Do your hobbies really affect the cost of life insurance?
If you’ve ever looked into getting a life insurance policy before, you’ll know there’s a number of factors that can affect the price of your premiums. Amongst your age, health and smoking status, your insurance provider will also look at your hobbies.
Whilst it can sound a little intrusive, it’s actually quite important in terms of assessing your risk for life insurance. The higher the risk you pose, the more expensive your insurance premiums are likely to be, unfortunately. That’s why insurance advisors will ask about your hobbies and what they entail. It helps to determine if there’s anything that might affect the cost of your life insurance.
How can a hobby affect your life insurance premiums?
Your run of the mill hobbies such as local sports and joining a club aren’t likely to make a difference in the price of your life insurance. It’s more the risky extracurricular activities that can increase your life premiums.
Whilst bungee jumping or skydiving may not be your idea of fun, there are some more common ‘extreme sports’ that can affect the cost of your life insurance.
Whilst heading down to your local gym’s rock-climbing wall isn’t going to make a huge difference to your life insurance, some types of rock climbing can impact the cost.
If you’re a regular outdoor climber in national parks, you may be looking at increased premiums on your life insurance. This all depends on how high or severe the climbs are, the type of gear you use or if there are any competitions you take part in. Often, the provider will want to know the grade and regulatory of your climbs and if you climb in a group or on your own.
If a climb isn’t too high and you stay in the UK, you’re likely to receive standard terms. However, if you often go on higher climbs then you may be looking at an increased premium or exclusion.
This is due to the higher risk from broken bones, hypothermia, or natural disasters that could result in injury or, worst case, death. If they exclude climbing from your policy, you may be able to obtain separate climbing insurance elsewhere.
Insurers are normally happy to provide standard rates for surfers if you surf regularly at your local beach. The waves tend to be relatively mild especially in the UK, so insurance providers don’t pose you as much of a risk.
However, it’s when surfers reach into more competitive and extreme waters that insurance providers will ask more questions. Your premiums will be based on your skill set, if you surf outside of the UK, what type of waves and competitions you will be surfing in. As a professional surfer, you make be expected to pay higher premiums, if not get excluded from cover completely.
If you take part in motorcycle racing or any other motorsports, you may be asked additional questions when trying to obtain your life insurance. People who embark on this recreationally will tend to pay the standard cost of life insurance provided they were fit and healthy in every other sense.
Insurance providers will ask what type of vehicle you use, engine size and where you race. For example, you could race off-road or on a circuit. Some providers will be different from others when it comes to assessing the risk. But generally, the more extreme your motorbike racing is, the higher the risk you pose. The biggest risks are associated with crashes and accidents which could lead to substantial injuries, disability or in the worst case, death.
Therefore, those racing and competing may be facing higher costs. Your insurance provider would ask about your license, top speeds, average speeds, horsepower and other aspects to determine your risk. This would be the same for motorboat racing and car racing too.
Weight lifting and athletes
For professional athletes and weightlifters, there may be some obstacles in the way of obtaining life insurance. Typically, it depends what sport you participate.
The biggest issue with athletes is that your BMI tends to be higher than the ‘normal’ range. Unfortunately, your BMI is used to determine the level of risk. A high BMI, therefore, could increase your premiums.
In this case, your life insurance provider will ask additional questions in order to get a better picture of risk. They would also normally ask about your build, and some weight-lifters and bodybuilders can be declined based on these tests. Taking supplements too could affect your life insurance premiums.
At the end of the day, your life insurance provider will assess your health as a whole, so there could be other factors where you are fit and healthy that may go in your favour. As each provider is different, it can be best to hunt around or work with an insurance advisor. That way, you can find the best solution for you.
If you regularly dive into the depths of the ocean, you could be looking at higher costs in your life insurance premiums. There are several risks associated with scuba diving, including negative effects from water pressure, decompression sickness or even equipment malfunction underwater. The risks become higher if you’re heading into deeper water.
It may be easier to get life insurance if you have the proper certification and use better equipment. Often your provider will ask you about these before they can assess your case. They will also likely want to know how long your dives are, how often you dive and how many years’ experience you have. The more qualified you are or if you partake in competitive diving, cave diving or wreck diving beyond 200 feet, you be looking at higher premiums.
Instructors are also likely to be charged higher rates. However, most insurers will allow scuba diving as one of your hobbies if it is done recreationally, with shorter depths.
If one of your hobbies is hang gliding or paragliding, you may be looking at a higher cost when it comes to life insurance. If you are a member of a club, or a qualified instructor you will be taking part more regularly, which increases the level of risk.
Typically, the insurance premiums will go up with the frequency of flights. There could be a big difference in premiums based on someone who goes hang gliding at their local club compared to a professional.
Like most other extreme sports, your life insurance provider will want to know the frequency, duration, heights, locations and experience. Each case is taken individually. That’s why it can be best to work with an advisor so that you can get the right cover at the right price for you.
Getting the best advice
For all hobbies and extreme sports, insurance companies will assess your level, experience and individual circumstances before they can determine the cost of premiums. But it’s important to realise that the higher the risk, the higher your premiums are likely to be.
It’s always best to disclose information upfront so that underwriters can get an accurate representation early on. That way, you can get quotes to find the best provider that suits your needs. Non-disclosure could cause delays in the application process and, in the worst case scenario, a refusal of a future claim.
Even those with risky hobbies may still be able to find a life insurance plan that works for them. Working with an insurance advisor can help to find a better solution. They’ll be experts in dealing with this sort of thing, so will have an idea of providers that may be more lenient when it comes to extreme sports and hobbies.
For advice on your life insurance premiums or critical illness. Alternatively, get in touch today or request a quote below.