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High Risk Occupations and Life Insurance

High rise window cleaner hanging next to the side of the building

Written By Doug Mitchell

Doug Mitchell, CLU holds a BA degree in Finance from Auburn University as well as having obtained a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation from The American College in Bryn Mahr, PA.  Doug has spent close to 30 years in the insurance and financial planning industry and has held licenses to sell securities, long-term care insurance, health.  Doug is also a financial blogger addressing the topics of life insurance, annuities and retirement income planning.

Holly Mitchell  &

Holly Mitchell’s background in life insurance insurance goes back to 1985 when she worked for her father who was a New York Life agent. Holly has a marketing degree from Auburn University and has had a life insurance license since 2008. In addition to advising life insurance for customers all around the country, Holly is our website fact checker.

Rob Pinner   &

Rob Pinner is the founder and CEO of Pinner Financial Services servicing all 50 states. Rob started his insurance career in 2002.

Louis LaBash

Results-driven and innovative life insurance professional with 30 plus years of life insurance industry sales and marketing experience. Recognized as a pioneer in the field, leveraging phone and internet channels to exceed personal sales of over $100 million during the first decade of the 21st century. Creator of a highly effective intuitive IUL life insurance sales software that facilitated the sale of millions of dollars of indexed universal policies by numerous life insurance agents. Proven track record as a Managing General Agent (MGA), Life Agent, IUL Life Insurance Sales Software developer, and leading-edge creator of insurance marketing tools, educational content, and delivery systems.

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People don’t usually think about high risk occupations being a concern with insurance. It’s obvious that pre-existing health conditions, such as smoking or being overweight, cause providers to worry about their liability risk when discussing coverage options.

In those cases, insurance providers have every reason to be concerned since these types of policyholders would have a higher fatality rate. Consequently, this could lead to more insurance claims coming their way.

But a high risk occupation or hobby can also leave you lacking when it comes to life insurance.

Or, you may end up paying costly monthly payments – in some cases up to four times higher or more – than those applicants life insurance companies consider “safe.”

What Is Considered A High-Risk Occupation?

High rise window cleaner hanging next to the side of the buildingWhen providers encounter applicants who are more likely to file an insurance claim, these individuals are then categorized as “high-risk.”

For instance, an applicant would be considered high-risk if they engage in a dangerous hobby that increases their odds of perishing.

However, realize that this high-risk categorization impacts various forms of coverage (home or renters, auto, health, and life) in different capacities.

Any of the following scenarios could earn you the label of “high-risk”:

  1. An increase in premium for the policy’s term or for a specific time frame.
  2. An outright decline of coverage.
  3. A decline on a specific add-on provision while still being underwritten. For example, if you have a dangerous job, you may still qualify for life insurance (and avoid the high-risk label). However, you may not be deemed a good fit for the waiver of premium (a clause waiving your obligation to pay monthly payments if you suffer from an illness or become disabled) due to your job.

Are You At Risk?

Obvious factors, like smoking, drinking excessively, being overweight, taking certain medications (like anti-depressants) and a severe health history can easily land you in this high-risk category.

However, it’s quite possible that your job could also earn you the rating of high risk. That’s because some hazardous occupations involve a higher risk of perishing on the job than others.

The jobs that insurance companies consider to be high-risk are many the U.S. Bureau of Statistics says carry the highest rates of job-related accidents and deaths.

These occupations include the following:

  1. Police Officers: Municipal police officers are not labeled high-risk unless they work in a special unit, like the bomb squad or SWAT team. State troopers and county sheriffs may be rated high-risk, but it depends on their state’s regulations.
  2. Firefighters: Municipal fire firefighters are not labeled high-risk, but firefighters in a mine and on an oil rig will be rated high-risk.
  3. Underground Miners. Most people think of mining as a job of the past, but there are still millions of underground miners today. According to some studies, 50 to 60 miners die every year on the job.
  4. Pilots. Private and commercial pilots are both considered high-risk jobs by many insurance companies.
  5. Agriculture and Forestry. Logging is often labeled a high-risk occupation. And in some regions, farmers and ranchers are deemed high-risk by insurance providers.
  6. Construction Workers. Work that involves structural steel or being part of a highway construction crew earns the label high-risk. Otherwise, traditional construction (building homes, etc.) work is not generally considered high-risk.
  7. Offshore Oil Rig Workers. Onshore rig or refinery workers are in the clear.
  8. Offshore Commercial Fishermen. Just about anyone in a small boat (most private or family-owned fishermen) gets rated high-risk pretty quickly. But, there are cases where even if you’re on a big boat (crab fishermen), you could still be labeled high-risk. If you stick to fishing in-shore, you’re good.

