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High Risk Activities That Increase Life Insurance Premiums

high risk life insurance

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.

Table of Contents

A variety of different factors are considered when underwriters are analyzing an applicant for approval for coverage.

In addition to the standard health conditions that are reviewed, an applicant’s occupation and outside activities are also considered. As these can have an effect on the individual’s life expectancy.

High-Risk Activities and Life Insurance

In many cases, activities such as jogging or swimming will not typically cause the underwriters concern.

In other instances, however, an applicant’s activities can be cause for a policy to be rated or even denied for approval altogether.

Race Car Drivers

One profession that is considered to be of high-risk to life insurance underwriters is race car driving. There are several reasons for this. First, these individuals are at a much higher risk of crashing.

There are other risks that many may not be aware of. For example, because race car drivers are sitting for long periods of time, they also have lower life expectancies than people who stand more often.

This is because people who sit for long stretches of time are at a higher risk of developing blood clots due to inactivity. These clots could essentially break free, causing a stroke – or even death – should it rush to the brain.

Rock and Mountain Climbers

Rock and mountain climbing is not considered to be dangerous in and of itself. But it can have some deadly components. It causes an average of 25 people to die in the United States each year.

This causes life insurance underwriters to more carefully analyze applications that list rock and mountain climbing as an activity.

Those who are approved for coverage may be required to pay a “flat extra” premium amount for their policy. This means that for every $1,000 in life insurance coverage that they are approved for, they may need to pay an additional $3.00 in premium cost.

Likewise, they may also be able to avoid paying the flat extra premium amount by having an exclusion on their policy. This would include something that states that they will not participate in a particular risky activity.


Certainly, those who participate in skydiving understand that there are plenty of potential dangers involved in this activity. There’s a rush of excitement that comes along with each dive. But there are a number of things that could go wrong.

Similar to rock climbers and pilots, the underwriters will consider this activity. And will likely add an additional amount of premium to the cost of the policy. This is to help cover the additional amount of risk that the insurer is taking on.

Scuba Divers

While it may not appear that scuba diving is as risky as skydiving or race car driving, this sport does, in fact, carry some risks. Therefore, life insurance underwriters will also consider it a bit differently when seeing this activity listed on an individual’s application for coverage.

One of the biggest factors that come into play when underwriting a scuba diver is the depth at which they dive. This is because the deeper that a person goes, the less chance they have of survival if a problem should arise.

Other factors are also considered, too. For example, the more frequently a person dives, the more risk they face as well. One way to help lower their life insurance rates is to become certified. This shows that they have proven to be a knowledgeable and responsible diver.

What to Expect When Applying for Coverage

When applying for life insurance coverage, knowing what the underwriters are looking for can help get you through the underwriting process more smoothly.

For example, in most cases, the insurance company will need information in addition to that which is required on the standard application.

Therefore, you should be prepared to answer more in-depth questions regarding any accidents that you have had and/or any medical procedures you have received in relation to your activity or occupation.

Aside from the questions about your hobbies, they will also ask you about your health. In fact, your health is going to be one of the biggest determining factors in how much you pay for your life insurance coverage.

After you finish the initial paperwork for the policy, the company is going to call and conduct a health questionnaire.

Afterward, the insurance company will require a medical exam (unless you choose a no exam policy). The company will appoint a registered nurse or paramedic to come to your home and do the medical exam.

During the medical exam, the paramedic is going to take your basic vitals, like your blood pressure, heart rate, weight, and they will also take a blood sample and urine sample.

The results of the exam play an important role in how much you pay every month for your plan.

Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance

Each type of plan has different advantages.

If you involved in several high-risk hobbies or activities, then you may have been declined for life insurance in the past. That doesn’t mean you can’t get a life insurance plan to protect your family.

One option for life insurance (regardless of your hobbies) is to buy a guaranteed issue policy. These policies don’t have any health questions or medical exam. All you have to do is answer a few basic questions about yourself, then you have insurance protection.

This might sound like the perfect plan, but there are a couple pitfalls to these policies you should be aware before getting guaranteed coverage.

The most notable disadvantage of these plans is their cost. Without the medical exam or the health questions, the insurance company is taking a greater risk to give you coverage. They will offset the risk by charging you much higher rates.

Working With The Right Agent Can Get You Covered

Even with all of the additional risks that are faced, working with an agent who specializes in high risks can also help in finding you the life insurance coverage that you need.

Although there are many insurers that will flat out deny coverage for those who participate in high-risk occupations or dangerous activities, there are others that provide it – it’s just a question of knowing where to look.

An agent who is experienced in working with higher risk cases (like being a military member) will also know how to submit your information in the best possible light. This way, your application will have a much better chance of being approved more quickly.

Every insurance company is different, and this goes for products, prices, and even availability. If you don’t know where to start, we recommend contacting a local broker, or an independent agent, like us, to do the leg work.

We can search for rates from all the major companies at once, saving you time (and, let’s be honest, money).

At BestLifeQuote, we specialize in life insurance for high-risk hobbies.

If you participate in any of the hobbies covered in this article and would like a quote for life insurance, you can use the life insurance calculator to compare rates.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is considered a high-risk activity by life insurance companies?

High-risk activities typically include hobbies or professions that involve a significant level of danger or increased likelihood of injury. Examples are skydiving, rock climbing, scuba diving, motor racing, and extreme sports. Each insurance company may have its list of activities they consider high-risk.

How do high-risk activities affect life insurance premiums?

Engaging in high-risk activities can lead to higher life insurance premiums, as insurers perceive an increased risk of a claim. The extent of the increase in premiums depends on the nature and frequency of the activity, as well as individual insurance company policies.

Can I get life insurance if I participate in high-risk activities?

Yes, you can still find life insurance if you participate in high-risk activities, but you need to search. Some insurers specialize in high-risk coverage, though premiums may be higher than standard policies.

Do I need to inform my life insurance provider about my high-risk hobbies?

Yes, it is crucial to disclose all high-risk activities when applying for life insurance. Failure to disclose such information can lead to a policy being voided or a claim being denied. Full transparency ensures you have the right coverage for your lifestyle.


Picture of 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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