High risk life insurance was designed to fulfill the insurance needs of people with dangerous hobbies, risky careers, serious health problems, bad lifestyle habits, or some other factor that increases danger or mortality risk. While insurance companies may classify you as high risk, finding affordable life insurance coverage may still be possible.
High risk life insurance companies specialize in providing risky individuals with affordable quotes and rates on policies they need to protect their loved ones financially. Learn more about the pros and cons of high risk life insurance to determine if it’s the best type of life insurance for you.
Before making your final life insurance purchase decision, make sure to look over our recommended best life insurance companies that are available to you!
What Is High Risk Life Insurance?
High risk life insurance is comprised of a myriad of life insurance types available to individuals who have a higher risk of passing away than the average person.
It is similar to traditional term or permanent life insurance, except in the way the policy is underwritten. You can buy a high risk term life insurance policy or whole policy – the only difference is that the insurance company will charge you a higher premium to take on the greater risk.
Here are a few examples of what carriers consider “high risk”.
Dangerous Jobs: By nature, some careers carry more risk to your mortality and health than others. Dangerous professions include: police officers, firefighters, aircraft pilots and flight engineers, farmers, loggers/lumber workers, missionaries, professional divers, deep sea fishermen, civilian contractors who work in war zones, underwater welders, pipeline workers, roofers, construction workers, truck drivers, and underground miners. If you work in one of these dangerous industries, you may need high risk life insurance.
Dangerous Habits: Although it is still fairly common, smoking can be deadly and may be considered high risk in your situation. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that smoking accounts for about 20% of American deaths annually, or approximately 480,000 deaths a year.
Therefore, smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes and chewing tobacco can result in a carrier rating you as higher risk. Perhaps more obviously, drug use is also not recommended, though something like marijuana has seen more relaxed coverage rules in the last few years.. Learn more about life insurance for smokers.
High Risk Hobbies: Your day-to-day life may be safe and low risk, but if your hobbies include extreme sports, drag racing, scuba diving, rock climbing, skydiving, speed boating, or hang gliding, insurance companies will still see you as a high risk. As an example, the U.S. Parachute Association reported 24 deaths in 2013 alone and 915 injuries requiring medical attention.
Major Health Problems: Examples of high risk diseases or health conditions include Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, HIV, multiple sclerosis, and pancreatic disease. These medical issues impact a number of families; in fact, 29 million Americans have diabetes alone. Learn more about life insurance for diabetics.
Age. The older you are, the lower remaining years you have left. Seniors are more likely to pass away than young adults, and young adults more likely than children. At some point, many carriers won’t even issue a policy, and if they do, it’s for a short duration, or for a small amount.
How Do Life Insurance Companies Calculate High Risk Life Insurance Quotes?
Life insurance companies consider a number of factors when calculating the cost of high risk life insurance policies, and each company has its own underwriting guidelines, processes and rates. The good news is that high risk insurance companies engage in very detailed assessments before providing policy quotes.
Below, you will find the information carriers analyze and consider when calculating your high risk life insurance quotes.
Detailed Job Risks
When assessing a high risk profession, companies will rely on more than just your job title or description. Carriers will review:
- Government reports from the U.S. Department of Statistics detailing the number of deaths and injuries for your industry.
- The company’s previous experiences insuring individuals with similar risk profiles and whether covering your high risk career yielded a profit or loss.
This statistical information will determine if the company believes it can earn a profit selling you a policy, and how much of a premium to charge.
Assessing High Risk Hobbies
For high risk hobbies that may affect your life insurance policy, companies ask you an involved set of questions. For instance, you may encounter the following questions:
- How many times a year do you engage in this hobby or sport?
- Are you certified or trained? Is there a governing body or association for this sport?
- How extreme of an enthusiast are you and to what degree do you take risk?
- Do you compete or gamble when enjoying this hobby?
To be more specific in the case of scuba diving, an insurance company will probably ask a series of questions about whether you are certified, the type of equipment you use, how often and deep do you go, where the dives take place, if you ever perform rescue or salvage dives and if you get paid.
In regards to lifestyle habits, insurance companies are most concerned about your smoking habits. Don’t mislead your insurance company because your life insurance medical exam and blood test will show signs of nicotine. Furthermore, a discrepancy in your application can cause an insurance company to deny future claims submitted by your beneficiaries.
Nonetheless, if you can demonstrate that you are more of an occasional smoker, carriers are encouraged to offer you preferred rates, but not cheap as you would get if you were a non-smoker or if you’ve quit smoking for at least 12 months.
If you have a pre-existing condition or serious health issue, some companies may outright deny you coverage, while others will request additional health information and obtain your medical records, including treatment plans.
With life insurance for cancer patients, a company may ask:
- When you were first diagnosed?
- If your cancer is in remission, is it partial or complete remission and for how long?
- Do you have any other existing medical conditions or illnesses?
- What medications are you taking? Are you experiencing any side effects?
- What were the results of recent medical follow-ups?
While it may feel natural to conceal as much information as you can from your insurer, sometimes giving the underwriter more information can actually help your case. To get the best high risk life insurance quote, do everything you can to demonstrate that you are stable and in control of your medical condition.
Otherwise, you may want to research guaranteed life insurance.
Should You Buy High Risk Insurance?
Before buying high risk life insurance, consumers should shop around and compare life insurance quotes online. By entering your zip code, choosing a company, and requesting a rate quote, you give yourself a better chance of finding the best high risk life insurance company with affordable rates.