As a firefighter, you’re putting your life in jeopardy every time you do your job. You may enter burning buildings which are filled with deadly smoke and rescue people from dangerous situations. So, should life insurance for firefighters be more expensive and harder to get approved for?
Life insurance companies don’t always rate firefighters differently than people with other occupations. Firefighters looking for life insurance are, however, assessed based on their medical history, driving history and criminal history like everyone else.
Most people who work in high risk occupations usually pay a flat extra fee. This would mean an extra cost per thousand of coverage over a specified amount of time. However, many life insurance companies give those who serve and protect a break when they’re buying life insurance.
Getting Cheaper Life Insurance for Firefighters
Because approximately 70 firefighters die every year, you might want to reconsider your life insurance plans if you are a firefighter without life insurance. This numbers is closer to 100 when you count volunteer firefighters, so they are not excluded.
Even if life insurance is provided with the job, you may need to supplement with private life insurance based on how much death benefit you’re offered. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the average yearly salary for firefighters was about $46,000 in 2014. Typically, it’s suggested to have 7-10x your income in life insurance, so this would be a range of $322,000, up to $460,000 of death benefit based on this salary.
Safety is important for firefighters. The occupation demands individuals have some emergency medical training and pass written and physical tests to evaluate their ability to perform in this dangerous environment.
This usually means firefighters are more representative of healthier individuals, but fighting fires leads to injury or death from accidents, regardless, because of the nature of the job. It’s long days, hard hours at work, and usually multiple days of work in a row.
The cause of death for most firefighters is not fires and burns. Automobile crashes are a common cause of death for firefighters. The leading cause of death for firefighters is overexertion and stress associated with the job. In 2015, 51% of firefighters died from sudden cardiac arrest.
Making sure you’re in excellent physical health can not only help you do your job but also help you obtain life insurance.
Considerations for the Application Process
If you know you need life insurance to protect your family in case you’re not around, where do you begin? How do you get the best rate possible?
To start, you’ll need to decide whether you want whole life (or permanent) insurance or term life insurance. Term life insurance only covers you for a set amount of time, and is cheaper. Permanent life insurance covers you for as long as you live, but it more costly. If you expect to change careers at a certain time, term life insurance may be preferable. However, if an injury on the job puts you at a higher risk of mortality in the future, your rate may increase when you renew your coverage.
What questions will you be asked during the application process? Like most people applying for life insurance, you’ll be asked to provide the following information:
- Lifestyle habits
- Exercise habits
- Occupation (and duties)
- Tobacco Use
- Health Risks
- Family Health Risks
- Criminal Record
- Driving Record
If you are applying for life insurance which does not require a physical exam, don’t lie about your health. Your policy could be canceled if you don’t provide accurate information. You could also be flagged by the company. This would alert other life insurance companies you lied about the facts. Also be prepared to pay a small amount more per thousand.
If you do need to undergo a physical exam, what should you expect?
The third party medical professional will confirm your height and weight, check your urine, take your blood pressure, perform a blood test and listen to your heartbeat. You may be asked to perform a stress test, during which your respiration and heart rate will be tested while you exercise. This likely won’t be a problem, because your job requires you to be in peak physical shape, but helps to uncover unknown conditions.
How to Get the Best Ratings
The underwriter will look over your application and any information collected during the medical exam. Your physician may even be required to submit information about your medical history. You will be assigned a rating based on your risk of dying from health and lifestyle concerns. The lower the rating, the less you’ll pay for life insurance premiums.
Some companies don’t increase the rates for firefighters. However, others may. The best way to get the lowest rates is to compare multiple policies with a variety of companies. We help you do this.
If you’re concerned about your health, there are several ways to reduce your risk and qualify for a lower premium. If you smoke, quitting smoking can extend your life expectancy and lower your life insurance payments. If you don’t fall within a healthy weight, you can improve the affordability of life insurance by losing weight. Drinking less alcohol can also lower your mortality risk. You’ll be rewarded for making healthy lifestyle changes.
Some life insurance policies offer riders. Riders provide additional coverage for specific circumstances. Not all riders make financial sense for firefighters, though something like waiver of premium might, which covers your policy premiums should you be disabled and without pay for a certain duration. Get quotes with and without riders to find out your best options.
Another way to lower your premiums is to pay annually. While quarterly is the most expensive way to pay your premiums, annually is the cheapest. Most companies offer 5-8% discount if you pay once per year. You can also look to see if you have the possibility to pay with a credit card and get additional bonuses from your credit card company.
Don’t hesitate to seek life insurance coverage just because you have a higher risk occupation. The only way to know exactly what you qualify for is to complete the application process. Filing an application with an independent agent, like us, allows you to compare multiple policies for the best rates.
If you do have concerns about your health or your risks, share them with us from the start. This way, you’ll be able to get the best policy for your specific needs. Contact us to find out how you can get the best life insurance as a firefighter today.