Although law enforcement may be considered a high-risk occupation in some cases, you should have little to no more trouble finding life insurance than a civilian.
Life insurance can be even more critical for police officers than other people as they regularly lay their lives on the line.
Many officers carry an insufficient amount of life insurance or go uninsured, relying on their workplace policy and assuming they will have a hard time qualifying for affordable life insurance.
If you’re an officer with questions about your life insurance options, read on to learn the basics of getting the best policy for you and your family quickly and easily.
Table of Contents
- Why is Life Insurance Important for Police Officers?
- Is Life Insurance Through Work Enough for Police Officers?
- How Much Life Insurance Do Police Officers Need?
- What Types of Life Insurance Can Police Officers Get?
- What Is the Application Process Like for Police Officers?
- What Life Insurance Rates Can You Expect as a Police Officer?
Police officers are regularly faced with more life-threatening perils than people in other occupations, and in today’s climate more than ever.
If you’re a police officer, you may put your life at risk on a daily basis to protect the public, finding yourself in hazardous situations regularly, even if not intentionally.
The number of fatalities which affect police officers differs from year to year.
Some statistics show law enforcement is not as dangerous as people often assume.
The National Census of Fatal Occupations says there was just a 3.5 in 100,000 chance of a police officer dying on the job in 2018.
However, that still puts a police officer in one of the top ten most dangerous jobs almost every year.
According to the FBI, 89 officers died in the line of duty in 2019, a number that has already been surpassed in 2020.
As an officer, you may be faced with life-threatening situations ranging from routine traffic stops to riots.
Top Causes of Death in the Line of Duty
According to recent data, the top four dangers to police officers include:
- Shootings: Firearms were the leading cause of death for police officers in the last decade, according to data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
- Job-related illnesses: The data shows illnesses like heart attacks and even cancer from chemical exposure during rescue missions as the second leading cause of death.
- Traffic accidents: Traffic accidents are third on the list, as police officers are often involved in high-speed chases. Many spend much of their days on the highway in their patrol cars, as well, and more time on the road means more potential vehicular accidents.
- Other felonious causes: Because police officers are often the first responders to criminal incidents, they are placed in potentially hazardous situations.
Because you risk your life more than the average person, protecting your family with life insurance is crucial.
Because most police officers are offered life insurance as part of their benefits package, they may believe they don’t need to seek additional coverage.
However, the typical coverage offered in the workplace only provides two to four years of salary for surviving family members.
The death benefits may differ, too, depending on whether the officer died on duty or off duty.
The life insurance offered as part of a police officer’s benefits plan may not be portable either, meaning it might not stay in place if the officer leaves the job or retires.
And many police officers are eligible to retire after 20 years of service.
No matter how old you are when you retire, it’s important to have life insurance coverage which will bring you through your golden years.
The primary reason people buy life insurance is to replace their income and keep their family afloat in case they pass away.
Most experts encourage you to have coverage which provides around 7 to 10 times your annual salary, as a starting point.
Beyond replacing income, you should factor in your other financial obligations, which might include:
- Debt that can be transferred to a loved one
- College tuition
- Final expenses
All of the expenses above, minus your assets, should give you an idea of how much life insurance you need.
You might also want to adjust the amount based on factors like your age, your children’s ages, and your health.
You’ll have access to the same types of life insurance policies as other citizens if you’re a police officer.
The most common types available are term, permanent, and those which don’t require a medical exam.
If you’re looking for the most affordable coverage, term provides maximum protection at the lowest price per thousand of coverage.
You will generally pay a fixed premium for the coverage term, which usually lasts 10 to 20 years in length.
This type of life insurance costs more than term policies per thousand, but never increases no matter how long you live.
You won’t need to worry about renewing the policy, because it covers you for life.
These plans may be more expensive, but they can allow you quick coverage, even if your health isn’t great.
But they might also limit the amount of coverage you can buy, or modify the payout terms.
Life insurance companies consider your risk of dying while performing the duties of the job. This varies from police officer to police officer.
The roles police officers serve in vary between federal, state, county, and municipal officers.
Officers could also serve in roles ranging from game wardens to highway patrol to SWAT.
Unless you are part of a SWAT team or a similarly risky unit that diffuses bombs, you should not have a harder time getting life insurance than any other applicant.
If you are a SWAT member, you may simply need to work with an agent to choose the right company.
When applying, you may be asked questions such as the following to assess any additional risk:
- Do you carry a firearm?
- How often do you work in the field?
- What is your assigned territory?
- What safety measures do you follow?
- How many miles do you drive on the job?
- Do you work in any high crime areas?
- What is your specialty or field (criminal, drug, traffic)?
As an officer, your rates will likely be determined by your health status just as much as your career.
Your rate may not necessarily increase just because you’re a police officer, and most officers won’t see much, if any, increase in their premiums.
If your work as a police officer is considered to be risky, you may be assigned a table rating.
This system is used to increase your premium based on your risk of fatality.
The lowest table rating will increase your initial premium by 25%. The highest will increase it by 250%.
Along with table ratings, a flat extra fee may also be assessed.
This fee is added to the basic premium for a specified duration, and it may change if your duties change. It will also be altered if you retire.
In general, the table rating is related to your medical status, and the flat extra fee is based on your career or lifestyle risks.
One or both may be used to determine your life insurance premiums.