Picture this scene, reader: I’m sitting at home in my jammies, sipping tea, and, unusually, ignoring my kids to read my work emails.
I always ignore my kids.
Anyway, an email rolls in.
It goes like this:
Hi Nick, I’ve been enjoying the blog, and I think you’re the guy who can help me. My occupation is dangerous. Can you help me get cover? James B.
Well, James B. I’ve seen Mr and Mrs Smith so I can presume what it’s like to be an assassin. I emailed James B. to tell him I couldn’t get him insurance and to please not hurt me or those kids I live with.
Turns out, James wasn’t actually an assassin – though he does have a dangerous yet boring job.
You see, he’s a Tunnel Boring Machine Operator – one of these giants.
And that stunning wit, readers, is why my wife stays with me even though I ignore those kids who are always hanging around.
But that’s enough wafflin’.
Let’s get on to the topic: getting life insurance if you’re employed (or self-employed) in a dangerous job.
Generally, there are two types of dangerous jobs:
Sexy, movie-type dangerous jobs such as bank robbers and ninjas and assassins, like in Mr and Mrs Smith, where Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie try to murder each other a bunch. But, like, sexily.
And then there are insurance-type dangerous jobs.
Which: not sexy.
The kind of job that will make an underwriter rankle, rub his chin and ponder,
hmmm, now I don’t know about THAT.
Exhibit A above, of the Tunnel Boring Machine Operator, is that kind of dangerous. As is being a farmer or an abattoir worker or even a dentist. It all falls on a scale – from very not dangerous (your standard pen pusher in an office) to a dentist (rising stress levels and common back issues) to a heavy machinery operator.
The main thing to focus on here is how the insurers charge what they do. So, no two cases are the same. There are too many factors that differ: age, health, job, background – all that good stuff.
If your case is straightforward (a 40-year-old marketing exec with a clean bill of health and no medical history in the family, for example), your cover is cut and dried. Insurers will offer you their best price as they’ll do the maths to determine that your chances of outliving the policy are actually pretty good.
They keep your premiums, and you don’t get a payout. But also: you’re alive and well. So all good.
In the second case, you’re a 40-year-old underwater photographer. Their maths is going to tell them that you’re a higher risk, so they’re going to safeguard against that by hiking up the cost of your premiums with a loading.
What I’m saying is this: if your occupation is considered hazardous, you probably can still get Life Insurance. But you could face an increase in your premium compared to some lad who sits at his desk all day.
So, now, let’s deal with the elephant in the room:
Well, there are a few things that will tip the scales of your life insurance affordability.
However, did you know that your occupation could also be a factor in the cost of your life insurance premiums?
Well, it is true.
Hand on heart, scouts honour and all that malarkey.
The level of danger you put yourself in when it comes to your career choices will have a pretty big effect on the price you will pay.
Sticking my finger in the air, I’d say around 99% of people with dangerous jobs will have no problem getting some sort of life insurance coverage.
I’m leaving the 1% as a buffer to manage the expectations of all the lion tamers reading this blog.
Mr lion tamer (let’s call him Leo) needs life insurance more than Mihawl who sits in a warm office at a computer for 5 days a week.
But, and it’s a big but – I cannot lie, you other brothers can’t deny – a dangerous job is going to ramp your life insurance premiums up a fair bit.
That being said, you’re not going to be asked to fork out thousands of euros extra but the Leos among you will defo pay more than the Mihawls tippety tapping away in the office.
Now, I can’t give you an exact figure.
You’re going to have to bite the bullet and get in touch with me so I can get you an indicative quote.
The underwriters (the dudes in the dungeon of the insurers who painstakingly feed your data into a giant machine and then pull a lever to get you a price) will look at every person individually to generate your specific quote.
Oh great, so I have to contact you for a price, ffs, what sort of scam is this?
Without the sweary part, that sounds like my 9 year olds, everything is a scam to them. I once tried to explain life insurance to them (forgive me), but by the end of that conversation, I was thinking it might be a scam. So, Daddy, you’re saying you pay €20 per month and if you die the insurer will pay you €250,000? Definitely a scam!
But I digress.
My job is to get you the best quote possible, so I’ll draw on my AWARD WINNING brokering skills and do my very best.
