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Archive for June, 2010

The Importance of Dive Insurance

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

So, you have finally made it. You mastered your Open Water SCUBA skills and finally received your C-card. Congrats! Welcome to the new and exciting world of SCUBA diving! Now, before you begin looking for that world class vacation, there’s one other important thing to consider. You don’t want to forget the purchase of dive insurance. Diving is one of the most exhilarating ways to spend a vacation. As your Open Water textbooks explained, however, there are many inherent risks involved with the sport. Although the risk is generally very low if you follow all the rules for bottom times, ascent rates, safety stops, etc., things can still happen. Even if you follow all the rules to a “T”, no one, even in the best of condition, can be completely guaranteed against the bends or any other accident.

Without an insurance policy which covers such things, it might not be so easy for the average person to go out and purchase another complete set of gear. You might think your items were covered by your home insurance, but this is rarely the case. The safest bet is to purchase a specific policy which caters to the diver’s need. There are many choices when it comes to purchasing dive insurance. Which one you should choose depends on a variety of factors. First, you should check with your own primary insurance company to investigate your coverage in the event of a dive related accident. In particular, inquire as to what coverage is provided for hyperbaric treatment and emergency air evacuation in case of decompression illness. An uninsured ride to the chamber can cost you $10,000-$20,000. The hyperbaric treatments are thousands more than that. Equipment losses are another consideration. After you’re familiar with what you already have, then comb through the benefits provided by the various insurance companies that have policies specifically for divers.

There are many companies which offer this type of insurance. Some of the biggest are Diver’s Alert Network (DAN), Dive Assure, and Dive Safe, to name just a few. Each of these has its own caveats, so you must look through the policies thoroughly. Some are primary insurances, while others are secondary. Some have depth limit or technical diver restrictions. Some cover you at home, while others cover you after you’ve left the country. Some offer trip cancellation insurance in case of illness or inclement weather. In addition to providing insurance, DAN is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to research, and the wellness of divers. They provide a 24 hour hotline, staffed by medical personnel who are able to answer your dive related medical questions, in both emergency or non emergency situations. All are important considerations as you make your decision.The most important thing, though, is to make the decision. Getting caught abroad in a medical situation is scary enough. Getting caught without the appropriate insurance could be a life altering event. The financial ramifications could last long beyond the physical ones.