The Importance of Travel Insurance for Divers

From the Blue Hole found in Belize to Thailand's famous Richelieu Rock, there are thousands of incredible dive sites around the world just waiting to be explored. For both new and experienced divers, the thrill dropping beneath the surface for an aquatic adventure is both exciting and mysterious.

As with any adventurous activity, scuba diving can be dangerous, and accidents can happen at any depth. Travel insurance can offer protection for scuba divers in the event things don't go according to plan, as well as offer reimbursement in the event they can no longer go on their trip.

Do All Travel Insurance Policies Cover Scuba Diving?

No, not all travel insurance policies will cover travel disruptions relating to scuba diving. While many travel insurance policies can cover the most common water sports, such as jet skiing and snorkeling, it is less common for policies to cover scuba due to the increased risk. In fact, adventurous activities like scuba diving are often excluded from coverage.

With that said, certain providers offer policies that offer coverage for extreme water sports, such as diving, surfing and kite boarding. A policy with this coverage can extend all relevant benefits to a traveler in the event something occurs while they are diving, including Emergency Medical, Medical Evacuation, and Trip Interruption.

Is Insurance a Requirement for Scuba Diving?

In most cases, travel insurance is not a scuba diving requirement. This will, however, depend on a few factors, including the local laws and the rules of the tour operator.

While it may not be a requirement the majority of the time, travel insurance is strongly recommended for all scuba divers. As with other extreme sports, scuba diving is inherently dangerous and expensive. Having a policy that can cover nonrefundable expenses like medical bills, evacuations while at sea, airfare, hotel stays, tours, and equipment costs can save divers thousands of dollars.

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Popular Scuba Diving Policy Benefits

Given the danger associated with the activity, many providers will specifically exclude it from their coverage. So, when it comes to choosing a policy, it's best to enter the process knowing which benefits to keep an eye out for.

Whether you're interested in coverage in the event you need to unexpectedly cancel your trip or simply want to cover your scuba diving excursion, there are a multitude of options available to you. Outlined below, and expanded on throughout the page, are some of the most popular scuba diving benefits to keep in mind when finding the right policy for you.

The Importance of the Sports & Activities Benefit

Many water sports, such as jet skiing and snorkeling, are covered by standard travel insurance policies. But, due to the increased risk, most providers see scuba diving as an extreme sport once divers hit a certain depth, usually 30 meters. After that point, scuba diving is typically excluded from policy coverage.

Fortunately, there are some policies that offer Sports & Activities benefits, which waive that exclusion and extend all relevant benefits to a traveler in the event something occurs while they are participating in hazardous activities, such as scuba diving.

The Sports & Activities benefit is a crucial part of any scuba diving travel insurance policy because it extends coverage eligibility to divers that would usually be excluded. Squaremouth offers a Sports & Activities search filter that allows divers to narrow their search to policies that specifically include scuba diving in their cover.

Scuba Diving Medical Insurance

Scuba diving offers adventure seekers an opportunity to explore life under the sea. However, diving into the depths of the ocean is not without risks. Fortunately, some travel medical insurance policies can provide coverage if a policyholder needs to receive medical treatment for injuries sustained while on their diving trip.

Emergency Medical coverage can help travelers get reimbursed for costs associated with medical care during their trip. Common costs covered include ambulance treatment to a hospital, hospital charges, and x-rays. Given the hazards involved in scuba diving, we recommend travelers purchase at least $100,000 in emergency travel medical insurance when planning for their scuba excursion.

Another key component of travel medical insurance is Medical Evacuation, which can help travelers pay for the cost of an air ambulance to the nearest adequate medical facility or even back home if it is deemed medically necessary by the treating doctor. Given that scuba diving happens offshore, sometimes in remote areas, an evacuation can be a significant expense, so we recommend travelers look for a policy with at least $250,000 in Medical Evacuation coverage.

