Travel and medical insurance
Many travellers will have some degree of automatic cover if they have bought their travel tickets using a credit card or by notifying their medical insurers of their travel plans. However, it is important to read the details of these free policies carefully, as they often explicitly exclude adventure activities such as scuba diving. In the event of an emergency (especially if it requires evacuation or repatriation for treatment), it is valuable to have peace of mind, knowing that you are covered for these costs. Readily available proof of insurance will also speed up these processes and prevent delays while you assemble proof of your ability to pay for the services.
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Often, it is quite cost-effective to obtain simple ‘top-up’ cover on your automatic travel insurance policy, which will then cover adventure activities and have greater funds available for evacuation and treatment. The best way to do this is to contact the insurance agents directly and tell them explicitly where you plan to go and what you plan to do (including scuba diving) and ask what policy is required. This can often be done telephonically.
Another good option for travel, medical and dive-related insurance is to become a member of the Divers Alert Network (DAN), or to purchase a single-trip policy from them This has the added advantage of giving you access to good advice specifically for divers, up-to-date information regarding services such as recompression chambers, and 24-hour telephonic access to qualified diving doctors.
It is well worthwhile to have a physical copy of all insurance details, contact information, background medical information and the passport of each member of your group stored in an easily accessible location (such as in the group leader or buddy’s luggage) for use in case of an emergency.