If you’ve ever dreamt of climbing Mount Everest or envisioned yourself taking your motorcycle out and jumping over 15 cars in flames, you’ve probably then daydreamed about how that could affect your life insurance premiums.
Uh, no? Well, maybe you don’t live and breathe life insurance like I do. But I know the first thing I think of when I read about an incredible daredevil stunt in the papers or see one on TV — like Nik Wallenda’s recent tightrope trip in Chicago — I wonder what he or she is paying in life insurance premiums?
If you’ve ever been interested in taking extreme risks and wondered if you could still get life insurance, you probably can. Life insurance is pretty sophisticated when it comes to daredevil stuntmen. That wasn’t always the case. Back in 1971, Evel Knievel, the famed motorcyclist stuntman, told television’s iconic Dick Cavett, “I have trouble getting life insurance, accident insurance, hospitalization and even insurance for my automobile… Lloyd’s of London has rejected me 37 times, so if you hear the rumor that they insure anybody, don’t pay too much attention to it.”
Of course, to be fair, Knievel did get in a lot of accidents, breaking a lot of bones and sustaining concussions. Still, he died in 2007, at the age of 69, apparently from complications from diabetes and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. But I suspect he would have had coverage today, from somewhere — and if nowhere else, Lloyd’s of London, which, by the way, I offer through this site. And fun fact — before Evel Knievel became known for his stuntmanship, he was an insurance salesman. Perhaps you’re older and wondering if you can get the best life insurance for seniors. If so, we can help.
But, anyway, I suspect Knievel would do just fine with his life insurance these days because Nik Wallenda, the tightrope artist I just mentioned, has life insurance. As you may have seen, he recently walked on a rope, stretched out from two buildings, the tallest at 671 feet, and he went down a rope at a 19 degree incline to a building at 588 feet. I get vertigo just thinking about it. After that, he walked to another building on a tightrope — while blindfolded.
Wallenda was recently interviewed on The Dan Patrick Show, a radio program in XXXX, and the subject of life insurance came up. Patrick asked if Wallenda has life insurance, and the daredevil replied that he does. How heavy is that premium, Patrick asked.
Wallenda’s reply? “Pretty heavy.”
Wallenda added that he also has health insurance and liability. He also told the folks at Galding.com that he has life insurance. ” You can get anything for the right price,” he said.
And it’s almost true.
I hate saying “almost,” but there are always going to be some people who take crazy risks who have trouble getting life insurance.
Still, for most risk takers, life insurance is within reach, and if the daredevil lifestyle is your life, there are three factors that can help you, when it comes to getting life insurance.
Being experienced. I can guarantee you that if just about anyone out there decided one day to become a professional tight rope artist and had no relevant past in tightrope walking and listed that occupation on their life insurance form — and then they were asked for more details and disclosed that they were hoping to go into the type of rope walking Wallenda is famous for, they’d be denied.
All insurers accept that they’re insuring risk. If they didn’t insure risk, they’d go into another business. But they’re looking for acceptable risk. When Wallenda gets on a wire, due to a lifetime of training and practice, he knows what he’s doing. You, no offense, don’t.
Being in the mainstream. There are a lot of sports and pastimes considered dangerous — but enough people do them that the insurance industry is almost forced to throw up their hands and accept it.
If you decided to make wrestling gorillas your past time, and you noted that on your life insurance form, I guarantee you — you will be denied.
But then there’s scuba diving, which lots of people do. In fact, the Professional Association of Diving instructors estimates that there are probably between 1.6 and 2.9 million divers in the United States. It’s quite a range, I assume, because you’re always going to have divers giving up the sport and other people just discovering it. All in all, it’s a pretty safe sport, in the sense that out of those millions of people, annually, you can expect 150 deaths a year.
And yet, insurers don’t like it. Something to do with the fact that you’re putting yourself in a position where, if things go wrong, you could drown. Plenty can go amiss, in fact, from decompression sickness to defective equipment to a run-in with a shark.
But insurers will insure you. According to Undercurrent.org, a respected nonprofit for divers, generally if you dive no more than 100 feet or so, your life insurance rates won’t go up, and you probably will even get the preferred rate. If you routinely dive to 120 feet, you’ll probably pay $2.50 to $5 more a year, per $1,000 in coverage.
And, of course, it goes without saying, but I’d better say it — if you dive 120 feet or more, tell the truth about your underwater exploits. If something would happen to you on a diving trip, you’d better believe your life insurer will look into how your end came. If the insurance investigator discovers that you dove 150 feet, and you made it sound like 20 feet is as far down as you ever were likely to go, thanks to your efforts to save some money, your family could be left high and dry.
Then there’s hang gliding. Fun as heck, I can imagine, but from an insurer’s eyes, dangerous. For every thousand hang gliders, one usually bites the dust, every year, according to Wills Wing, a hang gliding manufacturer based out of Orange, California. I’ve insured paragliders successfully, as I mentioned in a post a while back. As it typically goes with scuba diving, I was able to get my client with a flat extra fee of five bucks per $1,000 of coverage. So for $100,000 in coverage, he had to spend an extra five hundred a year. For him, an avid paraglider who went out into the blue skies every weekend, it was presumably worth it. And I’ve heard of people paying an extra $2,000 a year in life insurance coverage, for what it’s worth.
Same goes for mountain climbing. Numbers vary, but expect to pay around $1,500 more a year, over your regular premium rates, according to some estimates out there, though I suspect some experienced climbers might pay less. Still, it’s been widely reported that even sherpas who work on Mount Everest, accompanying climbers to the peak, have life insurance. The policies apparently aren’t very good, but they are insured. So, yes, even if you take a lot of chances in mountain climbing, you can probably get life insurance.
Find a loophole. Most people aren’t Nik Wallenda and make risk-taking their life’s work, but of course, some people do. If you’re young and looking for a career in risk, and you want life insurance without paying exorbitant rates, you could always become a professional stuntman. (I have heard it’s a pretty tough gig. Hollywood stuntman John Stewart, who did stunts in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and a lot of films I haven’t heard of, like Children of the Corn 666: Isaac’s Return, did an interview with JobShadow.com, and basically told America’s youth to find something else for a career.
Still, if you’re a stuntman, as long as you’re a member of the Screen Actors Guild, you’ll automatically get life insurance.
Hollywood movies, in general, not surprisingly, are pretty well insured. Jackie Chan, several years ago, complained in an interview about insurance, saying, “I know that they want to make sure I’m safe when I do my stunts, but sometimes they insist that I use protective gear for even simple things, and that is frustrating. It takes so much time.”
On the other hand, Chan is still alive and well. My guess is he would have been fine without that protective gear, but who knows? Maybe in an alternate timeline, without it, he’d be six feet under.
Thrills and adrenaline rushes are part of what makes being alive so amazing. I get that. You get that. And even life insurers — well, they almost get it. These days, insurance companies are fine with taking extreme risks — as long as you take them as safely as possible.
No matter what type of coverage you need; even if it’s buying a final expense insurance policy, we can help. Call us today for a quote at 1-888-552-6159.