providers will cover you in the event your trip is disrupted in any way. This can be anything from a flight cancellation, weather emergency, or major health event. This perk is nice to have, but not a guarantee. 

Dive Equipment

Having all of your expensive gear covered is a great bonus for a diving insurance plan, although it’s not too common.

WorldNomads and DiveAssure have some protection against this, but the maximums are only $1,000~$4,000.

If they’re lost while traveling, damaged, or stolen, you’ll want them to be properly insured. Very extensive insurance policies will even cover a flooded underwater camera!

Is Normal Travel Insurance Enough?

Scuba diving is not always covered by general travel insurance.

Even if it is, the coverage is generally basic and not adequate enough to fully cover you in a diving emergency.

Medical emergencies in diving need specialized care and should be treated by experts in the field.

Dive insurance companies provide 24/7 support from qualified dive physicians. The majority of travel or health insurance companies are often not able to offer the same expertise or special considerations that diving emergencies require.

That being said, there are a handful of travel insurance companies, such as World Nomads, that are able to offer a good level of coverage and support for recreational scuba diving. It’s also important to note that there are specific requirements for the coverage to apply and very much depend on the plan you choose.

Keep reading for more details on requirements and what to look for when choosing a plan.

Dive insurance is a must-have for anyone jetting off to explore their next dive destination. With good dive insurance, you can fully enjoy every dive, knowing you’re covered for the worst-case scenario.

Don’t get in the water without it.

Now you’re convinced that dive insurance is a good idea; let’s help you pick the right policy.

Still Confused About Which Dive Insurance To Buy?

Dive insurance is as vital as your maskcomputer, and air. So, it’s worth taking a little bit of time to find the right policy for you.

First, decide:

  • What level of cover do you want?
  • And how often do you plan to travel and dive?

Then remember to read all the small details:

  • Are there any limitations on the coverage?
  • Are you happy with those limitations?
  • Can you add any extras you want covered?
  • Do they provide 24/7 emergency support?
  • Do they have expertise in diving related emergencies?

If you can answer yes to all of the above then you’re good to go!

While the price is important, it’s much more important that you’re properly covered.

Frequently Asked Questions

Dive insurance protects you against the unpredictable expenses of a potential scuba diving accident.

In general, dive insurance will cover the cost of any medical treatments, hyperbaric therapy, or emergency evacuation you may need.

More comprehensive dive insurance policies can also include cover for your dive gear, lost diving days, and much more.

While there is no exact best dive insurance for everyone, certain people will benefit from providers more than others.

For those who need a quick plan to cover a vacation where diving is just a small aspect of it, WorldNomads works great.

If you’re diving where you live, or frequently traveling for diving, DiveAssure is a great option.

Lastly, DAN is a great idea for dive professionals based in the USA or Canada.

Conclusion

Dive insurance is a small expense that can, in the long run, not only save you from an enormous medical bill but can also save your life.

Whether you decide to buy dive insurance or not is completely up to you. But you now have the knowledge to find the best dive insurance to suit your needs!

Do you have dive insurance already?

What plan did you go for?

  • Welcome

    My name’s Austin Tuwiner, a PADI Divemaster based in South Florida. With nearly 10 years of diving under my belt, I’ve accumulated the knowledge to help readers become better divers, buy their next piece of gear, and plan their dream dive vacation!

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