Life Insurance For Risky Lifestyles [Occupations, Drug Use +More]


High risk life insurance can be a real pain sometimes.

The good news?

It can be easily navigated if handled properly.

That’s our goal.

We want to guide you and provide you the information necessary to understanding high-risk life insurance to ensure you save money and get approved for coverage.

Life insurance rates are determined by a number of factors, but the three most impactful factors are your age, your health, and your lifestyle.

Many people are surprised to learn that your lifestyle activities and habits can be just as impactful on your life insurance rates as your health.

However, your lifestyle and habits can have an impact on your life insurance rates.

We also understand that sometimes you don’t feel like listening to the guys over here at Good Life Protection ramble.

With that being the case, if you want to skip our post and compare rates for free, go for it.

You can use our free instant life insurance quote form below to compare rates with over 50 of the top rated life insurance companies.

Yes, it’s still perfectly okay to compare rates even if you know you are considered riskier than other individuals.

If however, you are here to learn how risky behavior can impact your life insurance rates, than we are going to give you the meat and pototoes along with everything you need to know about life insurance for specific individuals.

Here are the details.

Risk and Life Insurance Explained

Let’s be 100% transparent about one thing.

It’s more rare to see a perfectly healthy individual without some high-risk classifications than it is to see life insurance involving some risk.

That’s why it exists.

It doesn’t matter why you are here necessarily and life insurance is still most likely completely doable.

To give you some brief examples, we often handle cases or situations such as the following.

Sometimes the correlation can be very obvious; for example, smoking can shave years off of your life and lead to serious health problems.

Most people can understand if their smoking habit contributes to higher life insurance rates.

However, some lifestyle impairments are not quite as obvious, such as bankruptcy.

This life insurance lifestyle guide will demystify lifestyle impairments in order to help you secure affordable life insurance coverage.

Our veteran agents are experienced in finding affordable life insurance for our clients with lifestyle impairments.

Even if you have been declined before, let our agents work on getting your coverage.

Feel free to read through the entire guide or jump ahead to a particular condition that concerns you the most.

Life Insurance and High-Risk Will Always go Hand in Hand

The most common lifestyle activities we encounter that affect people’s life insurance rates are the following:


Driving Record (DUI, DWI, excessive moving violations, etc.)

Criminal History

Tobacco Smoking [cigarettes, cigars, chew, dip, snuff, pipe, e-cigarettes (vaping)]

Marijuana Smoking (Cannabis Smoking)

Drug or Alcohol Abuse

Private Aviation

Motor Vehicle Racing, Horse Racing, or Boat Racing

Scuba Diving

Foreign Travel or Foreign Residence

Bankruptcy and Life Insurance

Bankruptcy by far is the most controversial of all of the lifestyle impairments that life insurance companies will absolutely consider when approving you for coverage.

Our agency has personally felt the frustrations of our clients who have had difficulty purchasing life insurance coverage due to this bankruptcy history.

While we sympathize with the situation, we cannot force a life insurance company, unfortunately.

The best we can do is give you honest counsel on your best options.

life insurance high risk lifestyle impairment and bankruptcy

Types of Bankruptcies and How They Impact Life Insurance

  • Chapter 13 – Debt restructuring with the payment plan
  • Chapter 11 – Business related bankruptcy
  • Chapter 7 – Complete discharge of debts

For the purposes of this guide, we will focus on chapter 13 and chapter 7 bankruptcy.

If you are currently going through either a chapter 13 or chapter 7 bankruptcy, your options will be limited.

Most carriers will want to see a resolution before they will start considering you for life insurance coverage.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is fairly simple. 

Once your bankruptcy has been discharged, you can begin to look at life insurance again.

The waiting time varies. 

Some life insurance companies will want to wait in some cases 60 months from the discharge date!

Other life insurance companies will consider coverage as soon as the bankruptcy has been discharged.  That is why it is important to work with a veteran agent who understands the complexities of underwriting bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be a little more complicated. 

These cases are generally considered on a case-by-case basis, but this is what we have seen in our experience.

Life insurance companies will want to see financial stability.

The life insurance companies will want to see that you have a long track record of paying your scheduled debt payments after a chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Life insurance companies will differ in opinions on what they consider to be a long track record of making good on your debt repayments, but usually, 1-2 years will be sufficient.

The life insurance companies will also want to see that you have a reliable income.

W2 work is preferable since it is more a more reliable predictable source of income.

However, solid financials from self-employment can be sufficient as well.

The life insurance companies will want to see that your income can comfortably support your debt repayments.

