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High-Risk Life Insurance

"Every man has a right to risk his own life for the preservation of it."
—Jean-Jacques Rousseau

When it comes to life insurance, risk has two sides:  the risk that comes from poor health and the risk that comes from, well, risky behavior.  And unless you’re Tom Cruise in 1983, most insurers and accountants will probably tell you risky business is a bad thing. 

But you know what?  If you're okay with a little risk, we are, too.  Trusted Quote has helped people with jobs traditionally thought of as risky, like law enforcement, save money on their life insurance policies.  After all, risk is relative.  One company may view you as a risk, while the next doesn’t see anything wrong with sword swallowing as a hobby.

Because finding that best rate can be time-consuming, you can have us do the legwork for you. Get quotes from more than 40 carriers all at once, so you can pinpoint the one low rate you’re looking for.  That gives you more time to detail your Ducati before it's time for scuba diving lessons.

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Man on a motorcycle on the open road.
Many insurers consider motorcycle riding a risk.

What counts as high-risk behavior?

Boy, that’s a loaded question.  In terms of life insurance, high-risk behavior usually involves dangerous hobbies.  The relative danger of a hobby or pastime is evaluated by insurance actuaries, whose job it is to translate risk into the price you pay for your policy.  That's why some people refer to high-risk life insurance as accident insurance.  Here are a few activities considered high risk:

  • Scuba diving
    • If you dive to 100 feet, expect to pay .5% more for life insurance.  If you dive deeper than 150 feet, you might pay nothing—because there’s a chance you won’t be approved at all. 
  • Skydiving
    • There were 21 fatal skydiving accidents in 2010, out of about 3 million jumps.  Your insurer doesn’t want you to push your luck.
  • Motorcycle riding
    • Only 20 states have helmet laws, but the Governors Highway Safety Association noted in 2012 that there were as many fatalities in 2011 as in 2010 (about 4,500).  Riding a motorcycle is risky already, but without a helmet?  At some point, risky becomes reckless. 
  • Hang gliding
    • Did you know that the National Transportation Safety Bureau lists 32 accidents in 2010, with 7 deaths?  Britain’s Health and Safety Executive estimates hang gliding’s risk of death at 1 in 116,000 flights.

What counts as a high-risk job?

If your job requires you to do any of the activities listed above, you’ll probably be classified as “high risk.”  Here are a few jobs that routinely get labeled as high-risk occupations: 

  • Pilot
    • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’s safer to be a cop than a pilot.  Some insurers may want you to sign an exclusion, stating that a death on the job does not trigger the policy’s death benefit. 
  • Law enforcement
    • Don’t let this one fool you.  We’ve worked with county law enforcement and saved them money on their policies.
  • Roofer
    • Here’s another one that might surprise you.  But between the extreme temperatures, lack of a flat work surface, and the height, roofing is a dangerous profession in the eyes of an insurer. 
  • Crew member for The Most Dangerous Catch
    • Really, the bigger your boat, the less you’ll be penalized for having a risky occupation.  If you’re an independent fisherman with a small boat, that’s risky.  If you’re an experienced deckhand on a 90-foot vessel, you’re considered less of a risk.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics claims this is the most dangerous job in America, with 116 deaths per 100,000 workers.

What counts as a high-risk health condition?

Hands clasped over a walking cane.
Health problems that often occur with age, such as arthritis, may put you into the high-risk category.

The other side of the risk-evaluation coin has to do with your health.  Maybe you have a nice, safe desk job, but you’re battling a chronic condition such as asthma. The insurers see you as a risk, just as they do a private pilot or a construction worker. 

Of course, the exact details of your health and history will greatly affect your rate.  A mild case of asthma, for example, is much less risky from an insurance standpoint than advanced multiple sclerosis. 

Here’s a brief run-down of some common conditions that will affect what you pay for life insurance:

  • Cancer
    • The insurer wants to see an early diagnosis, low stage of cancer identified, and several years passed since your last treatment.  Rest assured, having had cancer does not mean you can’t get insured.
  • COPD
    • To figure out what kind of rate you’d qualify for, grab your last pulmonary function test.  Your FEV1 percentage will tell the tale.  To get a good standard rate, you’ll need an FEV1 result greater than 60%. If you’re in the 50s or 40s, you may still qualify, but at a lower “table” or rate class within the “Standard” designation.
  • Epilepsy
    • Your acceptance and your rate are going to be based on the type of seizures you have and when you had your last seizure.  Your medications and how well they’re helping you control your epilepsy will also factor into the equation.  Best case scenario, you could qualify for standard rates. 
  • Heart Disease
    • Shopping around is key for our clients with heart disease.  If you’ve had a stent or bypass, we may be able to get you standard rates.  We work with companies that do their homework.  For example, we worked with a dentist who had stent surgery 8 months ago.  One company turned him down outright, but we found a company rated A+ that had researched stents and knew most complications happen in the first 6 months.  Our client was home free!  We got him a $1,000,000 policy at a standard rate.
  • MS
    • Unlike diabetes, insurers want to see people who were diagnosed with multiple sclerosis a long time ago.   

If your risk comes from a diabetes diagnosis or from your history as a smoker, we’ve got more information about these two situations.

If you think you might be a high-risk candidate for life insurance, give us a call at 800-823-4852.  We’ll figure out whether that’s true, and if so, how to get you insured without paying a fortune. 

To get started, click the orange button for an instant, no-obligation quote.

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Sources:
DailyFinance.com: 7 Deadly Hobbies
Governors Highway Safety Association: New Study: No Progress in Reducing Motorcyclist Deaths
HSE.gov.uk: Risk Education Statistics
RiskManagementMonitor.com: The 10 Most Dangerous Jobs in America
Rootfin.com


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*Comparison of each carrier’s best published rates for a
10-year level term policy, 30-year-old non-smoking female


^Represents 10-year level term life insurance rates for 40-year-old female,
in good health, no tobacco, residing in Ohio.

R. Jan Pinney CLU, ChFC is a licensed life insurance agent in all states and the District of Columbia. The following agent license numbers are provided for R. Jan Pinney as required by state law: CA agent #0440057, LA agent #291116, MA agent #1674866, MN agent #20270113, UT agent #58330, agent R. Jan Pinney, DBA Pinney Insurance Services. Commercial use by others is prohibited by law. This site provides term quotes. Each rate is a quote based on information provided by the carrier. No portion of Trusted Quote may be copied, published, faxed, mailed or distributed in any manner for any purpose without prior written authorization of the owner.

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