Everyone has hobbies, some riskier than others.
Take scuba diving, flying helicopters, or rock climbing for example.
Taking risks can be fun, exhilarating, and chock full of unforgettable memories.
Though the thought of jumping out of a plane voluntarily might terrify some people, it’s the type of experience many adventurers seek out.
While risky hobbies might add excitement to your life, they can also add to the amount you pay for life insurance.
Hobbies affect life insurance because they can add additional risk to an otherwise risk-free applicant.
Additional risk translates to additional premiums.
Even if you’re in perfect health, the activities and hobbies you participate in could make you slightly harder to insure.
But we know the best life insurance companies for each hobby.
In the guide below, you can click on the hobby you’re active in for more information and best practices.
How Activities And Hobbies Affect Life Insurance Rates
When you apply for coverage, the life insurance carrier will set out to determine how much to charge you for your policy, placing you in a specific rating class based on your health and lifestyle.
The company’s main goal in doing so is to determine how much of a risk they are taking by insuring you, so the hobbies you enjoy will naturally impact your premiums if they are risky ones.
Alongside those risks, the company will look at your family history, health conditions, height, weight, and age to establish your rating class and set your premiums.
If you frequently scale the sides of mountains, swim among the creatures of the deep blue sea and jump out of planes, your odds of an unnatural death are a bit higher than the average person idling on the couch reading about the types of adventures you’re living.
And, even each hobby has a scale of how little or great of a risk you post, based on qualifications, safety precautions, training and more.
Each life insurance company will ask a series of questions on their applications to gauge your lifestyle choices, among them your extracurricular activities.
If you answer “Yes” to any one of these questions, you’ll be asked to fill out what is called an avocation questionnaire.
An avocation question questionnaire is used to identify what hobbies you’re active in, to what extent you’re involved, what safety precautions you practice, and what your level of expertise is.
The greater detail you can give to the underwriter via the avocation questionnaire supplied, the better. If you can convey to the life insurance company that you practice your hobbies with the appropriate amount of caution, you’re far more likely to get a better rating.
Conversely, any unknowns you provide in your avocation questionnaire will be frowned upon by the policy underwriter, resulting in a worse rating or even a failure to make an offer.
In other words, if the underwriter can’t assess the total amount of risk, they simply can’t approve you until this information is given.
While it may be tempting to leave out your hobbies completely from the application, you would be taking a risk that is in no way worth it.
If you were to leave out your extracurriculars, in the event that you pass away during the policy’s contestability period, your insurance carrier could deny your claim and essentially void your policy.
How Hobbies Are Priced
The most confusing part about buying life insurance where hazardous activities or hobbies are present is understanding the pricing model. But don’t let that deter you; we’ll simplify how premiums work for you.
Once the underwriter has done their due diligence in assessing your health and lifestyle, they will place you into a rating class and provide you with an insurance quote.
There are two components to the premium you’re being quoted:
- The base premium
- The flat extra
Let’s take a look at what both of those components entail:
When you’re discussing the premiums with the agent, the first component is the base premium, which is what price you’d pay based on the rating alone.
For example, there is a single price at Preferred Best, Preferred, Standard Plus, Standard, or Sub-Standard (the category for individuals who are in poor health or other high risk categories).
The Standard class is considered the average, and the categories above it all offer discounted rates for those who qualify based on health, family history, driving record, and other requirements.
Flat Extra Fees
Flat extra fees, usually just called the flat extra, are additional costs attached to the base premium.
They are calculated as a dollar amount per thousand of coverage, added on an annual basis. Let’s break that amount down.
The fee is a dollar amount, like $1.50, multiplied by the number of thousands in coverage ($250,000 is 250 units of 1,000), added annually. Mathematically, it looks like this:
250 units x $1.50 = $375 flat annual fee
If you were requesting monthly payments, this amount is simply divided by 12 and added on to your base premium amount.
To drive it home even further, let’s look at a scenario.
Meet Tim. Tim is a rock climber who climbs several times per month. He uses safety equipment, follows safe climbing routes, and makes sure to always climb with a friend.
Once or twice a year, he vacations with his local club to higher altitude climbs.
Other than his climbing risk factors, he is in perfect health and has no family history of heart disease, diabetes, or cancer.
Based on this information, and more, his underwriter has determined he is a Standard class risk, with a flat extra of $2.50.
Tim is a 35-year-old male, looking for $500,000 in coverage for 20 years.
Here is the breakdown of his premiums due:
|Base Premium||Flat Extra Charge||Flat Extra Fee||Total|
The calculation is $519 + ($2.50 x 500) = $1,769.
Keep in mind, not every carrier will assess risk the same. Some companies weigh particular hobbies differently than others.
Flat extra fees can range from $1.00 per thousand up to $10.00 and can be assessed for different time periods.
A flat extra can be assessed for a certain number of years, like 5, where it would go away after 60 months, or it can remain on the policy permanently.
When it comes to the time period assessment for hobbies, it’s typically not given unless there is a definitive end to your participation in the risky activity in the future.
So if you’ve decided to hang up your climbing boots next year or leave your piloting days in the past, your flat extra could eventually be downgraded.
Full List Of Hobbies Affecting Life Insurance Premiums
At this point, you may be wondering if your hobby makes the risk list.
While each carrier is unique, they generally have the same opinion of the hobbies below, classifying them as risky.
If you participate in any of the activities below, your life insurance premiums will be affected.
- Scuba Diving
- Sky Diving
- Base Jumping
- Hang Gliding
- Rock Climbing / Mountaineering
- Flying / Piloting
- Helicopter Piloting
Just because you enjoy living life on the edge doesn’t mean you can’t find ample life insurance coverage at an affordable rate.
We can connect you with life insurance companies across the board and give you quick access to quotes on the rates available to you today.
As you begin the process of applying for life insurance with high-risk hobbies, remember to be as honest and thorough as you can in your responses.
Still have questions about getting coverage with high-risk hobbies? You can contact us for all your life insurance queries and we’ll be happy to advise you.