Did you know that snorkeling and scuba diving are often specifically excluded from travel medical insurance plans, and that your regular medical insurance usually doesn’t work at all outside of your home country?
That’s kind of a problem. While something like snorkeling is generally considered to be a safe activity [source], I’ve found having travel medical insurance on every trip to be super important for me. And, I want travel insurance that covers snorkeling in particular (or even scuba diving).
Even with something minor — say I trip on something on the boat and sprain my ankle — I don’t want to worry about where to go, how much it will cost, how to pay, or anything else like that. I can just call my travel insurance company and they’ll tell me everything that needs to happen in order to get it taken care of and get it covered. Even if the cost of a sprained ankle wouldn’t be financially devastating, I’d still rather have the costs covered and the worry about how to handle it all kept to a minimum.
Or, let’s say something serious happened and I needed urgent medical attention, maybe even enough so that I need to be transported to a different city or country with a better medical infrastructure. The cost for that transportation alone can run anywhere from $20,000 to $220,000 [source], and that doesn’t even include the cost of any medical care needed.
Yeah. I’d much rather have travel insurance that can cover something like that.
And, since travel insurance ends up being such a small cost relative to the overall amount of any trip I’ve taken, it’s been a no-brainer for me to spend a few extra bucks to protect it, along with my own health and wellbeing.
The problem, though, is that many travel insurance companies explicitly exclude coverage for anything that happens during activities like snorkeling or scuba diving. Your regular medical insurance also more than likely would cover little to nothing if you happened to be injured outside of your home country, possibly leaving you open to big medical bills.
There are a lot of reasons for this. If you’re interested, you can read our other article on the ins and outs of covering snorkeling through travel medical insurance at Does Travel Insurance Cover Snorkeling? 3 Critical Realities.
Otherwise, we’ll just dive into travel insurance that covers snorkeling and scuba diving to make finding a plan that does actually cover what you need to cover that much easier.
My travel style, in general, is to rigorously research a general framework for a trip (transportation, best times of year to go, etc.) while still leaving some room for unexpected adventure once we arrive. That works great for us as a nice balance between rigid planning and playing it by ear, but I’m not looking for that same plan when it comes to travel insurance. Instead, travel insurance gets the fully-rigorous research treatment from start to finish.
After putting in hours of research once I started traveling and snorkeling extensively, World Nomads and Allianz Travel Insurance demonstrated themselves as travel insurance companies that could cover snorkeling. And, they both have popular travel insurance plans.
They each do have some differences between them, so I’ll outline how they work so you can make the best decision for your own travels.
World Nomads first showed up on my travel insurance radar because of their high ratings as far as customer service and low complaint numbers regarding claims, which, if you’ve ever dealt with an insurance company in any capacity, is appealing.
World Nomads is a unique travel insurance company that’s actually been custom-built for more adventurous travelers. As such, they explicitly cover snorkeling and scuba diving in both their Standard and Explorer insurance plans. You may not have heard of World Nomads even if you’re in the U.S., but they’re underwritten by Nationwide (a huge name in insurance here).
And, since World Nomads is focused on adventure travel, a whole mess of other adventure activities can be included, like bungee jumping, white water rafting and parasailing in their Standard plan, or hang gliding, shark cage diving and even wingsuit flying in the Explorer plan — things that almost always are explicitly not covered in many other companies’ travel medical insurance plans. Also, to alleviate any fears, “air guitar” is included in the Standard plan — woo!
Both World Nomads’ Standard and Explorer plans are meant for active travel (Explorer, as expected, has higher coverage limits), and it partially comes down to what you’ll be doing on your trip. If you like, you take a look at what’s covered between each plan and let your activities guide you.
Also, World Nomads lets you upgrade your plan after you buy it, so if you’re abroad and want to do something that’s covered by an upgrade to the Explorer plan which isn’t under Standard, you can make that happen without issue.
Another beautiful thing about World Nomads is that they are able to offer travel insurance to residents of over 140 countries, which is hugely helpful for my friends whose country of residence is not the U.S.
World Nomads offers online quotes, only requiring your destination, dates of travel, age and where you live. They aim to grant the best peace of mind for active travelers, and make getting a quote from World Nomads before your next snorkel (or wingsuit diving) widely available.
For travelers who are at all adventurous, World Nomads is an option for travel insurance that covers snorkeling (and more).
Also ranking positively in the customer service and claims ratings is Allianz Travel Insurance, and if you happened to be excluded from World Nomads because you (or someone you’re traveling with) are over 70, they may be an option for you.
At first, I wasn’t able to find anything explicitly about snorkeling in their plans or on their website, so I contacted them directly and an agent confirmed that normal snorkeling and even scuba diving would be covered, provided that the activity wasn’t done in a way that would make it an extreme or high-risk activity, like free diving or scuba diving at depths below 60 feet or without a dive master. (However, you should always contact Allianz directly if you want to confirm coverage for your situation or have any questions.)
They currently have three plans with both medical and travel benefits for single vacations: OneTrip Basic, OneTrip Prime and OneTrip Premier. Each of these should cover regular, safe snorkeling and have various coverages not only for emergency medical expenses, but dental expenses, emergency medical transportation, trip cancellation/delay, baggage issues, etc. Or, if you are only interested in medical benefits, their OneTrip Emergency Medical plan will come in a bit cheaper without the travel benefits.
Additionally, Allianz does not have an age limit for individuals which you can cover with one of their policies. That’s definitely not always the case with travel medical insurance, so it’s a really nice option if traveling with parents or grandparents (or yourself!) who are over 70.
However, these specific Allianz Travel Insurance products aren’t available to those outside of the United States (there are separate and different Allianz international versions out there, though) and they generally have a more expansive list of what is considered an extreme, high-risk sport or activity with exclusions like bungee jumping, some rafting/kayaking, hang gliding, etc. So, if you’re outside the U.S. or want to include more activities in your coverage, World Nomads above may offer the type of coverage you’re looking for.
Allianz also offers online quotes, only needing your age, travel dates, destination, state of residence and total trip cost to give you a price. From there, you’re also able to buy a policy since everything can be done online and the coverage documents are emailed directly to you.
For U.S.-based travelers over 70, Allianz is a travel insurance that covers snorkeling and you can get a quote from Allianz Travel Insurance online here before your next snorkeling trip.
The Deep Dive
Personally, I won’t travel without travel medical insurance anymore. The risk (however big or small it might be) of never being able to travel or snorkel again because of a financial or physical problem that could have been prevented just isn’t worth it as far as I see it. And, with travel medical insurance often being relatively inexpensive (I’ve had 3-week trips across multiple hemispheres covered well for two people for less than a hundred bucks), it’s a no-brainer for me.
It’s always a good idea to check directly with an insurance provider to make sure that they cover what you need to cover, but World Nomads or Allianz are options if I’m looking to make sure that snorkeling (and whatever else I might be doing) is covered. You can read up on each company and get a quote from World Nomads if you’re under 70, or a quote from Allianz if someone in your group is 70 or above, to see which works best for you before your trip. Safe travels!
Learn more about how exactly travel insurance works with things like snorkeling or scuba diving (and a lot of other things you should know, especially in the “bonus” section) at Does Travel Insurance Cover Snorkeling? 3 Critical Realities, or cost information over at How Much Does Travel Insurance Cost? A Helpful & Clear Guide.
Also, make sure that the rest of your travel snorkel gear is up to date below: