Just because your job title includes the word fisherman, you shouldn’t be automatically rated higher for life insurance. The activities you perform make a difference when it comes to obtaining life insurance, and your career is one of those main factors.
That said, if you work on a boat in the ocean or perform other potentially life threatening activities during your job, it may be harder for you to get life insurance than someone who has a lower risk occupation where accidents are far less likely. Life insurance for fisherman is more complex than a person working a desk job.
But, relax. We can help. It’s what we do.
How We Get Cheaper Life Insurance For Fisherman
A fisher or fisherman is someone who gathers fish or sea animals from a river, ocean or other body of water. The work is strenuous, the hours are long and the conditions are often extremely hazardous. In fact, commercial fishing is one of the most dangerous job categories in the world.
If you’re a commercial fisher, your family probably relies on your income. It is crucial you have life insurance to cover your loved ones in case of an accident or fatality. Fortunately, finding the right life insurance plan for you doesn’t have to be as challenging as you think.
Many television shows depict the dangers of being a commercial fisherman. Fishermen risk getting caught in storms or swept off the deck. The conditions are harsh, and workers don’t always have a chance to rest. They are often required to work long shifts without getting enough sleep in between. Fishermen have limited access to medical care while aboard their vessels.
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports there were more fatalities in the fishing industry than in any other occupation from 2005 to 2009. Most of the deaths resulted from capsized vessels and drowning.
Other types of fishermen include:
Crab Fishermen –States with the most crab fishing deaths are Oregon, Alaska, Washington and California. Crab fishermen often must fish during the winter months, when the weather is even more unpredictable than usual.
Lobster Fishermen – This occupation is categorized under the shellfish fishing industry.
Shrimp Fishermen – Also classified within the shellfish fishing industry, shrimp fishermen are most likely to die in water transportation accidents.
When fishermen get hurt offshore, they don’t often have immediate access to comprehensive medical care. This increases their risk of dying from their injuries. If they die after making it back to shore, their families may have to continue to make payments for the medical care they received.
If you work in one of the most dangerous occupations in the world, it makes sense you should have the best access to life insurance. However, it’s not always the case.
And life insurance companies know the risks, too.
Obtaining Life Insurance: The Process
If you’re a fisherman looking for life insurance, you will probably get a better rate when you work with a company who is experienced with working with fishermen.
The right company will base your rate on the actual activities you perform as opposed to the name of your occupation. Working with an independent agent, like us, can also yield you much lower rates because of access to so many carriers.
Every life insurance company has different guidelines for underwriting. When you seek out coverage, you may have to answer a different set of questions if you’re comparing the benefits from several companies.
You will be asked the following questions when you seek a new policy:
- Where do you typically travel?
- On what type of vessel do you work?
- How often are you on board the vessel?
- What is your daily routine?
- How long is a typical shift?
- What kind of medical supplies are on board?
- What safety gear do you wear?
- Do you follow safety measures at all times?
Because your high risk occupation makes you more likely to suffer a fatality while on the job, you’ll typically pay more than someone who is not a commercial fisherman. However, being in good health can make your rate more affordable. If you’re both a fisherman and in poor health, a suitable approval will be very difficult.
Most companies will also require you complete a medical examination, depending on how much coverage you need. If your health is superb, you will start with the lowest baseline rate possible. In fact, if you’re super healthy, we highly recommend going for the blood test than opting for a policy which skips it. You’ll save a lot.
Levels of Risk for a Fisherman
Life insurance companies typically begin by assigning a rating based on your health. This may range from Preferred Plus or Preferred for people in excellent health to standard for people in average health. The lower your rate classification, the higher your rate will typically be.
If your health is poor, you will be given a Sub-Standard rating, meaning each level down is a 25% increase in your price. If you work in a high risk industry, you are often subject to a rate increase based on either a table rating or a flat extra fee, even without regard to health.
A table rating allows the underwriters to establish a rate based on the risk associated with your job. If your table rating is low, the underwriters consider your risk of suffering a fatality to be less significant. Your fee for a table rating of A, or 1, will be the lowest. If your table rating is E, or 5, it will be higher; 125% higher.
Instead of a table rating, the life insurance company may have you pay a flat extra fee if you’re in a high risk job. This fee is based on your risk at the time you obtain life insurance. If your risk changes over time, so might your flat extra fee.
The combination of both poor health and a dangerous career like fishing can mean both a table rating and a flat fee extra.
If you work in the high risk fishing industry, an independent insurance agent will be able to help you look into coverage from a variety of insurance companies. This increases your opportunity to secure the best insurance for your needs. This is what we do.
If you are confident in your health, look for a policy which requires a medical examination. If your health is below average, you may want to look for a company who doesn’t require a medical examination, and attempt to upgrade later when an exam is a better option. Your fees may be higher, but you may have a better chance of securing coverage.
Don’t try to hide anything from an insurance agent. The more details you can describe about your daily activities, the higher your chances are of customizing the rate to your particular situation. You want the insurance company to see you as an individual, not just a typical high risk employee.
While omission might seem like a better play, it’s actually worse. Any underwriter who can’t determine a level of risk accurately will be forced to assume the worst to protect the companies’ interest.
Another way to lower your premiums for life insurance is to ask about discounts for paying annually. When you split up your payments by month, a premium is typically added. You may pay less when you pay up front.
After you have obtained life insurance coverage, it may change if your job situation changes. If you only work seasonally, ask about how premiums may change while you’re not working. If you retire, you can have your coverage and fees reevaluated.