I’m having a hard time deciding what to do for long-term travel and medical insurance while I’m gone. I’ll be moving to my home province before I go, so I have a government health plan, but you definitely can’t just travel on that. On top of a travel/medical insurance plan, I need diving accident insurance because after completing my courses I will be working and considered a “professional”, so most travel insurance plans won’t cover me while diving. Some regular travel insurance plans won’t cover scuba anyway.
I talked to a customer service agent at Divers Alert Network (DAN) and so far that seems like my best option. Things seem to get tricky around the 182-day mark for trips (about 6 months) – the regular DAN insurance doesn’t cover you if you are out of your home country for 51% or more of the year. They have a program called DAN World that is good for a year and has some travel and dive accident coverage but no medical expense coverage (ie. if you’re at your hotel and break your leg and have to go to the hospital). The 6-month and under DAN Trip Insurance covers most things that regular travel insurance does, as well as medical expenses….but you also have to buy dive accident insurance separately. Since I have no idea how long I will be away for, this makes buying insurance tricky. Yes, it might be better to get the coverage that’s a year, but then I have to buy medical insurance on top of that. Also, to get DAN 6 months of insurance you have to buy a DAN membership first, which is $40/year, and then the dive insurance ($40), and then the travel insurance ($120) for a total of about $200. To buy the DAN World yearlong insurance, you still have to pay for the membership ($40) and the dive/travel insurance ($109) and then find medical insurance on top of that ($..??) From sites I’ve seen, it is going to be a ton of money to purchase additional medical insurance. Although I did find this site that allows for purchase of “top-up days” for medical insurance at about $1.70/day (about $300 for 6 months worth of coverage, or $50/month…almost what I currently pay in British Columbia).
I am trying to decide if the medical insurance is worth it – I’m sure it is, but I have to keep in mind that a visit to the doctor in West End and a prescription cream costs about $30 versus $200-300 in Canada. I know for sure I need the dive accident insurance…a few sessions in a hyperbaric chamber can run you well into the tens of thousands of dollars. With a DAN membership, you automatically are enrolled in DAN Assist, which provides for medical evacuations to your home country. I guess if something bad enough happened to me I could always just use that to get home.
I am leaning towards just purchasing the 6 month DAN coverage (with the dive accident & travel/medical insurance) and then seeing where I am in 6 months and crossing that bridge when I get there. What are the rest of you doing about insurance?
Long-term travelers & expats: what are you doing for travel/medical insurance?