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Travel insurance or diving insurance? What do we think?

We were recently asked if standard travel insurance policies cover you for scuba diving and our answer, yes, to a degree.

You need to check as all policies are different but as a general guide you’ll be covered to dive to 18 metres provided you have the correct certification.  If you’re planning to go deeper then you’ll usually need to extend the sports' provision of the policy – we’re not aware of any that will cover you beyond 30 metres regardless of your certification.

BUT...take note of the following:

Firstly...

You nullify your insurance if you go beyond the depth limit.  So if something happens whereby you sneak below the limit that is the end of your insurance.  Worth considering as in some jurisdictions, you may have a legal obligation to help a diver who needs assistance.

Secondly...

You need to understand what isn’t covered.

Most standard travel insurance policies will not cover things like search and rescue costs – so if a helicopter or search boats are needed, you’ll be paying the bill.  Low flight repatriation is also usually not covered, so if you have a decompression issue and need to fly home at low level the airline will pass the bill for additional fuel to you. Let’s face it, that’s not going to be cheap.

In addition...

Other important things to consider is ongoing medical needs once you return to the UK.  Hyperbaric treatments are rarely one offs and you may need months of follow up treatment when you get back home – something that most travel policies don’t cover.

Also consider that you may need additional medical services such as physio or counselling.

Our advice?

Take out travel insurance and then top up with specific dive insurance.