If you have multiple bankruptcies in your financial history, life insurance companies will look at your case with even more scrutiny.

This is a situation where you want to work with an agent who understands the nuances of financial underwriting to secure you an affordable life insurance policy.

Sometimes, potential applicants that we are working with will ask us,

“Why does the insurance company care if I have had a bankruptcy in the past?

What does that have to do with my mortality?”

These are valid questions. 

While we cannot speak directly for any life insurance company, we can speculate into their reasoning behind the consideration of bankruptcy.

Going through a bankruptcy or any financial hardship can be very stressful.

Stress can lead to all sorts of adverse health conditions, such as a stroke, heart attack, or depression.

Stress can even lead to weight problems.

We illustrate and discuss this in our post discussing life insurance morbidly obese individuals.

In addition, financial hardship can lead to drug or alcohol abuse.  In some extreme cases of financial hardship, people have been known to commit suicide as well.

These factors contribute to bankruptcy being a lifestyle impairment that life insurance companies are very concerned about.

In addition, life insurance companies will want to be confident that you will be able to pay your premiums.

There is a substantial amount of work and cost that goes into putting a life insurance policy on the books of the life insurer.

Therefore, the life insurance companies will want to be confident that your debt repayment obligations will not interfere with your ability to afford the coverage.

Driving Records Can Make Life Insurance Risk Go Up As Well

A person’s driving record is another lifestyle factor that life insurance companies will absolutely consider when approving you for life insurance.

The National Safety Council estimates that over 40,000 people died in 2017 due to motor vehicle accidents.  

With motor vehicle deaths at an all-time high, you can be sure that life insurance companies will want to know about your driving habits.

life insurance with lifestyle impairment and driving history

Whether you apply for term life insurance or permanent life insurance, most life insurance companies will run your motor vehicle record (MVR).

Even some burial insurance policies will ask you about your driving record in some form or another.

This is why it is important to work with an agent who understands the nuances of in underwriting a person with an unfavorable driving history.

The life insurance companies are not usually concerned with older violations like a speeding ticket 20-years ago, after all, everyone makes mistakes.

However, if you display a pattern of risky behavior on the roads, such as multiple moving violations or accidents within a 3-5-year period, that could affect your rates or even result in a decline!

Additionally, life insurance companies will be very concerned about any DWIs or DUIs on your record.

Driving under the influence is one of the riskiest things that a motorist can do that not only endangers their safety but the safety of everyone else around them.

If you have had driving issues in the past, the life insurance companies will want to see that you have learned from your mistake and have corrected your risky behavior.

Some life insurance companies will want to see you as far as 10-years removed from your DUI/DWI before they will offer you preferred rates; although, standard or substandard rates may be available.

If you have a complicated driving history, do not try to secure coverage on your own.

Please fill out a quote request or contact one of our veteran agents to help you find the best life insurance company out there for your specific situation.

Criminal History Can Make Life Insurance Deemed Risky For the Companies

Occasionally, we will come across people that have a felony on their record but do not want to talk about it.

This is understandable, but ill-advised.

You should always disclose as much accurate information as possible to your agent when purchasing life insurance.

A good agent is on your side.

We are not here to judge anyone’s past.

We are here to find you affordable life insurance to protect your loved ones.

High risk insurance for people with criminal records

The hard truth is that a felony on your record could ruin your shot at securing life insurance, but it is not an automatic decline.

Our veteran agents are trained in underwriting felony history, but we will need to know details about your case to make a suggestion.

  • The insurance companies will want to know what felony you committed?
  • When were you convicted of your felony?
  • Did you serve jail time?
  • If you did serve jail time, for how long?
  • When did your probation end?
  • Do you have more than one felony charge against you?

If you currently are on probation, parole, or serving jail time, life insurance companies will most likely postpone your coverage.

Not All Felonies are Treated Equally with Life Insurance

The life insurance companies will look at different felonies individually to determine the level of risk that they present.

We have compiled a list of some of the more common felonies we see when trying to insure people for life insurance.

If you have a felony from this list, know that we have helped people in the past just like you secure life insurance coverage with similar circumstances.

Top Felonies We See in our Life Insurance Practice

  • Drug Felonies (Possession, intent to manufacture or sell)
  • Property Crimes (theft, larceny, auto theft, burglary, arson)
  • Alcohol Felonies (DUI or DWI)
  • Assault
  • White Collar Felonies (insider trading, tax evasion)

“White collar” felonies, such as tax evasion, are viewed differently than other felonies.

