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March 2024    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 50, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Should I Insure Old Scuba Gear?

from the March, 2024 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Hi Ben,

We've used DAN equipment insurance for many years and have had one issue with a flooded camera, and we were satisfied with the underwater flood coverage.

However, on our last dive with Sea & Sea, YS2 flashes on separate dives both flooded. It turns out that because there wasn't an event that caused the damage and that the flooding was a failure due to age, they were not covered.

Why was I paying to cover something that they weren't going to honor repair? It may have been that Sea & Sea no longer sold parts to repair this model, which was actually the trigger for not covering repair/ replacement. Anyway, it would be worth noting that after a certain point in the life of equipment it's no longer worth paying for insurance. What is that date? To have a resource to determine that would be helpful.

- Cindy Black

It's not uncommon for divers with equipment insurance to find out that their insurer will pay them little money, if any, because their equipment is too old. DAN insurance, underwritten by H20, has changed how they determine what to reimburse you and says it will be the lesser of (1) the cost of reasonably restoring that property to its condition immediately before loss or damage or (2) the cost of replacing that property with substantially identical property.

How does property get valued? The best way is for you to find advertised sales of an identical or similar item of the same age from a dependable source (your dive shop, eBay, or other online sources). Better yet, see if you can find proof of sale of such an item.

If one can't come up with evidence of the product's current value (so repair or replacement can be compared), the insurance company may turn to a depreciation schedule. According to The Curley Adjustment Bureau, a consultant to the insurance industry on value, cameras have a 14-year life, while scuba gear has a 10-year life. While insurers may use different schedules, this provides a benchmark for estimating your gear's value.

When you file a claim, there is often a deductible, reducing your reimbursement. DAN insurance deductibles range from $100-$250.

If you decide to apply for insurance, don't value your five-year-old gear at the price you paid because you'll be paying for a value that won't hold for the insurance company. If you paid $5,000 for your gear five years ago and seek that coverage, the price is $213. But, it's perhaps worth half that today, so insure it at $2500 and pay $106.

For what it's worth, aside from one expensive camera I owned, I decided equipment insurance wasn't worth it; it was unlikely I would lose or damage my gear (though airlines might, but I had other coverage for that), and if I did, the hassle of filing and the small about of money at stake for old gear, especially after the deductible, wasn't worth it.

We have a more detailed article on the web, which looks at homeowner's insurance and other options, which you may read here:

- Ben Davison

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