A Diver’s Guide to Insurance Terms

Many divers don’t know if their health insurance covers scuba diving-related injuries, and they’re surprised when they receive an expensive medical bill after a traumatic dive accident. Even smart, proactive divers who reach out to their insurance company can be confused by copy-pasted answers filled with insurance terminology.

To help divers make an informed decision about whether they need dive accident insurance coverage, we created a diver’s guide to insurance terms. Learn about “eligible expenses,” “exclusions,” and other insurance terms. Look for words in bold type; we’ve included expanded definitions in a glossary at the bottom of this article.

Divers Alert Network® (DAN®) strives to provide divers with unbiased, up-to-date dive safety research, education and services. The article below is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.

Emergency Evacuation Assistance

DAN membership includes emergency medical evacuation coverage provided by DAN TravelAssist in addition to other benefits. DAN TravelAssist takes effect whenever you take a trip more than 50 miles (80 km) from your place of residence and also includes:

  • Prescription assistance – receive medication or eyeglasses when possible and legally permissable
  • Up to US$5,000 for hospital admittance or discharge deposits
  • 24-hour worldwide, multilingual medical assistance
  • Emergency reunion coverage
  • Return airfare for a travel companion and/or dependent children in the event of a medical emergency
  • Emergency messaging to and from your family and/or employer.
  • Insurance claims assistance

DAN individual membership dues are US$35 per year (US$40 in Canada). Family plans are US$55 per year (US$60 in Canada). DAN membership alone does not cover hyperbaric chamber treatments or other medical costs, but it gives you access to DAN dive accident insurance.

DAN Membership and Dive Accident Insurance

Many medical insurance providers won’t cover injuries from scuba diving and/or may not provide coverage when you are traveling out of the country. Those that do provide coverage for diving-related incidents may pay only a minimal amount for chamber treatments or deny coverage for dives deeper than 130 ft (40 m). Contact your insurance company to confirm what your coverage includes.

In the event your insurance does not cover expenses associated with a diving accident, DAN Dive Accident Insurance provides secondary coverage of up to US$250,000. There is no mileage restriction, and DAN coverage pays 100% of eligible expenses. Some DAN Dive Accident Insurance plans even cover the loss of diving equipment due to a rescue.

DAN members can purchase dive accident insurance for as little as US$40/year (premiums vary by state). View dive accident insurance plan options and pricing. For questions, contact DAN member services.

Glossary of Insurance Terms

Eligible Expenses

Reasonable and customary costs associated with medical treatment. To be eligible, expenses must occur during the policy period and be incurred by the insured or an eligible family member. For example, a diver gets a severe laceration. The cost to bandage and suture the wound could be considered an eligible expense provided the injury occurred while the diver had coverage. If the diver’s membership or insurance plan expired the week before, the insurance company would not pay.

Emergency Medical Evacuation

Due to a medical necessity, a traveler requires immediate transportation to a medical facility where appropriate medical treatment can be obtained. Some of the world’s best diving locations don’t have a major hospital nearby. In the event of a severe illness or injury, a private air ambulance will take you to a medical facility that can provide appropriate treatment. The cost for an emergency medical evacuation starts at US$25,000, but it can cost much more. DAN membership includes up to US$150,000 of evacuation assistance coverage — for both diving and non-diving medical emergencies. Medical evacuation coverage begins when you travel at least 50 miles (80 km) from home.

Emergency Reunion Coverage

Covers the cost for a family or friend to visit an ill or injured traveler who is otherwise alone. If you require hospitalization for more than seven consecutive days while traveling alone, DAN TravelAssist will arrange and pay for economy round-trip airfare for a friend or family member to visit you. DAN will also cover one-way economy airfare to return a traveling companion and/or any dependent children to their place of residence due to a medical emergency.


Things the insurance provider will not pay for. Medical expenses resulting from a scuba diving accident are excluded by some health insurance providers.

Loss of Diving Equipment

If your diving equipment is lost or damaged during a rescue, DAN Dive Accident policyholders with a Preferred or Master Plan may receive up to US$2,500 to cover equipment repair or replacement costs.

Maximum Policy Coverage

The maximum amount an insurance policy will pay for eligible expenses.


The amount of money you pay to an insurance company for coverage. Premiums may be paid monthly, annually or prior to a specific trip.

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