While “white collar” felonies are not considered as dangerous to the life insurance companies as other felonies, the life insurance companies are still concerned nonetheless.

Life insurance companies will look at drug-related felonies and violent crimes with more scrutiny.

Possession of marijuana is a more tolerable risk to life insurance companies today, especially with the legalization movement sweeping the nation.

Although, life insurance companies will still consider your possession felony in their underwriting decision.

Life Insurance for Drug Users and Substance Abuse

However, if you were convicted of a more serious drug-related felony, such as intent to sell or manufacture drugs, that is more concerning to the life insurance companies.

Selling and manufacturing drugs are hazardous, but it difficult to evaluate the risk due to the unpredictable nature of such activity.

As a result, life insurance companies will be very cautious before they make you an offer.

If you committed or conspired to commit felonies from the following list or have multiple felonies on your record, your chances of purchasing life insurance coverage will be very low.

Most life insurance companies will either outright decline to offer you coverage or postpone you a long period of time (10+ years).

  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Child Molestation
  • Drug Trafficking

Why are Life Insurance Companies Concerned about my Felony?

Trying to secure life insurance with a felony can be frustrating.

People feel that they are being unfairly punished for something after they have paid their debt to society.

While our agency sympathizes wholeheartedly, we cannot change the opinions of life insurance companies.

Statically speaking, people released from prison have a high probability of returning to prison again.

Prison can be hazardous to your health; for example, you can contract diseases in prison.

Also, felons have a high likelihood of developing drug or alcohol problems.  All these variables are considered when a life insurance company.

Tobacco Smoking (Nicotine Usage) or Other Tobacco Substances and Life Insurance

Tobacco smoking is one of the most impactful lifestyle habits that will affect your life insurance rates.

There are multiple types of tobacco use, such as cigarettes, cigars, pipe, chew, dip, snuff, and e-cigarettes (vape).

Not all life insurance companies will view tobacco use the same, but one factor that is consistent is cigarette usage, no matter how infrequent, will result in tobacco rates.

life insurance high risk life insurance lifestyle impairment and tobacco

Not All Smoking and Tobacco Usage Receive Smoker Rates

It does not matter if you had one cigarette six-months ago or if you smoke two packs a day.

If you have smoked a cigarette within the past year the life insurance company will offer you tobacco rates.

For other types of tobacco use, some life insurance companies will lump it together with cigarette smoking under tobacco rates.

However, there are life insurance companies that take a more nuanced approach for non-cigarette smokers.

There are A-rated life insurance companies that will consider non-tobacco rates for users of dip, chew, and pipe use.

Some life insurance companies will even consider preferred non-tobacco rates for infrequent cigar use.

E-cigarettes (vape) is a relatively new tobacco product on the market.

While some people feel vaping is a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, but the long-term health effects of vape are still widely unknown.  As a result, life insurance companies do not know how to evaluate the long-term health risks of vaping.

Most vape products on the market today contain nicotine.

Therefore, most life insurance companies treat vaping as they treat cigarettes.

However, there are some life insurance companies who are loosening their guidelines on e-cigarettes and are willing to consider non-tobacco rates for vaping.

The key here if is you need to truthfully disclose your non-cigarette tobacco usage on your application.

If you fail to disclose a non-cigarette tobacco habit and test positive for nicotine on your labs, many life insurance companies will consider you a tobacco user regardless of the smoking or tobacco product that you use.

How Can I get the Best Life Insurance Rates if I Smoke?

Our agency has helped many tobacco users and smokers receive affordable life insurance coverage, some without the hassle of a medical exam.  Our agency knows the underwriting secrets of over 25 top-rated insurance companies.

Life insurance underwriting is always changing, and we are consistently shopping the market for the best companies for our clients.

The first part of our agency’s process for finding you the lowest life insurance rates as a smoker is to qualify you over the phone.

Our veteran agents will know exactly what the life insurance companies will want to know about your smoking and tobacco usage and will use that information to recommend you the best life insurance contract for your specific situation.

If you are a non-cigarette tobacco user, our agents will target the life insurance companies that are most lenient for those types of smoking or tobacco usage.

If there is a life insurance company out there who will give you non-smoker rates, you can count on us to find it.

Insider Tip – Some life insurance companies have a special health class called preferred smoker that can save you a ton of money!

In some instances, such as cigarette use, a smoker rate is unavoidable.

However, smoker rates can widely vary among life insurance companies.

If you are in otherwise good health, some life insurance companies will offer preferred smoker rates that can amount to huge saving!