What Are Your Options?

First, see if your insurance carrier can offer you a formalized exclusion to maintain low rates. So, if death does occur while the high-risk occupation is recorded as the exclusion, named beneficiaries won’t be able to take advantage of the payout.

For example, let’s say a pilot applies for an aviation exclusion. However, air-related claims would only be covered if the pilot schedules a commercial flight for personal reasons, not business.

Hobbies Can Hurt, Too

Insurance providers do not only look at your dangerous occupation when considering high risk. High-risk hobbies may end up paying more expensive premiums, too.

These– and similar adrenaline-producing hobbies – could dramatically raise your insurance rates:

If, and to what extent, a hobby may impact rates typically varies from provider to provider.

Most companies factor in participation frequency, the location of the hobby, and relevant variables, such as if you engage in speeding or how high up the bungee spot is.

Just remember, insurance providers will ask you A LOT of questions about your hobby on your application. Especially if it is generally considered dangerous or thrilling.

Why High-Risk Occupations Hurt Your Wallet

High-risk jobs and extreme hobbies can certainly leave a dent in your bank account.

If your occupation, hobby, or current state of health lead to being labeled high-risk by an insurance carrier, you could end up with premiums $2 to $5 more per thousand dollars of coverage, depending on the insurance company in question.

The $2 – $5 mark might not sound like much right now, but imagine you’re going to get $1 million in insurance coverage. Before you know it, it’s really going to add up.

Luckily, there are some good options for you to consider. You don’t have to quit your high-risk job or take out a large loan to secure life insurance for you and your loved ones.

You need to pinpoint an insurance company that regularly works with high-risk clients and understands their situation. Finding one of those companies will save you hundreds of dollars every year.

High-Risk Clients and

Unless you want to go to each insurance company and explain your job to get a quote, the best way to go about getting insurance protection is to work with an independent agency.

We know which specific insurance companies are better than others. We can save you hours of talking to companies and listening to agents trying to sell you expensive coverage.

If you’ve been quoted with expensive premiums before, don’t think it’s your only option. Even if an insurance company denied your application, you can still get quality life insurance.

There are always options, like guaranteed coverage. These plans won’t ask about your job. They will never know what your occupation is, and you won’t be declined.

As you probably guessed, there are some drawbacks of guaranteed acceptance life insurance. They are more expensive and have low coverage limits.

This means guaranteed acceptance policies don’t work for everyone. If you have questions about these plans, we can help you determine if they match your needs.

Bottom Line

Go ahead and make one call to us and we’ll handle the rest. We aren’t pushy sells people trying to rope you into a sub-par plan with high premiums.

We pride ourselves on the ability to work with every applicant and leave them with a quality insurance plan for a price they can afford.

Want to speak with us regarding your life insurance needs? Fill out the form on this page or call us at 800-712-8519.

Doug Mitchell, CLU

Doug Mitchell, CLU

Doug Mitchell, CLU holds a BA degree in Finance from Auburn University as well as having obtained a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation from The American College in Bryn Mahr, PA. Doug has spent close to 30 years in the life insurance and financial planning industry and has held licenses to sell securities, long-term care insurance, health. Some other notable items about Doug: Top of the Table Million Dollar Round Table member (MDRT). (MDRT is a global, independent association of the world’s leading life insurance advisors) | Premier Partner with Lincoln Financial and Cabinet Member | Served two years as President of the Auburn/Opelika Association of Financial Advisors | Life Millionaire status at Horace Mann Insurance Company and was awarded the Life Agent of the Year Award | New York Life, Executive Council Member | Currently serves as President of Ogletree Financial, a life insurance General Agency. | Doug is also a financial blogger addressing the topics of life insurance, annuities and retirement income planning.

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