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Life Insurance For High Risk Occupations

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Do you have a high risk job? Does your employer not offer life insurance?

While many people simply clock in to work and sit in a cubicle, you might spend your days on a boat in the middle of the ocean or piloting an aircraft. If your job involves any of several types of hazards many other people don’t have to worry about, it’s no wonder you may be curious whether you can get life insurance at the same rates.

Most people can obtain life insurance for high risk occupations, but the job and its requirements will determine the cost.

To get affordable coverage, it helps if you work with a life insurance agency who is experienced in working with individuals in these high risk categories.

Life Insurance For High Risk Occupations: Are You Uninsurable?

First, how do you know if you’re in a high risk occupation?

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, one way to look at it is based on the total number of job fatalities each year.

Truck drivers have the most fatalities per year, followed by construction workers, farmers, policeman and firefighters, steel workers, fisherman, and even cashiers.

Doctors, nurses and those in the military have frequent questions about their occupational risks.

However, life insurance companies also take into account the risk of experiencing a non-fatal injury and the rate of accidents compared with the number of people who work a particular job.

Commercial fishers are at the greatest risk of fatal injury, followed by timber cutters and airplane pilots. However, electricians, roofers and taxicab drivers also work in dangerous jobs. Even cashiers have a similar total fatality count as airplane pilots per year. However, because there are fewer pilots working in the U.S. than cashiers, the fatality rate for airplane pilots is higher than for cashiers.

The risks involved in some occupations can lead to life threatening injuries or long term disabilities. Just because you work in a higher risk job, you’re not necessarily going to have a hard time finding life insurance. Different jobs involve a different level of risk.

Some employers offer their employees coverage, others done. And even when they do, it’s not always enough. Now you’re stuck searching for a policy (or filling the gap) on your own. Overwhelmed?

When you work with a life insurance company, you will be asked a wide variety of questions to determine your specific risk.

What Life Insurance Companies Look For In Dangerous Jobs

Life insurance companies typically look at the likelihood of you dying while performing your occupational duties. This is based on the statistics discussed above. However, life insurance agencies should assess your risk individually.

Just like every candidate’s health is assessed on an individual basis, so is the risk associated with your occupation.
Some of the questions that you may be asked if you’re applying for life insurance are:

  • How often do you engage in dangerous tasks?
  • What activities are required during your job?
  • What does a typical day on the job look like?
  • What type of environment do you work in?
  • What type of safety gear is available to you?
  • What safety measures and guidelines do you follow?
  • Are you continually trained in safety measures?
  • Do you have higher levels of certification?
  • Do you work with chemicals?
  • Do you work with machinery?

You will also be asked questions corresponding with your particular occupation. If you’re an airplane pilot, for example, you will have to answer the following questions, and more:

  1. What type of aircraft do you fly?
  2. What type of instrument rating do you have?
  3. How many in-flight hours do you log in a typical year?
  4. What cities or countries do you fly to and from?

You will also have to undergo a standard medical exam. Your results will put you in a standard category for health, unless you use tobacco, which has its own set of ratings. These range from Preferred PLus, for individuals who are in perfect health, to Standard or Sub-Standard, and then the separate smoker categories.

Different companies may call these categories something different, but there are generally three or four categories based on your body mass index and health conditions, medical history, family history, and driving record.

Common Results

You have probably heard your life insurance rates will be lower when you’re in good health and live a relatively safe lifestyle. You may not necessarily see a linear increase in your life insurance rates just because you work in a high risk occupation.

On top of the classification which has been assigned to you based on your health assessment, a table rating could be assigned. This allows the insurer to increase your rate based on the expected risk, and it follows a linear increase per level of risk. A table rating of 1, or A, will typically increase by 25% over the initial premium. A table rating of 10, or J, will add 250% to the initial premium.

The underwriter who is reviewing your case will assign your table rating based on your risk assessment, if one is necessary.

A flat extra fee may also determine your life insurance premium. The flat extra fee is applied to the initial premium for a certain period of time, from 1 year to 10. If you’ll only be working in your high risk occupation for the next few years, the flat extra fee may only cover those years.

Most of the time, the table rating is assigned based on your health, and a flat extra fee is applied based on the risk factors of your occupation. However, just one or both may be applied depending on your situation.

What To Do Next

If you are going to need high risk underwriting, an independent agent can help you get the coverage you need. Independent agents can connect you with multiple companies, giving you a better chance of being approved and paying the lowest premium available to your particular set of circumstances.

Some other ways to maximize your potential for the best life insurance coverage while work a high risk career are as follows:

Find out if you need a medical exam. In some cases, a medical exam will bring the cost of your policy down, especially if you’re in peak condition. Some policies don’t require a medical exam. However, those may be much more expensive than those that require extensive underwriting.

Pay annually instead of monthly. The more you pay at once, the more you could potentially save. Many companies provide a discount for individuals who pay a lump sum.

Be informed. Make sure that you’re able to provide detailed answers to questions about your medical history and occupational activities. If you aren’t sure what safety measures are in place where you work, you might not be approved as easily as someone who is able to list all of the safety rules at the workplace.

Here’s another little trick: when you do secure life insurance, ask for a reconsideration every year. You may be able to undergo another medical exam, or your situation at work may have changed. If your risk level has diminished, you may qualify for a lower rate.

Contact us to find out how we can help you secure the best life insurance pertaining to your job today.


Jason Fisher

Jason Fisher is the founder and CEO of, LLC. and a multi-state licensed life insurance agent who has helped over a million Americans seek out affordable coverage, compare quotes, or get their family and businesses covered.

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