Not every life insurance company offers this special rate category so working with an independent agency is wise in order to find the best deal.

If you are a smoker or tobacco user looking for life insurance, let our agency shop the marketplace in order to find you the best deal available.  Please request a quote or give one of our veteran agents a call today!

Marijuana Smoking or Cannabis Smoking and Ex Drug Users and Life Insurance

As more and more states are legalizing recreational marijuana, our agency is beginning to see an increase in applicants that use marijuana.

Sometimes people are a little hesitant to reveal that they “smoke weed” because they are worried that life insurance companies may deny them coverage.

However, life insurance companies will not automatically decline you for using pot.

life insurance lifestyle impairment and cannabis

The trick is knowing what companies will view smoking marijuana the most leniently and luckily, our agency has ample experience underwriting marijuana smoking.

If you smoke marijuana, do not apply for a life insurance policy without speaking to one of our experienced agents first.

What Will the Life Insurance Company Want to Know?

While smoking marijuana will not automatically decline you for coverage, the life insurance companies will want to know various details regarding your marijuana smoking habit.

Life insurance companies will want to know the following:

  • How often do you smoke marijuana?
  • Do you smoke marijuana recreationally or smoke medicinal marijuana?
  • Do you smoke tobacco or use other drugs?

What Rates Should You Expect For Life Insurance As a Drug User or Ex-Drug User?

This can vary greatly depending upon your usage of marijuana and the life insurance company.

Many life insurance companies will offer you non-smoker rates if you smoke infrequently; for example, a few times a year.

Some companies will even make a distinction between recreational and medicinal use, offering their top non-smoker rates for medicinal marijuana users no matter how much marijuana you smoke (assuming you otherwise qualify)!

If you are a more frequent marijuana user, then life insurance companies may offer you smoker rates.

This can vary widely though from company to company.

There are some life insurance companies that will decline to offer you a policy altogether if you smoke recreationally too frequently so it is important to work with an agent who understands the nuances of underwriting marijuana before you apply.

What if I Don’t Disclose that I Smoke Marijuana?

Simply put, don’t do this.  It is always better to be fully honest when applying for any type of insurance.

The life insurance company will be able to determine if you are a frequent smoker from your blood test if you take a medical exam.

If you decide to purchase a no-exam policy, the life insurance company may still find out that you smoke marijuana through third-party data gathers like the medical information bureau (MIB) or through your medical records.

That means if you ever failed a drug test in the past, the life insurance company could potentially know about it.

If you do not disclose that you smoke marijuana and your lab work or medical records show otherwise, the insurance company will most likely offer you a smoker rate at best or may even decline you.

Furthermore, if you have a marijuana-related death during the contestability period, such as an accidental death while high, the life insurance company could deny your claim or pay a reduced death benefit.

Drug Abuse, Opioid Addiction, and Alcoholism With Life Insurance

Drug abuse and alcoholism are a huge concern for life insurance companies.

If you currently using hard drugs like cocaine, meth, or heroin you can expect to be declined for life insurance.

Some people think that legality matters, but that is not always the case.

life insurance lifestyle impairment and drug abuse

Marijuana is still illegal in certain parts of the country, but life insurance companies will allow infrequent usage in some cases.

On the other hand, certain legal prescription medications, like opioids, can be just dangerous and addictive as illegal drugs.

Life insurance companies will look very closely at past and present opiod use and may even decline you for it!

The long-term effects of alcoholism can shave years off of someone’s life.

Alcohol can wreak havoc on your kidneys, liver, and other vital organs; in addition to, the biological risks of over consuming alcohol.

In addition to the biological effects that substance abuse can have on your body, it also amplifies other risks.

For example, drug and alcohol abuse increases the chances of accidental death due to overdose or trauma, such as a car accident or fall.

These risks are often difficult to predict, which only makes life insurance companies more nervous.

Questions About Substance Abuse Life Insurance Companies Will Ask

The life insurance company will want to know a lot about your drug and alcohol habits.

Do you have any additional mood disorders?

  • How long have you been drug or alcohol-free?
  • Have you been to AA or drug counseling?
  • How long were you addicted to drugs or alcohol?
  • What was the severity of your use?
  • Are there any residual health effects from your drug or alcohol use?
  • Were you ever hospitalized due to drugs or alcohol?

Life insurance companies will want to be confident that your drug and alcohol issues are truly behind you.

Most life insurance companies want to see you 3-5 years removed from drug or alcohol abuse with no residual health issues.

Former drug use can leave present-day dangerous diseases like Hepatitis C.

