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Life insurance and extreme sports
Life insurance is available for all lifestyles: including extreme.
Insurers don’t like to cover excessively dangerous activities, but that doesn’t mean you should have to give up your passion. Fortunately, there’s a chance you won’t have to.
What's in this guide?
- Can I get coverage if I play extreme sports?
- What's considered an extreme sport?
- How do I get coverage for extreme sports?
- Compare life insurance providers
- What types of questions will I be asked?
- How do insurers assess extreme sports?
- Which sports are usually automatically covered?
- Which extreme sports are usually excluded?
- Can I still get coverage if my sport is excluded?
- Bottom line
- Frequently asked questions
Can I get coverage if I play extreme sports?
Yes, you can still find life insurance if you participate in extreme sports. Life insurers will typically take one of four actions:
- Offer coverage as normal
- Provide coverage that excludes extreme sports
- Sell policies with coverage for extreme sports at a higher cost
- Refuse coverage for those taking part in extreme sports
While many standard life insurance policies will not cover you for death or injury sustained in the course of dangerous activities, there are still plenty that will.
What’s considered an extreme sport?
Extreme sports isn’t a legal term, which means it doesn’t have a set definition and there’s no clear list of sports that count as “extreme.” Your insurance policy might refer to them as “hazardous activities,” “hazardous pursuits,” “high-risk pastimes” or other similar terms.
Some extreme sports that insurers consider higher risk include:
- Scuba diving
- BMX racing
- Free running
- BASE jumping
- Big wave surfing
- Hang gliding
- Mixed martial arts
How do I get coverage for extreme sports?
You have several options for finding life insurance that fits you and your favorite pastimes.
- Work with an agent. An independent life insurance agent will already know which providers are more likely to have policies that suit you. By working with one, you’ll likely be provided with several options they believe you have a strong chance of qualifying for.
- See if your employer offers group life insurance. If your employer offers a life insurance plan as part of its workplace benefits, take them up on the offer. Group policies typically offer a base level of coverage, like $100,000, so they’re best treated as supplementary policies. But when it comes to life insurance, something is better than nothing.
- Compare insurers. Each insurer has its own underwriting guidelines, and some will be more lenient with extreme sports than others. Get quotes from a range of carriers to ensure you’re getting the best possible premium.
- Look for specialized life insurance. Smaller insurers sometimes offer policies exclusively for extreme sports — but they have their limitations. For example, skydiving life insurance is available in low coverage amounts and will only cover you if you die during a jump. If you only skydive on vacation, you could look into a travel insurance policy that includes a skydiver clause.
What if I bought a policy before I did extreme sports?
Your insurer can’t change your premium when you start participating in extreme sports. But be careful — many standard life insurance policies have an exclusion for extreme sports, so your beneficiaries might not receive any money if you die in an accident.
If you discover an exclusion in your policy documents, consider taking out another policy to protect you and your family in case something happens to you while you’re participating in your hobby. Look for a guaranteed renewable policy, which means your insurer can’t change your coverage or raise your rates as long as you pay your premiums on time.
Which riders are useful?
As someone who enjoys extreme sports, it’s worth adding an accidental death benefit rider to your policy for a fee. This pays out an additional death benefit to your loved ones if you die in an accident.
You could also look into accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance, which is a standalone product that pays out if you die or are seriously injured in an accident.
Compare life insurance providers
What types of questions will I be asked?
Life insurance application forms will usually include sections where you answer questions about your participation in extreme sports and other dangerous pastimes. Typically you can expect general questions to begin, and more in-depth questions if the sport is deemed high enough risk and specifics about your sport.
- Have you or do you plan on participating in pursuits involving heights?
- Have you or do you plan on participating in any full body contact sports?
- Have you or do you plan on participating in any motor car, motor bike or motor boat racing?
- Do you regularly take part in any other hazardous pursuits?
More in-depth questions:
- What is your level of experience and training?
- Do you hold any relevant certifications or licensing?
- Are you a member of any related extreme sport clubs or associations?
- Where and how often do you participate each year?
- Are you involved in any competitions, exhibitions or record attempts?
Specifics based on sport:
- What engine size do you race with?
- What are your diving depths?
- How many jumps have you completed?
- How many successful dives have you completed?
Standard underwriting topics:
- Tobacco use.
- Criminal history.
- State Department’s Travel Advisory List.
- Alcohol and drugs.
How do insurers assess extreme sports?
How much it will cost you to get insured for a particular extreme sport depends on how much injuries tend to cost insurers compared to other sports, and how frequently you participate in them.
An example of this is soccer versus motorsports. Soccer has a high risk of injury, but mostly in the form of scrapes, bruises and the occasional broken bone with no permanent damage. This makes it relatively safe and cheap to insure.
Off-road motorsports, on the other hand, are some of the most dangerous and expensive sports to insure. This is because injuries resulting from it tend to be a lot more severe, and much more likely to result in death or permanent disability.
Which sports are usually automatically covered?
Some popular sports are relatively easy to cover with standard life insurance policies and will only have a small impact on premiums, if at all. These also include sports that might seem dangerous on the surface.
- Some combative sports and martial arts. This applies to organized combative sports like fencing and martial arts undertaken with professional instruction. It doesn’t include mixed martial arts, which tends to be more dangerous.
- Bicycling. By the numbers, road cycling can be dangerous. The chances of being run over or colliding with a car put its risk profile well within extreme sports parameters, but its popularity as both a sport and a mode of transport means most insurers will either cover it automatically or offer a rider.
Which extreme sports are usually excluded?
It is particularly difficult to get life insurance coverage for some pastimes. Just like with high-risk jobs, the hardest activities to get covered are those with a particularly high risk of fatality or permanent disability.
- Motorsports. This includes both racing and purely recreational, both on- and off-road. The power and speed involved in motorsports means that when things go wrong, they go very wrong.
- Activities at heights. Skydiving, paragliding, hang gliding, bungee jumping, rock climbing and other high altitude pastimes are included here. Once you’re high enough in the air, any fall is more likely to be fatal than not and permanent disability quickly becomes the best case scenario.
- Water sports. White water rafting, river kayaking and scuba diving are frequently excluded. Water sports always carry a risk of drowning — a danger that disproportionately leads to death, brain damage and permanent disability rather than minor injuries.
Can I still get coverage if my sport is excluded?
Yes, it’s possible. Some policies will allow you to get life insurance with an exclusion on the specific activity.
Alternatively, some policies will cover you for an additional premium. To compensate for the added risk of insuring an extreme sports enthusiast, providers will typically allow you to purchase a rider that covers the specific activity at an additional cost to your premium.
You’ll still find providers that offer coverage, even if you participate in extreme sports. How much it’ll cost you and the type of plans available will vary greatly on your specific sport.
Before you dive on any one policy, thoroughly compare your options to get the coverage you need at a cost you can afford.
Frequently asked questions
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