Life can be a risky business at the best of times. If you have a dangerous profession, hobby, high risk lifestyle habits, a serious health condition, or simply have lived a long time, you may be considered high risk. If this describes you, then you need to know about high risk life insurance.
Examples of High Risk
- Smoking: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that 45.3 million adult Americans over the age of 18 smoke cigarettes. This habit accounts for 1 in 5 deaths in the U.S. annually, equivalent to 443,000 people.
- Skydiving: In 2012, the U.S. Parachute Association reported 21 fatalities; 1,308 association members reported injuries requiring medical attention.
- Multiple sclerosis: In 2011, The National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society reported that nearly 400,000 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with the disease. The majority of MS symptoms first appear between 20 and 40 years of age.
What Is High Risk Life Insurance?
High risk life insurance is life insurance coverage that is available for those who are considered a higher risk to insure than other people. What defines a risk category? There are several categories that are considered high risk. They include:
- High risk professions: Many occupations can put you into the higher risk category. People in high risk professions include underwater welders, underground miners and firefighters.
- High risk hobbies: You may work at a safe job during the week, but you may still be considered high risk if your weekends involve hobbies such as skydiving, scuba diving or racing cars.
- High risk habits: Some of your lifestyle habits might be high risk, such as smoking cigarettes or cigars, or chewing tobacco.
- High risk diseases: If you have been diagnosed with a serious or life threatening disease such as cancer, pancreatic disease, epilepsy, diabetes, or Alzheimer’s, you are most likely considered high risk.
The good news is that there are a number of insurance companies that specialize in high risk life insurance coverage. This means that getting the life insurance you need is not out of the question, regardless of your profession, hobbies, habits, illnesses or advanced age.
What Do High Risk Life Insurance Companies Look For?
Each life insurance category has its own requirements and restrictions set by the insurance companies. If you fall into a high risk category, there are many different factors that a life insurance company will consider depending on the particular risk involved, and this can also vary considerably from company to company.
The following are a few examples to give you an idea what life insurance companies look for before they offer high risk insurance quotes for you to consider.
- High risk profession: With a high risk job such as a logger or seagoing fisherman and many other high risk occupations, life insurance companies usually consider two key factors in putting together a quote:
- Reports based on the U.S Department of Statistics that provide detailed information and injury/death statistics per occupation.
- Experiences that company has insuring people in these higher risk professions.
- High risk hobbies: Again, it depends on the hobby and the risk involved, but as an example here are some questions a high risk life insurance company might ask you if you scuba dive:
- How many dives do you do each year, on average?
- What is the average depth of your dives and what is your deepest dive?
- Do you scuba dive in an overhead environment such as a shipwreck, cave, under ice or perform underwater salvage?
- Do you perform rescue diving or dive for pay?
- Do you have any certifications?
- High risk habits: If you are a regular smoker of cigarettes or cigars, you will fall into the high risk category. Here are some important things to know:
- If you’ve quit for a period of time such as a year or more you can typically get better rates.
- Some life insurance companies will give you preferred rates if you only smoke occasionally (less than a few per year) and this can apply to cigarettes, cigars or chewing tobacco.
- Remember, being truthful with your insurance company when asked questions about your health and habits is crucial, or you may risk having your policy canceled. Life insurance policies are subject to a two-year contestability period during which your life insurance company can cancel your policy or deny a life insurance claim if you are found to have falsified information on your application.
- High risk illness: If you have been diagnosed with a high risk disease, you will also be asked an assortment of health questions that pertain to the particular illness. For example, if you have cancer, an insurance company might ask the following:
- When were you first diagnosed?
- If in remission, how long?
- What medications are you currently taking?
- Do you have any other existing medical conditions?
- What was the date of your last treatment?
- What was the result of any further medical follow-ups?
In the case of a high risk illness, such as cancer, the insurance company will likely obtain any medical records from your doctors, copies of treatment plans that may document how well you followed up on the doctor’s recommendations, as well as the pathology report from your oncologist.
There are many variables high risk life insurance companies use to make a decision. Life insurance may be hard to find in these scenarios, so your best bet is to work with a member agent in the Trusted Choice network. These agents have access to many insurance companies and can look for companies that may cover you. Independent agents advocate for you and will make every attempt to find a plan that meets your individual needs.