Excessive alcohol use can impact the functioning of vital organs like your liver long after you have given up drinking.

These residual health effects can have an impact on your life insurance rates today.

Life insurance companies will want to see that you are a stable member of society.

That you have a stable family life, stable job, etc.  Also, the life insurance companies will want to be sure that the duties of your current occupation will not affect your sobriety.

If you are a former alcoholic, the life insurance company will be concerned if you work in the bar business or casino business due to the potential relapse temptations.

This is not something to go into alone.  If you have a personal history of drug or alcohol abuse, then you should work with a veteran life insurance agent who understands how to underwrite these impairments.

By working with an independent agent who represents multiple companies, you increase your chances of getting approved for life insurance.

If you need life insurance and have a history of drug, alcohol, or substance abuse, then don’t wait.

Give one of our veteran agents a call or fill out a quote today.

Commercial Aviation and Private Aviation with Life Insurance

Pilots statistically tend to be healthier, wealthier and live longer than the general population.

However, many pilots are surprised to learn that they may be receiving higher rates than people who are in poorer health than they are!

This fact might be surprising to some.

You can read our full post about life insurance for helicopter pilots here.

After all, you would have a greater chance of dying on the way to the airport than on a commercial flight statistically speaking.

However, statistics can be deceiving.

life insurance lifestyle impairment and pilots

The Inconvenient Truth about Aviation Life Insurance

  • Most life insurance companies will not offer their top tier rates for pilots unless you fly for a major commercial airline.
  • Private pilots may receive a “flat extra” or have aviation excluded from their life insurance policies.
  • Many employer group policies exclude private aviation deaths
  • The type of aircraft you fly may increase the cost of your life insurance policy

Commercial airline pilots and crew, in general, are not considered hazardous occupations.

Commercial airline pilots and crew are usually eligible for top rates with many life insurance companies regardless of their aviation occupation as long as they otherwise qualify.

While a commercial airline pilot is generally a safe occupation, private aviation can be much more hazardous.

Private aviation is looked at with greater scrutiny by life insurance companies, especially student pilots.

Life insurance companies will ask you to fill out specific aviation questionnaires in order to get a better understanding of your aviation activity.

What will Life Insurance Companies Want to Know about my Private Aviation?

Private aviation can encompass many things.

Life insurance companies will generally want to see that you are an experienced private pilot who is flying a reliable aircraft.

Each company has slightly different questionnaires, but almost all will ask some variation of these questions:

  • What type of pilot license do you hold?  For How Long?
  • How many solo hours have you flown as a pilot?
  • About how many hours per year do you fly?
  • Have you ever had any accidents, been grounded, or had your license revoked?
  • What type of aircraft do you fly?  (Make and model)

Can I Qualify for Preferred Rates as a Pilot?

Preferred rates are not necessarily off the table if you are a private pilot, but they are not easy to achieve.

First off, you need to select the right company.  Some life insurance companies will simply view all private aviation as risky.

However, some life insurance companies will take a more nuanced approach.

In order to be eligible for top-tier health classes, life insurance companies will want to see that you are an experienced private pilot with over 300 hours of flying experience.

If you are a student pilot or have the minimal flying experience, be prepared to pay more in the form of a “flat extra” (an additional premium added onto the normal premium rate).

The life insurance companies will also want to see that you are flying a reliable aircraft.

If you are flying an experimental aircraft or engage in more perilous flying like crop dusting, the life insurance companies will absolutely take that into account when offering you a rate.

Also, your instrument rating can impact your life insurance rates as well.

Do not Pay an Aviation Penalty for your Life Insurance!

Sadly many private pilots are paying way too much for their life insurance.

If you are a private pilot and you need life insurance, then you need to work with a veteran life insurance agent who knows the ins and outs of aviation underwriting and can broker multiple life insurance companies in order to get you the best deal.

If you are a private pilot and looking for life insurance or feel that you are overpaying for your current life insurance policy, this is not something that you want to entrust to a generalist agent.

Our independent agency has experience securing affordable life insurance coverage for pilots just like you.

Give one of our veteran agents a call or request a quote today for a free policy review and evaluation.

Motor Vehicle Racing, Horse Racing, and Boat Racing

So you like to go fast?  If it is one thing that life insurance companies hate is fast and dangerous.

While Vin Diesel has been living his life one-quarter mile at a time for what seems like an endless amount of movies in The Fast and the Furious franchise, in the life insurance world racing is risky.

life insurance lifestyle impairment and horse racing

To be fair to the life insurance companies, motor vehicle racing is a valid concern.

