Your Life Insurance Rate & You: The Risk Takers
Lightning strikes and shark attacks and winning the lottery – Oh my!
Two big things to keep in mind:
1) None of these are likely to happen to you. (The odds of winning the lottery alone are 175 million to 1.) 2) Occasionally playing in the rain, swimming in the ocean, or buying a lotto ticket won’t affect your life insurance rate.
Bungee jumping and kayaking and skydiving – Oh my! These 3 are a different story when it comes to determining your life insurance rate! When you apply for a life insurance policy, the underwriting process involves reviewing a variety of different factors about you – your age, gender, family health history, lifestyle, etc. The underwriters need to help your potential insurer determine what kind of risk you pose to the insurance company.
What are insurance companies looking for? Ideally, someone who is young, healthy, and will not likely need their policy payout soon. These are the individuals who typically enjoy the lowest insurance rates. However, it’s important to note that no matter your age or how healthy you are, if you engage in some risky hobbies, they have the potential to bungee you right out of the easy-to-insure category.
Let’s take a look at skydiving, for instance. You voluntarily:
Strap a giant piece of cloth stuffed in a bag to your back.
Get into an airplane, take off, and then open the door mid-flight.
Approach said open door of the plane.
Jump. Out. Of the plane. Roughly 13,000 feet above the ground.
And we’re not even addressing the part where you trust the giant piece of folded up cloth to deploy correctly and carry you safely to the ground! This is textbook risky. (And certainly just one way to look at skydiving – most insurers don’t care that this might be a big check mark on your bucket list.)
When you raise your odds of being in harm’s way, you raise your life insurance rate – and sometimes your inability to be approved for a policy at all. In 2016, 1 in 153,557 skydiving jumps resulted in a fatality in the US. While these odds are not as likely as the odds of getting your cheek pinched by Great Aunt Gladys at Thanksgiving or seeing a brand new Porsche taking up two parking spaces at the mall on Black Friday, it’s a lot more likely than your lottery odds, to be sure.
And willingly leaping out of a plane is going to raise a red flag for any insurer.
Some other risky hobbies that may have an impact on your life insurance rate or policy approval:
Hot air ballooning
Car racing, boat racing, bike racing
Skiing and snowboarding
If you enjoy living a bit more adventurously than most, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get life insurance to protect your future and your loved ones. Working with an independent financial professional gives you an advantage: you’ll have multiple products and insurers to work with. This isn’t a guarantee for success, but finding a life insurance policy that suits your lifestyle isn’t an impossible task. You should take that leap sometime soon. Why not start today? (Parachute optional!)
Sources: The Balance: “What Are the Odds of Winning the Lottery?” 11.7.2017
NBC News: “Great White Hype – What Are the Odds of Being Killed by a Shark?” 6.25.2017
CBS: “Odds of winning Powerball jackpot less than being hit by lightning — twice.” 1.12.2016
HowStuffWorks: “How Skydiving Works.” 2017
USPA: “Who Skydives?” 4.2017