Wonder Woman, your local deep sea welder, James Bond, Formula 1 race car drivers, horse jockeys, police officers, and active military personnel share a common characteristic: they’re perfect examples of people with professions that life insurance underwriters classify as high-risk jobs.
You might ask:
How much is life insurance if I have a dangerous job?
Let’s look at how insurance companies determine which professions are high risk and show you how to find the right online life insurance policy for your occupation.
Note: This only affects the purchase of new life insurance. If you already have an active life insurance policy and start a new risky job, your rates cannot be changed. This is one of the benefits of buying life insurance early in your career life, so you can lock in low premiums over the next 30 years.
» Compare: Term life insurance quotes
How much is life insurance if I have a dangerous job?
The way that insurers view dangerous occupations differs and changes according to new updates to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ list of America’s most dangerous jobs.
Life insurance underwriters evaluate applications and determine coverage amounts and premiums based upon their company’s specific underwriting guidelines. These guidelines are created based on risk evaluated by actuaries.
If your job puts you at a higher risk—in other words there is a greater chance the insurance carrier may have to pay a death benefit claim—then your insurance rates may be higher or you may be declined altogether.
Your premiums may vary widely from one life insurance company to another.
Don’t be discouraged as there are many companies that can cater to your life insurance needs. A few insurers may ignore a profession that other companies consider hazardous or may offer you a lower quote than you would expect given your profession.
Do I have a high-risk job?
You probably already know if you have a high-risk job because you need to protect yourself while working everyday.
If you’re in the military, working as a firefighter, working construction, or another vital, but risky, profession (thank you), know that a life insurance broker (like Quotacy) is your best option to comparison shop to get high-quality, affordable term life insurance to protect your loved ones.
Quotacy’s advantage is that we understand the underwriting guidelines for high-risk professions for each of the dozens of life insurance companies we work with. We’ll suggest avoiding certain carriers who are likely to decline your application.
For example, if you are actively serving in the military, you cannot be insured by Haven Life (still a great company for many other people), but you may get an excellent term life insurance policy from Prudential.
This is the type of advice that our underwriters and agents have studied to do and specialize in. They’re also working on salary, not commission. So, their only goal each day at work is to get you insured with the company that is the best fit for your lifestyle.
See what you’d pay for life insurance
How much is life insurance impacted by my occupation?
Most life insurance companies will charge a flat extra for applicants with high-risk jobs. This is an extra cost that an insurer adds to normal premium fees to compensate for the additional risk the applicant presents, based on mortality rates.
The flat extra fee varies by insurer and is added to your monthly premium cost.
Let’s say two 40-year-old men are applying for life insurance: a $325,000 20-year term policy. All factors between them are the same, except one of the men has a high-risk job.
The man with the low-risk job is offered a Preferred Plus risk class from the insurance company. His monthly premiums are $20.65 per month.
The man with the high-risk job is also offered Preferred Plus, but the insurance company requires a $3 flat extra in addition to cushion the risk they’re taking on by insuring him.
To calculate the $3 flat extra, you multiply 3 by the per thousand of coverage the applicant is buying. In this case, 3 x 325 which equals an extra $975 per year.
The man with the high-risk job will have monthly premiums of $101.90 (975/12 + 20.65) compared to the man with the low-risk job of $20.65 per month.
Not all insurance companies will tack on a permanent flat extra. Some may require the flat extra only for a few years. And some carriers may opt to instead offer a rate class less than Preferred Plus, which is the best you can receive, such as Standard, and forgo any flat extra.
If you compare your quotes through Quotacy, our insurance advisors will match you with insurers who will offer you the best term life insurance rates.
Why Group Life Insurance Is Often Not Enough Protection
Many workers, even high-risk job holders, are offered life insurance through their employers. It’s good to take advantage of this benefit.
Getting an individual life insurance policy is something you may consider to increase the amount of protection for your loved ones, should you die while on the job or anywhere else.
» Calculate: Life insurance needs calculator
The standard recommendation of life insurance coverage is 10 times your annual salary. But employer-sponsored plans often only cover an amount equal to your salary.
Additionally, many people don’t realize that you can only collect on your group life insurance policy if it’s inforce and you are employed with that company when you die.
Many employer benefits contracts state that they will discontinue your benefits (including your life insurance policy) and terminate your employment if you are not able to make it to work after a certain period of time. Not only would your loved ones be emotionally and physically devastated from your death, but they would then find out that you no longer have a life insurance plan in place and be financially impacted.
Group life insurance doesn’t always offer the right amount of coverage if you work a high-risk job.
Here are a three reasons why you should have more than just group life insurance:
- The amount you can purchase is usually limited. It’s tied to your employment, so if you lose your job, you also lose your life insurance coverage.
- Many employers are eliminating employee benefits such as life insurance. Having your own term life insurance policy allows you to protect your family regardless of the status of your employee benefits.
- If you work in a hazardous field, you should have the most life insurance coverage that your budget will allow. Combining your employer’s plan with your own provides you (and your loved ones) with needed extra security.
Other Factors That Affect Life Insurance Rates
Along with your profession, there are other elements that will impact your base price. If your application presents a low risk based on other factors, you may be able receive a lower rate for your policy overall.
Here are the key factors that insurers take into account:
- Age: The older you are when you take out a policy, the higher your premiums will be. The earlier you are insured, the more you’ll save over time.
- Gender: Women pay less than men for life insurance because they have a lower risk of dying prematurely.
- Physical Health: Your current health status and your past medical history (and that of your family) will be considered by your insurer when they assess your eligibility.
Most individuals have a great need for life insurance. Whether it’s to provide income replacement, pay off final expenses, or help loved ones in need of extra financial support, most financial planners recommend life insurance as part of a solid financial plan.
If you work in a risky job field, getting life insurance is even more important in your case, especially if you have a family that depends on your income.
Take a moment to run a term life insurance quote online. Getting a quote is free, instant, and you don’t need to provide us with any contact information until you’re ready to apply.
While we cannot guarantee your insurability with a high-risk occupation, the insurance advisors at Quotacy will do our best to help you get a great term life policy in place to protect your loved ones.
About the writer
Natasha Cornelius, CLU
Senior Editor and Licensed Life Insurance Expert
Natasha Cornelius, CLU, is a writer, editor, and life insurance researcher for Quotacy.com where her goal is to make life insurance more transparent and easier to understand. She has been in the life insurance industry since 2010 and has been writing about life insurance since 2014. Natasha earned her Chartered Life Underwriter designation in 2022. She is also co-host of Quotacy’s YouTube series. Connect with her on LinkedIn.