A racecar driver puts their life at risk every time that they decide to race.

Crashes can happen and can be deadly.

Simply put, the life insurance companies will absolutely consider this lifestyle sport in their underwriting when deciding to offer you life insurance coverage.

Motor vehicle racing is not the only concern as well.

Jockeys that participate in horse racing may receive greater scrutiny with their life insurance applications as well.

Steeplechases can be exciting to watch, but can also be hazardous.

Whenever you are dealing with animals, there will always be an element of unpredictability involved that can result in death or injury.

What Information Will Life Insurance Companies Want to Know about My Racing?

If you race, the life insurance company will have some questions regarding your activity in the sport.  The life insurance company will want to know things like your experience in racing, the type of vehicle(s) that you race, and at what speeds among other various considerations.

life insurance lifestyle impairment and car racing

Every life insurance company will have slightly different variations of their questions regarding your racing, but we have compiled some of the more common questions that life insurance ask below:

  • Do you race as a full-time job or occupation?
  • What racing category have you raced in or intend to race in during the next two years?
  • Are you a licensed competition driver and from what organization(s)?
  • How long have you raced?
  • Have you ever attended any racing or driving school?
  • On what terrain do your race? (ex. water, dirt, simulated road, off the road, oval track, steeplechase, etc.)
  • Do you ever intend to race outside of the United States? If so, then where?
  • Do you participate in stunt driving?
  • How long are your races?

What Type of Life Insurance Rates Should I Expect if I Race for Sport?

This can vary depending on the degree of which you race for sport.

If you are a NASCAR driver, you will most likely incur a higher rate in some form.  That being said, there are some life insurance companies that will consider offering preferred rates if you race and otherwise qualify for it.

However, the life insurance company will most likely add to what is known as a “flat extra” to the policy.

A flat extra is an additional premium that the life insurance company adds to the contract typically for hazardous occupations or hobbies.

These “flat extra” charges can be temporary or permanent depending on the circumstances of the case and the life insurance company.

For a motor vehicle, motorboat, of horse racer, your best-case scenario would be to qualify for a preferred rate with no or a very small “flat extra” added on per $1,000 of life insurance.

A worst-case scenario can be standard or substandard rate with a “flat extra” as high as $15 per $1,000 of insurance!

Why not Working with an Independent Life Insurance Broker Could Cost you a Ton of Money!

If you race motor vehicles, boats, or horses, you need to work with an independent life insurance broker who understands the nuances of your sport.

Independent agents can represent multiple companies, unlike captive agents that can only broker one company whether or not it is the best fit for you.

This gives independent brokers a distinct advantage.

If you are a racecar driver, jockey, or other race enthusiasts, do not leave your life insurance to chance with an inexperienced agent.

Give one of our veteran life insurance agents a chance to save you money and fill out a request for a quote today!

Scuba Divers- High-Risk Life Insurance

Scuba diving is a fun an exciting hobby that more and more people enter each year.

Unfortunately for scuba divers, purchasing life insurance for scuba divers may be frustrating because life insurance companies can view scuba diving as a potentially hazardous hobby.

life insurance lifestyle impairment and scuba divers

While the annual fatality rate is relatively low compared to hard-hitting diseases like cancer, scuba diving still can be a dangerous hobby.

  However, many scuba divers overestimate the effect that their scuba diving habit will have on their life insurance rates.

If you are scuba diving below 100 meters or are exploring caves or wreckages, then you can absolutely believe that the life insurance companies will want to know.

If things go wrong on a deep dive; for example a mechanical failure, then the result can be deadly.

What Life Insurance Rates can Scuba Divers Expect?

The good news is that not every life insurance companies will lump all scuba divers together.

Some insurance companies will take a nuanced approach to determine if your scuba diving hobby is perilous enough to warrant an additional premium.

The life insurance companies will ask some variation of the following questions:

  • How many dives do you do annually on average?
  • What are the average depths of your dives?
  • What was your deepest dive?
  • Do you dive in the ocean water or overhead diving environments? (ex. Cave diving, wreck exploration, etc.)
  • Do you participate in other risky diving activities, such as spear diving, treasure hunting, or search and rescue diving?
  • Do you dive recreationally or for pay?
  • Are you certified? If so, what scuba diving certifications do you have?

Are you a certified diver?

If you are not a certified diver, then most life insurance companies won’t even consider offering you a policy.

Preferred rates are eligible for the casual diver.

A casual diver usually is someone who maybe dives infrequently in the open ocean with other people.

