5 Myths About Dive Insurance and Diving Accidents

Maybe you’re new to diving, or don’t dive very often. But something in the back of your mind wants to know: do I really need to join Divers Alert Network® (DAN®) and buy dive accident insurance? Is it worth the money if I already have medical insurance?

There are many myths about dive insurance so we gathered the top 5 that will allow you to make an informed decision about the coverage you need.

Myth #1: I’m a Safe, Experienced Diver Who Won’t Get Hurt
Think technical divers and new divers are the most at-risk for an accident? Think again. According to DAN’s Annual Diving Report (2016), a majority of incidents occurred at depths shallower than 35 feet / 10 meters. Additionally, the highest number of fatalities occurred among divers certified for 16-20 years.

5 Myths About Dive Insurance and Diving Accidents

Myth #2: I Don’t Dive Often Enough to Need Dive Insurance
Vacation divers are just as susceptible to accidents as those who dive every weekend. The most recent Annual Diving Report found the majority of incidents (54 percent) occurred at dive site where the diver was visiting for the first time, and 69 percent occurred during the first dive of the day.

Also, certain levels of dive insurance include coverage for other in-water activities such as boating, kayaking, paddle-boarding, surfing, waterskiing and wakeboarding.

Myth #3: My Medical Insurance Covers Diving Accidents
Some insurance companies provide primary coverage for scuba diving, but very few provide comprehensive coverage. Here are six important questions every diver should ask their insurance provider.

Am I covered for local /domestic diving? Some insurance policies only activate if the insured is more than 50 miles away from home or travelling internationally. DAN dive accident insurance covers diving accidents locally and when travelling.

Does my coverage include emergency transportation? An air ambulance can be the most expensive part of a diving accident — an average of $20,000 in 2016. Some insurance plans only cover the cost of hyperbaric treatments and not the cost of getting you to the chamber.

Are there depth limits? Ask if you have coverage for dives (planned or accidentally) deeper than 130 feet / 40 meters.

Are tests, medications, and follow-up care covered? Treatment for serious dive accidents can include inpatient rehab and months of physical therapy.

Does my policy cover the cost of unexpected travel expenses? It’s not unusual for an injured diver to spend a week or more abroad while recovering from a diving accident. The additional cost of lodging and re-booking airfare can quickly climb into the thousands.

Is return travel for a companion and/or children included? DAN Membership automatically provides a way home for your traveling companion (and/or children) due to a medical emergency. If a DAN Member is traveling alone with their children, a qualified travel escort will be provided at no charge if necessary. Additionally, if you’re traveling alone and must be hospitalized for more than seven consecutive days, DAN will arrange and pay for economy round-trip airfare for a visitor to travel to the site of hospitalization.


Myth #4 I Don’t Need Secondary Insurance
DAN Dive Accident Insurance is secondary insurance. To put it simply: whatever your primary insurance doesn’t cover, you can make a claim with DAN to pay the rest. As part of the claims process, DAN’s Claim Department does the heavy lifting with your primary insurance company.

While you recover, DAN works directly with your primary insurer to ensure all the bills are considered for reimbursement. This includes chasing down paperwork from that out-of-network hospital in a foreign country.

Myth #5: Buying Insurance is a Waste of Money
DAN membership with a preferred insurance plan is only US$110 / year.* For less than $10 dollars a month you receive US$100,000 in medical evacuation coverage as a DAN membership benefit and vital diving and non-diving medical insurance coverage, in addition to a print subscription to Alert Diver magazine, free medical assistance and dive safety information, and other benefits.

More importantly, you support the organization that supports divers. DAN provides assistance to physicians receiving their first-ever diving injury patient, conducts research programs, promotes diver safety education and runs the DAN Emergency Hotline - available 24/7 for the entire diving community.

*US$35 for DAN membership + US$75 for insurance. Residents of Canada pay an extra US$5. Family members living in the same household can purchase a family membership for US$55, see website for details.

We hope this article helps you make an informed decision about obtaining dive accident insurance. If you have any questions, please contact us. To learn more about DAN Membership or DAN Dive Accident Insurance, please visit our website.


Statistics in this article are from DAN’s Annual Diving Report (2016) unless otherwise noted. Data collected in this report were provided by hyperbaric physicians, DAN on-call staff, chamber nurses and technicians, local sheriff, police, emergency medical personnel, US Coast Guard, medical examiners, coroners and members of the public who submitted incident data.