How important is having dive insurance? While on a liveaboard trip, I witnessed someone who was injured. I can say without any doubt, the small investment to get insured before he took the trip saved this diver a ton of money.
We were about to embark on a week long liveaboard dive trip when I asked this diver, an acquaintance I made while I did some contract work in New York, if he had dive insurance. His response was he did not. This was about a week before the scheduled departure to Belize. I strongly recommended he buy insurance. Thank goodness he did.
We were off the coast of Belize when the incident occurred.
He was trying to climb back onboard and could not support himself on the ladder. Assisting him to his designated slot on the vessel he asked if I would remove his fins. That’s when I noticed it. The Achilles area of his foot was concave.
I notified a staff member and from there a makeshift cane was made from a broom stick and a T-shaped PVC pipe. They really did a splendid job on helping him. After a ship to shore call to the dive insurance company, they offered to send out a helicopter to lift him from the vessel, back to Belize where he would be flown back to the United States. The diver refused the offer since there was only two days remaining on the trip before he flew back to New York.
Once back in the states Doctors discovered he had completely severed his Achilles Tendon and went into surgery to have it repaired. I kept in contact with the diver, I lived in Florida, he in New York and he reported he is doing fine. He told me the whole procedure cost over $24,000 and they even paid for the round trip transportation from his home to the hospital. I asked if he was glad he purchased the insurance. He said it was the best best investment he made and thanked me for making the recommendation.
Why buy insurance
You never know if or when an emergency will occur. There’s an old saying, you never need insurance when you have it but as soon as you don’t have it you’ll need it. The diver invested around $90 and in return received over $24,000 in medical benefits. Add to that the additional costs if he elected to receive the helicopter lift and flight back to the states.
Which company should you purchase your insurance from? The two most popular are DiveAssure and Divers Alert Network, aka DAN.
Why would you choose one over the other? DAN being the longest standing dive insurance around, it has become very well known around the world. DiveAssure is younger yet well established as well.
There are two major differences between DAN and DiveAssure.
First Difference: Both DAN and DiveAssure are known and accepted worldwide but DAN is accepted within the United States when you are greater than 50 miles away from your place of residence. DiveAssure, at the time of writing this article is not accepted within the United States. If you are diving within the United States, then DAN is the insurance you should consider. If you travel outside of the United States, then I recommend both DiveAssure and DAN. You will know why I recommend them both after reading the Second Major Difference below.
Second Difference: Dan is a secondary insurer. DiveAssure is either a Primary or a Secondary insurer. You will choose which one you prefer when purchasing your DiveAssure policy. What does being a Primary or Secondary Insurer mean? Primary Insurer are the first to pay, your primary insurer. A Secondary insurer is one that pays After your primary insurer pays, usually the insurance you may have as an employee of a company.
Primary insurance is the plan that kicks in first, paying the claim as if it were the only source of coverage. Then the secondary insurance plan picks up some or all of the cost left over after the primary plan has paid the claim.
Why is this choosing a primary or secondary policy important? I will use someone with a primary insurer from work as an example throughout the explanation and a secondary insurer for their dive policy.
You are out diving and an unfortunate incident leaves you needing medical assistance. You are transported to a hospital, perhaps transported again to a facility with a recompression chamber. Let’s say the bill for the transportation and treatment comes to $10,000. You submit a claim to your primary insurer (not a DiveAssure member in this example). They send you a statement reading you must first pay your deductible of $6000, then they pay 60% of the remaining balance due to that copay. That comes to a total of $7600 out of your pocket. The primary insurance picks up $2400. You then submit your claim to your dive insurance, your secondary insurer in hopes they will take a bite out of the bill you must pay.
Now if you have a primary dive insurance policy, you would submit the $10,000 bill to them. After your nominal deduction, usually a few hundred dollars (Your policy will dictate how much) they will pick up their portion first. What is left over, which may be little to none, will be submitted to your secondary insurance. See the difference? In the first scenario, you outlaid $7600 to meet the policy deductable and copay. In the second, the dive insurance is the primary. Only DiveAssure provide the option to select them as your Primary at the time you define your policy.
Before I answer why I have both DiveAssure and DAN insurance, I want to say when I purchase dive insurance I purchase the best policy they have, Platinum for example. The difference in cost is nominal and the benefit received is great. With that said, I purchase both DiveAssure and DAN because I travel outside of the United States to dive. This means I may use DiveAssure as my ‘Primary’ Insurance. I sign up with DiveAssure and pay for Primary Insurer, Platinum policy. Now when I fill out the paperwork for the dive operator, I list DiveAssure first, as my primary insurer and DAN as my secondary insurer. In the event I need to invoke my policy, DiveAssure will receive the bill. Any amount not paid gets turned over to DAN, my secondary insurer and finally my personal insurance as my tertiary insurer. This leaves very little taken out of my pocket. Is this worth the extra $140 to me? You bet it is.
Click on the DiveAssure picture to learn more and sign up for DiveAssure
Click on one of the pictures to learn more and sign up for DAN Insurance or DAN Travel