Life Insurance for Scuba Divers
When you are applying for life insurance, insurance companies consider more than just your medical history, family history, age, and gender to determine your rates. While all of these factors will play a major role in how much you pay for coverage, other voluntary factors can affect your rates as well. Hobbies and career choices can make you a higher risk, but if you are a scuba diver and you are assuming you will automatically be classified as “high-risk” you are wrong.
When you are completing a life insurance application and you disclose that you are a scuba diver, your application will require more underwriting, but you still may qualify for the best rates. Here is some helpful information you can reference as a scuba diver applying for coverage so that you can build an adequate policy that provides protection both underwater, in the air, and even on land.
How Will Scuba Diving Affect Your Rates?
You might think that life insurance companies are nosy, but they are nosy for a reason. When you are approved for insurance, the insurance company is on the line for hundreds of thousands of dollars for a specified number of years if you pass away. They are collecting money, but this is just a fraction of what they could possibly pay. If you pass away within the term and your policy is active, they must pay much more than they have collected from you.
In order to reduce the risk, insurance companies assess various risks to determine how likely you are to file a claim. If you disclose that you scuba dive, whether it be professionally or for recreation, the company has an obligation to find out more information to protect themselves by assessing the risk. By assessing the risks, they will be able to determine what additional premiums you should be charged. Here are some of the factors that can play a role in how much you will pay for coverage, and whether or not you will qualify for a sizable life insurance plan:
* What Type of Certification Do You Have?
Each and every insurance company in the industry will require that you are a certified scuba diver before you will get approved for coverage. If you disclose that you are a scuba diver and you do not have a certification, you will surely receive a denial because you have not completed the classes and training necessary to avoid preventable accidents while underwater.
There are several different national organizations that offer certification to scuba divers and are recognized by life insurance companies. Some of these organizations include SSI, PADI, and NAUI. Every organization offers different levels of certification, from Advanced to Master. If you have a higher degree of certification, you are much more likely to receive better rates. You may need to provide proof of your level of certification during the underwriting process to receive Preferred and Super Preferred health class rates.
* Type of Diving
The type of diving you participate in can play a major role in how much you play and whether or not an insurance company will offer you coverage. Some companies will completely exclude applicants who participate in penetration diving, others will approve these applicants but charge a surcharged rate per thousand dollars of coverage. Most companies offer the best rates to individuals who only dive in open waters. Cave diving, commercial diving, and wreck diving tend to be more risky and these divers can expect to qualify for “standard” rates at best.
* Diving Experience
Typically, more experienced divers are considered to be lower risk. The more dives you have completed in your lifetime, the more experience you have earned. As you gain experience, you become more knowledgeable. When you are applying for insurance, the company may ask you how many dives you have completed in your lifetime and also how many you have completed within the last year. By getting these numbers, the underwriters can predict your patterns and how many times you will likely dive in the future. Most companies have established a maximum number of dives you can do per year. If you exceed this maximum, you will not qualify for coverage.
* Dive Depth and Rate Class
If you want to get a preferred or super preferred rate class, the max depth that you dive will play a major role. Typically, recreational divers with a max depth between 30 and 50 feet will qualify for the best rate class. If you are certified as a Master, you may be able to qualify for the best rate class at a max depth of 75 feet. While you can find coverage with higher max depths, your ability to find a company who will offer you a Preferred rating or higher will disappear.
As you can see, there are a number of different factors an insurer must consider when qualifying you for life insurance as a scuba diver. Understand the variables, be honest with your answers, and compare rates from leading insurers so that you can choose the best policy at the lowest cost available to you.