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Can I qualify for life insurance if I participate in diving?
Underwater diving is an activity of which many individuals participate. In fact, it is thought that approximately 6 million people participate in scuba diving throughout the world.
This article will give you information on how life insurance companies view those that dive. It will also provide you information on which carriers typically underwrite diving at the best rates.
When it comes to underwriting scuba diving, life insurance companies typically will want to take a closer look at your diving history. For most, scuba diving does not cause much of an issue, and typically there is no extra premium charge added for diving.
But, for some that are diving to great depths, or perhaps in certain locations, life insurance carriers may need to add extra premium to cover the risks.
Let’s take a look at how life insurance companies evaluate that pursue diving.
When applying for life insurance protection and with a history of scuba diving, insurance companies will typically ask the prospect to complete a diving questionnaire. This questionnaire will give the underwriter more details of the prospects diving history.
Typical Diving Questions
- Number of Dives last 12 month?
- Average time underwater for each dive?
- Contemplated number of dives next 12 months?
- Average time underwater contemplated?
- Number of dives last 12 months less than 50 feet/average time underwater?
- Number of dives last 12 months between 50 and 75 feet/average time underwater?
- Number of dives last 12 months between 76 and 100 feet/average time underwater?
- Number of dives last 12 months over 100 feet/average time underwater?
- Number of dives contemplated over next 12 months less than 50 feet/average time underwater?
- Number of dives contemplated over next 12 months between 50 and 75 feet/average time underwater?
- Number of dives contemplated over next 12 months between 76 and 100 feet/average time underwater?
- Number of dives contemplated over next 12 months over 100 feet/average time underwater?
- Are you a certified diver? If yes, name of organization? Hours of instruction? Date of certification? If no, why?
- What type of equipment do you use? I.E. Wet suit, scuba (number of tanks, open or closed circuit, type of air supply) Other?
- Is your equipment regularly serviced?
- Do you use experimental equipment?
- Are you a member of an organized club? If so, which?
- Do you dive for depth records?
- What is the maximum depth obtained?
- Do you ever dive alone?
- What location do you dive? I.E. Lakes, oceans, deep sea, bays, caverns or caves, other?
- Do you ever diver for salvage or exploration?
What life insurance companies favor diving?
When looking for the carriers that underwrite diving the most favorable, it is best to work with an independent agent. An independent agent will typically represent numerous life insurance carriers.
In addition, an independent life agent that specializes in the high risk market will also offer you an advantage. Agents who work in the high risk marketplace typically represent the companies that are far and above the best when underwriting those that participate in certain activities.
With over 1,000 life insurance companies in the United States, it can sometimes be difficult to know which carrier will offer the lowest rates. Some of the companies with a long history of offering the best rates for those who dive include:
- American General
- Banner Life
- Lincoln National Life
- Principal National Life
- North American Life & Health
- Transamerica Life
- Protective Life
- United Of Omaha
- John Hancock
When evaluating a risk for someone that dives, the insurance company will typically review their medical history along with their diving questionnaire. If health is not a factor and there are no other extending circumstances, then usually the questionnaire will be the deciding factor.
Depending on the amount of coverage applied for, insurance companies may or may not require a medical exam and lab work. If no exam or labs are needed, the underwriter will typically underwrite the coverage based on answers you provide on your application and questionnaire. Underwriters do have the right to order medical records from your doctor if they feel this is warranted.
It has been my experience, that for someone that dives only a few times a year, not alone, not in an isolated location and no deeper than 50 feet a policy should not be hard to find with good rates. Assuming health, tobacco use and other qualifications are positive factors then the preferred best underwriting class should be obtainable.
For those that perhaps dive a bit deeper or perhaps in different locations or may not be certified, the insurance carrier will typically add some extra premium. This extra premium is known in the industry as a “flat extra”. The flat extra is simply an extra charge per thousand of insurance coverage to cover the added risk.
An example of this may be:
Joe is a healthy 40 year old male non-tobacco user looking for $500,000 of term life insurance. Joe’s health is excellent, but he does like to scuba dive a few times each year in the Caribbean. Joe typically keeps his dives below 50 feet, but on occasion has gone down as deep as 80 feet. Also, Joe and his buddies sometimes like to explore caves when they dive.
An underwriter may see Joe as a typical healthy risk an assign a preferred health risk. But, since he does occasionally dive deeper than 50 feet and go exploring in caves, the underwriter will add an additional premium risk of $2.50 per thousand flat extra to his policy. This covers the additional risk for the diving.
So, Joe’s premium without the flat extra based on a preferred non-tobacco rate would be $750 annually. But, with the additional $2.50 flat extra is rate is now an additional $1,250 ($2.50 times $500K) plus his $750 for a total of $2,000 per year. So, as you can see the scuba diving flat extra does add a considerable amount to his final rate.
Now, the above is just an example of what a rating might look like for scuba diving. Each particular situation and person is different. Also, many insurance companies may also offer you the option of an exclusion rider placed on your policy.
The exclusion rider would allow you to have the policy without death by scuba diving being covered. Many individuals may opt to exclude the scuba diving for the savings in premium.
The secret to finding the company that will underwriter life insurance for scuba divers the best is to use an independent agent with years of experience and who knows the companies that fit the situation.
If you would like a free review of your situation, please don’t hesitate to contact Mike at 1-888-393-9003 or firstname.lastname@example.org