One of the essential life insurance basics to keep in mind is that insurance companies constantly quantify risk when insuring their customers. Using all of the available information to establish premium rates, they'll determine if they can cover you for a life insurance policy.
Similar to having a dangerous hobby or an unfortunate medical history, a high risk occupation can place your life insurance prospects into a different category. But not every life insurance company approaches high risk occupations the same way, and companies often weigh the same risky job differently.
Other companies may allow low-risk factors to balance out a high risk occupation in some areas of your life, and some may permit different premium options to offset their risk. No matter how a life insurance company sees you—and many see you differently—here are 10 high risk occupations that may make getting life insurance trickier (plus help with policy options if you work in one of these fields).
According to the statistics, the proximity to live ammunition coupled with the dangers of remote wilderness and bodies of water — including the open ocean —make this the deadliest occupation in the United States.
Spending most of the workday in isolated forests with tricky terrain, surrounded by heavy machinery and cumbersome materials, makes logging a dangerous profession. Consider the transportation element of the job —often on treacherous roads — and logging workers have one of the riskiest jobs on the planet.
Keep in mind that this category covers all pilots and those in the cockpit, not just from commercial airlines. Most fatalities occur in privately owned airplanes and helicopters. Transportation is risky, especially when you're airborne.
With falls being one of the most common causes of workplace fatalities, roofers always have a problematic safety task. While working with materials and tools, sometimes on steeply sloped pitches, roofing brings with it an inherent risk.
The construction trades category covers a wide range of laboring jobs. With falls a leading cause of fatality, working on any project at height automatically increases risks. The potential to work around heavy machinery and the constantly moving parts of a job site can add to safety issues. Think about the highly exclusive high risk scenarios, such as underwater welding or derrick operations in oil, gas, and mining, and risk factors only increase.
Navigating city streets creates a more dangerous proposition for garbage and recyclable material collectors in every conceivable weather and lighting condition. The most common cause of death for this high risk occupation is being hit by a vehicle.
Driving is a dangerous business. With transportation incidents being the leading cause of death at a U.S. workplace, anyone who frequently drives for their job — including salespeople — automatically has a higher risk of injury. Those who drive almost exclusively, such as a truck driver or a delivery driver, have the highest risk level.
Workers in this field are often responsible for erecting tall, oversized structures, from sports stadiums to bridges. These workers handle multiple cranes on the job site, and heavy machinery used to cut iron and steel, often at impressive heights. Falls are the most significant hazard in this profession.
Working on large sites, whether with livestock or crops, includes a mix of heavy machinery. The highest risks in this profession occur from transportation-related deaths, whether with tractors or trucks from both the terrain and highly congested worksites.
Like the construction sector, workers responsible for maintenance at large sites have a blend of risk factors facing them every day, including falls from height and multiple vehicles traveling through their job site.
This list of ten risky jobs doesn't account for every occupation that could place you in a life insurance company's higher risk category. Certain specialties within other jobs—say a smoke-jumping firefighter or a police officer on the SWAT team—come with higher risks than others in the profession.
Life insurance companies will likely give you an insurance class based on various risk factors, anywhere from "preferred plus" to "preferred" to "standard plus" to "standard." A high risk insurance applicant may fall below these four basic categories and be given a "table rating" designation. While any number of elements could drop you from one category into a lower category, thus increasing your likelihood of a higher premium, high risk occupations play a role.
If you're finding it difficult to get coverage, another potential avenue to consider is guaranteed acceptance life insurance. These policies don't include medical exams or deny based on risk factors.
Keep in mind, however, these policies often have a low cap on the death benefit.
To help understand your life insurance for high risk occupations policy options, make sure you explore a variety of companies. Each may look at your situation in a different light. And while you investigate your options, note that you may control some of your other risk factors to help drop your overall risk score and lower premiums.