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USA & Canadian Citizens: Is DAN Insurance an option?

By DAN - as reported on Cruisers Network Online — last modified Nov 04, 2013 02:56 PM
Following several requests to the DAN president to clarify the position of DAN with regards to cruisers, this explanation from the DAN president as posted on the Yahoo Group Cruisers_Network_Online.

Published: 2013-11-04 00:00:00
Topics: Insurance
Countries: Canada , USA

Following queries from boating enthusiasts, DAN (Divers Alert Network, Inc.) revisited the issue of residency as a requirement for membership. As a result of this review, DAN has revised its policy for those who have a residence in the U.S. or Canada and occupy that residence at least part of the year.

While in the past there was a limitation which prevented many boaters who spend most of the time during a year on their boat from qualifying for DAN membership, this limitation has been removed. Provided you have residency in the U.S. or Canada, you can become a member of DAN. To meet this eligibility requirement, you must spend at least part of the membership year (a single day is sufficient) at your residence in the U.S. or Canada. If during the year of your membership you do not “reside” for any period of time at your residence in the U.S. or Canada, you will not satisfy DAN’s residency requirement.

Please note that residency is different from domicile, ownership of property, or where you get your mail. A person may have several residences. In the case of those who spend much of the year on their boat, your boat is your residence for the time you are on-board. Should you then spend time at your domicile/residence in the U.S. or Canada, during that time you would be deemed a resident of that location. If you do not spend time at your domicile/residence in the U.S. or Canada during the membership year, but instead spend that time on your boat or locations which you visit while cruising, you would not be deemed by DAN to have residency in the U.S. or Canada. In such a case, you would need to join DAN World (www.danworld.ky).

In practical terms, this simply means that if you live the full membership year on your boat within the DAN World region, your DAN membership will need to be with DAN World. If you have residency within the U.S. or Canada during any portion of the membership year, you can become a DAN member. In the latter case, you would also be eligible to purchase DAN’s dive accident insurance.

Even with this clarification, I believe the underlying issue is not about membership eligibility, but actually relates to how DAN TravelAssist works as a member benefit for both DAN and DAN World. All DAN members get a medical evacuation benefit that will transport you from the place you get hurt to a place where you can get appropriate medical care. This does not mean transportation back to the U.S./Canada or some other location where you maintain a residence. Basically, it’s from the accident site to the closest hospital/clinic.

The benefit that seems to be causing the confusion/concern is the repatriation benefit (which provides transportation for the member after they’ve been treated for a medical emergency). Where an injured member is taken after getting medical treatment is based on your residency at the time of the medical emergency. If something happens when you are residing on your boat (regardless of whether you are a DAN or DAN World member), repatriation will be back to the boat. If something happens while you are on a trip but you are residing in the U.S. or Canada, repatriation will be to that residence in the U.S. or Canada. You cannot claim that travel from a residence in the U.S. or Canada to another residence in the Caribbean (your boat) is a trip. This is you commuting from one residence to another. Nor can you expect DAN to repatriate you to a place different from where you reside when you get hurt. Neither the DAN nor DAN World benefit provides repatriation back to a residence in the U.S. or Canada if you are residing on your boat in the Caribbean when the medical emergency occurs. The DAN repatriation benefit is not designed to transport members between different residences, but to transport an injured member who is on a trip back to their then current place of residency following a medical emergency.

Please understand that the DAN programs are custom designed for scuba divers who travel to enjoy the sport of diving. While we would very much like to help boaters such as yourself, we go to great lengths to keep DAN membership and insurance reasonably priced and affordable so that the vast majority of divers can be covered for diving accidents no matter where they occur. I’m sure you can appreciate that for a membership fee of $35/$55 per year, DAN cannot possibly cover the cost of moving members from one residence to the next when a medical emergency occurs. The cost would be prohibitive and the price of DAN membership would need to go up substantially. Our primary goal is to get people to a place where they can get the medical care they need. If that’s the coverage you want, we’re the best deal out there. If you’re looking for someone to transport you back to the U.S. or Canada after you’ve had an accident while on your boat in the Caribbean, you should look for other coverage.

William M. Ziefle
President & Chief Executive Officer
Divers Alert Network, Inc.

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