What a way to shoehorn in a massive brag 😎
Remember the dudes in the dungeon pulling their levers?
That lever enables the underwriting machine to assess your risk level.
What’s a risk level? I hear you cry.
It’s how likely it is that you are going to claim before they get a healthy amount of cash from you.
Sounds pretty heartless but lookit, tis the truth.
If you’re deemed a higher risk, you’ll pay more.
Either way, our old mate Mihawl will get away with the normal price if his health is good.
As for Leo and his ilk:
If you work at heights, use dangerous machinery or are exposed to toxic chemicals week in and week out, your insurance provider is naturally going to bump up your premium.
Yes, I know you adhere to the strictest Health & Safety Regulations and there is no risk if you follow them.
But, there’s also a Moe, a Larry and a Curley working in your industry who are all walking claims, the daft sods.
You have to pick up the bill for their imminent misadventures.
So, let’s start figuring out whether you might be faced with a little premium increase because you didn’t follow what the career guidance counsellor said – become a teacher!
If you were a teacher, you wouldn’t pay more but in fairness, you would have quit or had a breakdown by now.
Here are some professions that might be considered high-risk by some insurance providers.
This list is far from exhaustive but it gives you a good feel for the kind of occupations that are considered high-risk.
Let’s take a look at how much extra some of you will have to pay:
Height worked at
<15m Generally, you will pay the normal price
>15m You will pay €1 extra per thousand wort of cover so if you need €300,000 mortgage protection, you will pay c€300 extra per year.
Airline passenger pilots, cabin crew and the majority of commercial airline pilots will get the normal price.
For helicopter pilots, the insurers will examine how many hours they fly.
<200 per year: normal price
200 – 500 hours: €2 extra per thousand worth of cover
>500 hours: €4 extra per thousand worth of cover
Miners or quarry workers using explosives can expect to pay €2 extra per thousand worth of cover
€2 extra per thousand worth of cover
Believe it or not, a client of mine who works offshore on a wind farm actually got the standard price for his life cover because he was in otherwise tip-top health.
I’m glad you asked, internet person.
For my money, Income Protection is the best insurance there is. It will pay you up to 75 per cent of your salary if you can’t work for any reason – up until you retire or go back to work.
But if your job is in any way dangerous, getting Income Protection at a reasonable price is really tricky.
Unfortunately, the more high risk the job, the less likely it is you’ll be able to get Income Protection at all. Harsh buzz.
Take my windfarm friend, remember he got the normal price for life insurance? A few lines ago? Surely you remember?
Anyway, for income protection, the insurer classed him as a risk 3 (1 being lowest risk, 4 being highest risk) so he had to pay more.
It’s not quite so dire here as with Income Protection.
Specified or Serious Illness Cover pays out a lump sum if you get an illness that’s covered by your policy.
Depending on your occupation, the insurer may exclude particular illnesses from your policy (for example, permanent total disability if you work at high heights).
Likewise, paralysis, loss of use of limbs, or significant burns won’t be covered for fire people or armed forces personnel and the like.
But make sure you approach as many of the insurers as possible to find your perfect match (i.e. the insurer most likely to offer you a fair price). Some insurers are much more understanding of certain occupations.
Which is where I come in.
I spend all that time ignoring my kids so I can get you a good deal, OKAY.
Woah Nelly, hold your horses.
That got defeatist, real quick.
But, yes, some people just can’t get coverage if their occupation is that dangerous.
It’s rare but it does happen.
But, if you have an AWARD-WINNING 🎺broker in your corner, you’ll know they’ll move heaven and earth to get you cover.
That being said, we’re not miracle makers. If you are a lion tamer, I won’t be able to get you cover.
You have to revisit your career choices or say bye-bye to any life insurance.
Do you have a high-risk job? I can help you get the best quote for you…without all that ringing around and pressing 1 for this, 2 for that, and enduring god-awful hold muzak.
We’ve been in this game long enough to know which companies are best when it comes to certain occupations.
Fill in this financial questionnaire giving me details of your occupation and I can tell you the policies you qualify for and the price you are likely to pay.
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You can schedule a callback here
Thanks for reading
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