Your health plays an instrumental role in the life insurance premiums you can expect to pay, but so too do other factors, such as your job and hobbies. Life insurance providers examine risk and need to take several points into account, like if you just so happen to enjoy a spot of skydiving or skiing. Certain activities enjoyed in your downtime could even stop you from getting a policy altogether. But which hobbies do life insurance providers deem as risky? We’ve put this guide together of dangerous hobbies that insurers frown upon.
There is no scenario where jumping out of an airplane doesn’t look a tad on the, let’s say, risky side. And it turns out that life insurers don’t take too kindly to people diving out of airplanes for fun. Even though the risk of skydiving is relatively low, with 0.39 fatalities per 100,000 jumps, there’s not a lot of margin for error and a botched skydive usually only ends one way. For that reason, life insurance companies may have more than a few questions if you list skydiving as an activity in your application.
You won’t find any resistance to getting a permanent life insurance policy if you enjoy going on the odd hike or partake in some indoor wall climbing. Mountain climbing, though. Well, that’s a different situation altogether and is often considered a dangerous hobby by life insurance providers. And while you might still be able to get coverage if you climb as part of a group, your chances decrease when you do it solo. In fact, many who participate in extreme forms of mountaineering will find it hard to get life insurance altogether.
Some people enjoy diving headfirst into the abyss with nothing but a bit of rope attached to their feet. Fair play to you if you’re one of those people. Understandably, bungee jumping is considered a dangerous hobby, though not extreme enough to rule out life insurance coverage completely. If you happen to get your adrenaline kicks from bungee jumping, you can expect to pay higher premiums than if you, let’s say, opted for bird watching as a hobby.
Depending on the insurer, there may not be too much resistance to your life insurance application if you’re a commercial pilot. But if you like to get in a plane or helicopter and fly for fun, then there’s every chance that your premiums will be on the high side. There’s an average of 2.3 fatalities per 100,000 hours flown on private flights compared to 0.01 fatalities per 100,000 hours flying in the commercial space. With those numbers, it’s understandable why an insurer might raise their eyebrow if you fly privately.
You might be in great shape and ace your life insurance medical exam, but you can still expect higher premiums if you do something like scuba diving for a hobby. A spot of scuba diving might not seem particularly dangerous, yet there’s still a chance of drowning or getting decompression sickness. An insurer is likely to be concerned if you regularly go deep-water diving as opposed to the odd scuba diving lesson here and there. The more you do it, the more dangerous it is–and that can affect your life insurance premiums.
There’s driving, and then there’s driving. Owning a car won’t have any impact on your life insurance premiums as long as you have a clean license. But if you enjoy using your spare time to suit up and race around cars or motorbikes, then you can expect increased premiums but probably won’t find yourself denied life insurance. There are lots of amateur motor-related activities across the US, and life insurance providers often deem them a dangerous hobby–after all, it’s hard to argue that people racing each other at speeds of 100-plus mph is completely safe.
Recreational skiing and snowboarding are generally fine when it comes to getting life insurance coverage. But anyone involved with back-country skiing is probably going to encounter higher premiums. It often involves remote, secluded locations and being cautious of things like avalanches–especially as the mountains can become unsettled after being disturbed. The remoteness also makes it harder for a speedy rescue if something does go wrong. All these factors combine to make it harder for back-country skiers to get life insurance.
What happens if I partake in one of these “dangerous” hobbies?
All is not lost if you have regularly enjoyed a hobby deemed dangerous by a life insurance company. Many providers are still willing to give you coverage, but you face paying higher premiums. Each situation will be judged individually, and the insurer will take into account factors like regularity and the level at which you perform the dangerous hobbies. Just make sure that you’re honest on the application. If you lie about your hobbies and the insurer finds out at a later date, your entire policy could become null and void.
In conclusion: dangerous hobbies
Getting a life insurance policy is still possible even if you enjoy participating in dangerous hobbies. Each one will be reviewed by the insurer and likely moved onto the underwriting process, with a decision following shortly after. Be prepared to pay higher premiums, but having dangerous hobbies doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get life insurance coverage.