Perhaps the most frequent question we get with regards to life insurance for pilots is the difference between recreational flying, and occupational or professional flying.
However, whether it’s a hobby or job, there are actually lots of very mutual risks between them.
There are actually many different factors to look at, and we’ll help you understand each of them so you can best describe your personal situation to the insurance company.
The more information you can provide, the greater likelihood of lower rates.
Life Insurance For Pilots
Flying is yet another activity which has an impact on life insurance rates for the applicants.
Fortunately, over the past few decades, life insurance for pilots has not only become easier to obtain, but rates have dropped drastically. While a few of the higher risk pilots will still pay more, many classes and ranks have only gotten more affordable.
We’ve all heard the statistics about how “flying is safer than driving” before. While it is, statistically, on the whole, more flight time raises the risk of this statistic.
This means pilots are riskier because they fly the most, though it’s definitely not the only factor.
Life Insurance for Private Plane Pilots
Though flying in a private plane may not be as dangerous as getting in the car, it is more hazardous than piloting with a commercial airline.
In some cases, you may be charged an additional fee on your life insurance premiums because of your job flying private planes.
Whether or not you pay what’s known as a flat extra, which we’ll discuss below, and how much you pay for life insurance overall, depends on several factors.
You’ll be asked specific questions about the terrain, the aircraft, your qualifications, and other considerations to decide what you pay.
Life Insurance for Helicopter Pilots
Likewise, helicopter pilots may have to pay more than commercial pilots or even small private plane pilots.
But again, whether or not you pay more will be based on your unique circumstances.
Helicopter pilots who are involved in rescue missions and fly in perilous conditions will incur higher rates than those who give helicopter tours in considerably safer areas.
That’s why the life insurance company you apply with will ask specific questions to pinpoint how risky your job or hobby is.
In addition to the standard application you fill out for life insurance, you’ll need to complete an additional form, called an avocation questionnaire.
An avocation questionnaire is required of all pilots, regardless of company applied to. There are several areas of concern you’ll need to clarify with your underwriter, and answering the questionnaire in depth will help you do it.
Below are some of the questions you will be required to answer:
- How long have you been a pilot (initial certification date)?
- What type of pilot are you?
- How many PIC hours do you log annually?
- How many PIC hours have you logged total?
- What type(s) of aircraft do you fly?
- Do fly under VFR, IFR, or both?
- Do you fly solo, co-pilot, or both?
- Do you fly any patterns of frequent hazardous terrain or weather?
- Have you ever had an accident or been fined?
You may be asked to supply documentation for any or all of these. It may be a pain, but the more documentation you can provide, the better result you can expect. Because of strict regulation, much of this information is logged anyway, but the responsibility lies with the insured to provide it.
Your Flight Experience
Your years of flight experience, tied to your pilot in command hours and certification level, establish your level of expertise. Your years of history aren’t as important, so as long as you have logged enough hours previously.
Your licensing, however, plays a bigger role. Students who are new will see some of the higher rates for basic flight patterns, where commercial pilots see the lowest rates.
Private pilots fall in between. It would seem counter intuitive because of the obvious increase in hours for private and commercial pilots compared to new pilots, but again, we’re speaking strictly on experience, not flight time. They are mutually exclusive.
Special class pilots, like those for emergency, agriculture or corporate crafts are all issued on a case-by-case basis, but you can expect a flat extra fee.
This flat extra fee is a dollar-cost increase, per thousand, attached to the base premium of the policy. Because these tend to be paid piloting, rather than for sport or recreation, licensing and certification information are key.
Any pilot who has been previously involved in an at-fault accident or received a fine may see higher premiums, depending on the event catalyst.
While commercial pilots can see little to no rating increases or fees, others may see as high as $5.00 flat extra fees per thousand of life insurance coverage. There are several factors here, like aircraft type, altitude, under terrain and more.
For those pilots who fly in atypical conditions, non-Class A flight space, or other irregular flight paths, your application can be taken on a case-by-case basis. Island hoppers, low altitude (G/E), and SAO patterns will have their own specific attributes you’ll need to clarify, for example.
Provided you have everything buttoned up in regards to your piloting, you still have to abide by the underwriting rules and regulations for health, financial and basic insurability tests.
Your health history has a direct impact on rates, obviously, as chronic or current health conditions can decrease life span. Your family health history is also a concern, as heart conditions, kidney disease, and diabetes are major concerns when they are present in your immediate family.
You’ll also be required to complete a physical in most every case, which entails your examiner measuring your height and weight (to calculate your BMI, or body mass index), blood pressure, and she’ll also take blood and urine.
Added to the mix are your Motor Vehicle Records, prescription records, and a background check for criminal activity or bankruptcy.
Once everything is complete and compiled, the underwriter will then be able to assess your risk and give you a final rating.
You need to use an independent agency, like ours, who is used to working slightly less common risks, like hobbies, occupations and health disorders.
To avoid unnecessary wait times and unwanted results, consider bypassing your local P&C agency, as they likely don’t have the same experience and expertise. We utilize more than 50 life insurance companies who are specifically more lenient.
Get a quote now to begin, or contact us to ask any questions.