Cancellation Coverage For Divers

For many divers, especially those traveling overseas, the adventure begins at home, long before they reach the boat. If issues arise that prevent you from departing on your trip, Trip Cancellation coverage may be able to help you recover your unused trip costs. This can include flights, accommodations, diving tours, and any equipment rentals that may be planned.

Most Trip Cancellation policies can reimburse divers that need to cancel their trip before they depart due to injury, illness, inclement weather, terrorism, and death of a loved one. If eligible, travelers can be reimbursed up to 100% of their prepaid, nonrefundable trip payments.

For added flexibility and protection, it may also be wise to consider a policy with the Cancel For Any Reason coverage. This optional benefit upgrade offers the most possible flexibility for travelers, and can still help recover between 50% and 75% of your non-refundable trip costs. So if you no longer wish to go diving because of expected bad conditions, Cancel For Any Reason could be able to offer financial reimbursement.

Trip Interruption Coverage

If an injury or illness occurs during your trip and forces you to return home early, the Trip Interruption benefit can offer reimbursement for any unused trip costs. This can include hotel stays, scuba diving tours, and any other prepaid excursions. This benefit offers divers protection in the event they need to cut their trip short for a covered reason.

The injury or illness does not need to be due to a scuba diving accident to be eligible for coverage. If a diver's travel companion or non-traveling family member becomes ill or injured, a policyholder may also be eligible for this benefit.

Protecting Your Gear

Many avid scuba divers prefer to take their own gear on dives to save money and reduce the risk of getting poorly maintained rental equipment. However, there's always a risk your gear could get delayed, lost, stolen, or damaged at some point during your trip.

Fortunately, many policies offer protection specifically for sports gear such as regulators, BCDs, masks, and other essential equipment.

Sports Equipment Delay can cover the reasonable cost of renting scuba gear if your belongings were delayed, lost, stolen, or damaged by your airline. The Sports Equipment Loss benefit can reimburse you the cost of your gear, up to an amount specified by the policy, if it is lost, stolen, or damaged at any point during your trip.

Annual Travel Insurance Policies for Scuba Divers

For many, scuba diving is more of a passion than a hobby, with some taking multiple trips a year to dive at different locations around the world. In this situation, an annual travel insurance policy may be a cost effective way to get travel coverage.

Annual travel insurance policies are perfect for travelers that are planning to take multiple trips throughout a 12-month period and want medical coverage. These policies often save money, as they can be less expensive than purchasing several single trip policies. Some annual travel insurance policies may also offer limited cancellation, delay, and baggage coverage.

Multiple annual policies that cover scuba diving can be found on Squaremouth. With that said, it's best to read the policy details carefully to understand the coverage. For example, some annual policies state that a divemaster must be present, while others may state dives cannot exceed 50 feet in depth.

Does PADI Offer Travel Insurance?

No, PADI, a worldwide diving organization, does not offer or sell travel insurance to its members. PADI sets the standard for the global diving community, and focuses on ensuring that divers have a safe and enjoyable time in the water.

While PADI does not sell travel insurance, their website does encourage all members to get insurance if they plan on diving overseas. In addition, PADI recommends a list of providers that offer scuba diving coverage, all of which can be found and compared on

Finding the Best Scuba Diving Travel Insurance

Just like any purchase decision, the more information you have, the better. Comparison sites like Squaremouth help adventure lovers compare hundreds of travel plans to help them find the best policy at the best price.

Getting the right scuba diving travel insurance doesn't have to be complicated. Start your search today by navigating to our Sports & Adventure page and selecting “scuba diving” from the list of activities towards the bottom of the page. This will narrow your search to show only policies that offer scuba coverage.

If you're unsure which plan is right for your trip, Squaremouth's experts are available to help you make the right decision.

Key Travel Insurance Benefits for Scuba Divers

We break down the most important benefits divers should consider for their scuba trip:

If you already have a policy and have any questions for your travel insurance provider or would like to file a claim, please contact your provider directly. Click here to find your provider's contact information.