They generally won’t dive deeper than 75 meters, are certified, and they usually dive less than 10 times per year.

If you are diving more frequently or dive past 75 meters you may still be eligible for preferred rates, but the number of carriers willing to do so drops significantly.

Recreational hobbyist divers can go as deep as 100 meters in open water.

They can also dive alone as many times as they want but must be certified for the depths at which they dive.

Risky scuba divers are the divers that go really deep or in really dangerous places.

If you are diving below 100 feet this could add cost to your life insurance.

It is not just depth the life insurance companies are concerned about.  If you are going into caves or wrecks, that can also present a big risk.

It is unusual for someone to be outright declined life insurance coverage if they scuba dive.

For risky scuba divers, the standard rate class coupled with a “flat extra” charge per $1,000 of life insurance is what can be expected.

This “flat extra” charge usually falls between $2.50-$7.50 per $1,000 of coverage, but that cost can add up quickly.

This is why you need to work with a veteran life insurance agent who understands the ins and outs of underwriting scuba divers.

Our agents have assisted clients just like you secure affordable coverage as a scuba diver.

If you are looking for life insurance and scuba dive, there is no reason not to request a quote from our team.

It cost nothing with no obligation and can save you thousands of dollars.

Do I Need to Disclose to the Life Insurance Company that I Scuba Dive?

While it is tempting to not disclose the information that you scuba dive in order to increase your chances of getting a better rate, do not lie on your application.

If you are thinking about not disclosing how deep you dive or other perilous behaviors that may increase your life insurance rates, please reconsider.

If the life insurance company discovers that you intentionally misrepresented the truth on your life insurance application or you outright lied on the life insurance application, you could jeopardize your life insurance coverage at the exact moment that you need it the most.

In the worst case scenario, the life insurance company can deny your claim or cancel your policy.

If you are lucky, they will reduce your death benefit by the premiums that you would have owed to them had you been truthful on your application.

What is the point of having life insurance coverage if it is not there when your loved ones need it the most?

Scuba diving is not for the light of heart.

No matter how the experience of a scuba diver you are, accidents can happen to anyone anywhere.

Our brokerage has all the underwriting guidelines available for over 20 different life insurance companies.

Give our veteran agents a chance to help you find the best company by filling out a quote form today.

Foreign Travel or Foreign Residence

So you like to travel the world and see remote destinations?

If this is you, then you may be surprised to learn that life insurance companies will consider your foreign travel habits when determining your life insurance rates.

life insurance lifestyle impairment and foreign travel

Life insurance companies have a difficult time assessing the risk involved in foreign travel or residency, especially if it is for longer durations.

In most cases, a routine vacation to a resort or developed nation won’t have an effect on your life insurance rates.

Travel to a foreign country that is in the midst of political turmoil, such as a civil war, has poor sanitary conditions or limited medical services can pose a large risk to life insurance companies.

What Will the Life Insurance Company Want to Know about my Foreign Travel?

If you have traveled in the recent past (2-5 years before your applications) or if you plan on traveling in the next 12-24 months, the life insurance company will want to know more information about your travel plans.

The life insurance company will ask some variation of the following questions about your foreign travel:

  • What countries have you traveled to or intend to travel to in the next 2 years?
  • How often do you travel outside of the United States?
  • What is the purpose of your foreign travel? (business, pleasure, missionary work, etc.)
  • What is your occupation?
  • How long will you be traveling abroad?
  • What specific regions, cities or areas of the country will you be visiting during your trip?

From a life insurance perspective, the destinations that you plan to visit can have a huge impact on the rate that you are offered.

In some cases, your foreign travel may even result in a decline in life insurance coverage.

How do Life Insurance Companies Gauge the Risk of Foreign Travel?

To gauge the risk of your foreign travel habits, the life insurance companies will usually categories countries into various codes ranging from low risk to high risk.

These codes are updated as geopolitical events around the world take place; for example, the recent Ukrainian crisis in Europe.

While each foreign country can vary is a risk, most foreign travel falls into three buckets:

  • Bucket 1: low-risk countries acceptable for travel with little restriction
  • Bucket 2: medium-risk countries that potentially may be individually considered acceptable for travel depending on varying risk factors; for example, length of stay.
  • Bucket 3: high-risk countries that are unacceptable for foreign travel

life insurance lifestyle impairment and foreign travel risk

Foreign travel to low-risk countries will come with little restrictions.

For example, Americans traveling to Canada face very few hurdles to acquiring affordable life insurance coverage due to its proximity to the United States, advanced medicine and sanitary conditions, as well as ask political stability.

