No doubt you are a member of DAN or have heard divers sing their praises. For some, it may come to a surprise when I tell you this: your DAN membership does not cover you or your medical expenses incurred for SCUBA diving related accidents.
Those membership dues you’ve been dutifully paying every year, or right before that big bucket list trip to dive with Whale Sharks in the remote regions of The Galapagos, have merely given you the opportunity to “access” their Dive Accident Insurance and your membership only covers medical evacuation. That’s not to say you have been throwing money away. Your membership also includes assistance with their TravelAssist service, (SCUBA diver support hotline), a subscription to Alert Diver Magazine, (interesting articles for those who enjoy learning more about the science behind this amazing sport) and access to online safety seminars. However, further action (AKA more money) must be taken for your medical expenses to be covered for more than just transporting you to treatment. Depending on how severe the accident and quality of care available, you are looking at a potential out of pocket expense in the tens of thousands of dollars, if not more. Now unless you struck it rich while finding lost treasure on an undiscovered wreck dive, I’m guessing those medical expenses would sink you.
Knowing this information, how many divers have been flying under the radar with just the membership status? With more and more dive resorts and liveaboards requiring dive accident coverage, it’s a surprise this information isn’t more commonly known.
However, the word is spreading and showing up without the required coverage could keep you out of the water until a proper policy is obtained and proven.
A client of ours recently fell victim to this misunderstanding and was looking at spending the weekend topside until an agent from DAN could be contacted the following Monday (they do not have agents available on the weekend). As you can imagine, it was not a blissful start to the long-awaited holiday. Moreover, the resort failed to communicate this requirement to the client and agent. If more resorts start to go this route and fail to mention this until check-in, this will not be the last we hear of this type of scenario. Luckily, this diver went online and purchased the additional coverage, but what happens in the more remote regions where internet many not be as accessible?
DAN has also now partnered with Travel Guard and extended their products to include trip insurance. What appears like a convenient “one stop shop” created further confusion for another diver when a representative of Travel Guard claimed dive medivac was included in the trip insurance policy and they did not need the dive accident coverage. This is not true. You still need a dive accident policy to cover you for a SCUBA related injury, even if you go through DAN for trip insurance.
To be clear, our point here is not to disparage DAN. We have the upmost respect for the research and advances they have made in the diving industry. Advances that wouldn’t be possible without the funding from its loyal members, so your dollar is being put to good use. Our goal is to make sure our divers are informed of the potential pitfalls from not fully understanding the coverage they are buying and the kinks they need to work out with the addition of Travel Guard.
In the end, we encourage you to do your homework, read the fine print, compare the competition, but mostly, make sure you are truly covered for diving incidences. We hope you never need to use it but you will be glad it is there if you do. Safe diving everyone!