Foreign travel to medium risk countries will fall under individual consideration, but these locations are not impossible to find affordable life insurance coverage.

For example, we’ve seen clients get approved at standard rates for business travel to Israel, as long as they were not traveling to high-risk areas like the Gaza Strip.

Foreign travel to high-risk countries will have the most restrictions.

Foreign travel to developing nations like Syria will most likely result in a decline or postponement due to the political civil war.

Additionally, countries with poor medical systems and sanitary conditions will most likely result in a decline.

We’ve sometimes seen people with the best intentions, such as missionaries, have trouble getting life insurance due to the areas of the world that their missionary work brought them.

How do I get the Best Life Insurance Rates if I need to Travel Abroad?

The first thing that you need to do is work with a veteran life insurance agent who understands the nuances of underwriting foreign travel.

Each life insurance company will have different opinions on risk.

Applying with the right company upfront can potentially save you time and thousands of dollars.

We would recommend working with a broker who can work with multiple companies.

Unlike captive agents who can only represent one life insurance company, independent life insurance agents can compare the rates of multiple insurance companies.

This is extremely important in finding the best rate because not only does underwriting change frequently, but so does global conditions.  You need an agent who is up-to-date with current trends.

Insider Tip – All life insurance underwriting must be completed within the United States (foreign embassies do not count for this purpose).  The average fully-underwritten life insurance application can take 4-6 weeks to process so do not procrastinate!

Once you have established a relationship with an experienced life insurance broker, the next step is to apply.

This is not something that you want to wait until the last minute to do.

All life insurance underwriting needs to be completed within the borders of the United States.

Please note that this does not include foreign embassies.

The life insurance application must be signed in the state that you are applying in.

Scheduling a life insurance exam at the last minute can be difficult as well.

Once the application has been submitted, the life insurance company may order your medical records.

As a result, the entire application process on average can take 4-6 weeks and in some cases longer!

Don’t leave during underwriting!

We would recommend not leaving the United States until you have the policy in force.

Should something happen while you are abroad or the life insurance company requires additional underwriting, this could jeopardize your life insurance policy being approved.

If you are running out of time to get a traditional life insurance policy with full underwriting completed before you depart on your foreign travel, then we would suggest you consider applying for an express issue policy with no medical exam.

You would still need to apply and sign the policy within the United States, but going with a no-exam life insurance policy will save you valuable time.

The entire application process can be completed over the phone with an email e-signature.  As a result, we are seeing approvals in 24-72 hours.  In some cases, we are seeing instant approvals!

Life Insurance Fairness for Travelers Act of 2007

The Life Insurance Fairness for Travelers Act of 2007 was proposed to add consumer protections for foreign travelers looking for life insurance.

Although, the legislation ultimately failed on the federal level, several states have enacted legislation that restricts the life insurance companies from using past foreign travel as the sole reasoning for declining your life insurance application.

Even though life insurance companies in these specific states cannot decline you for past foreign travel, they can still raise your premiums.

Certain states (Florida and Georgia) have even gone a step further by prohibiting life insurance companies from taking any negative actions on an application based upon future travel plans!

This means that those states have prohibited insurance companies from applying any negative ratings, raising your premiums, or declining your application for life insurance.

If you are lucky enough to be living in one of those states, the life insurance company most likely won’t even ask about your travel plans at all.

We have compiled a list of states with foreign travel life insurance regulations below:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Illinois
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Washington
  • Florida (Applications are prohibited from asking about travel)
  • Georgia (Applications are prohibited from asking about travel)

Risky Behavior Such as Substance Abuse, Ex Drug Users and Drag Racers Impact Life Insurance

Don’t let high-risk life insurance hold you back from applying for coverage.

It’s easy to handle with the right agent and life insurance company

Applying for life insurance can be complicated, but it does not have to be.

If your lifestyle includes one of the activities within this article, it might be frustrating to find affordable life insurance coverage, but it is not usually impossible with the right life insurance company and the right independent agent working on your behalf.

Our veteran agents have experience in securing affordable life insurance for our clients with lifestyle and health impairments.

Our team has found affordable coverage for people who have been declined before.

We can and do compare the rates of over 25 top-rated life insurance companies in order to find you the best deal.

Working with our agency costs you nothing, but can potentially save you and your family thousands of dollars. If you are looking for affordable life insurance coverage, let us find you the best deal.

Give us a call or fill out a no-obligation quote request today.


Resources: NSCGovTrack